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Movie Reviews

  • Caryn James
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    Nick Broomfield’s Portrait of Sarah Palin, Mean Girl

    If you’d paid no attention to political news in the past three years and had never seen Roger and Me, maybe Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill’s Sarah Palin: You Betcha! might seem fresh. As it is, this slight, sometimes amusing documentary is familiar in too many ways, from yesterday’s facts to the...

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    "'Moneyball" Review: Brad Pitt, Please Stop Spitting; Otherwise Love Your Film

    Every now and then while watching Moneyball, two words would pop into my mind: “Stop spitting!” Brad Pitt spits into a paper cup, players spit on the field – less than in real baseball, but enough.

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    Review: Ryan Gosling in the Psycho-Action Thriller "Drive"

    Drive would be a completely different, more ordinary film without Ryan Gosling. Watch him saunter across a parking lot in a blood-splattered jacket – not his blood, but his responsibility – his impassive face and his calm, coiled body saying everything there is to say. He’s a guy who does what he ne...

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    Cough, Cough! Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Matt Damon in Soderbegh's Plagued "Contagion"

    I guess it never hurts to be reminded to cover your mouth when you cough, but Steven Soderbergh’s plague-thriller Contagion should have been so much more than a star-filled health warning.

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    The Generic Faces of War: Review, “Where Soldiers Come From”

    Every soldier is obviously unique and special - to their families and friends at least – but as subjects for documentaries, some are more generic than others. In Heather Courtney’s no-frills Where Soldiers Come From, the very average-ness of the men she follows into war and back becomes the point....

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    Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier Play Cat and Mouse in "Love Crime"

    Love Crime feels like the kind of film Claude Chabrol could (and sometimes did) make in his sleep: a sly divertissement about power and manipulation that inevitably leads to crime.

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    The Help: Better Than The Novel, But Does That Make It Good?

    There are some high-end commercial novels with inflated literary reputations that actually become better on screen. Karen Joy Fowler’s strained chick-lit novel The Jane Austen Book Club was improved in Robin Swicord’s lived-in film. Now The Help has become an even more effective, big warm bath of a...

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    Can Rachel Weisz Save "The Whistleblower"?

    As we know from her role as the anti-big-pharma activist in The Constant Gardener, Rachel Weisz can perform a rare feat: playing socially-conscious heroines who are fierce and passionate without being self-righteous. In The Whistleblower she is so perfectly cast as a woman who stumbles across high-l...

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    Magical Fiction Meets Real-Life Science in “State of Wonder” and “Jewels of the Jungle”

    Ann Patchett’s glorious and highly praised new novel, State of Wonder, takes us on a dramatic journey into the Amazon along with her heroine, a laboratory researcher named Marina Singh. Marina is searching for a brilliant scientist, Dr. Annika Swenson, who has vanished into the depths of the jungle,...

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    Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Emma Stone Have Some "Crazy Stupid Love"

    Some titles, like “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” or “Crazy Stupid Love,” make you say: Well, yeah, tell me something I didn’t know. So here is something unexpected: despite its generic premise, Crazy Stupid Love is warm and hilarious, a kaleidoscope of romantic misadventures with – of all people – R...

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