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    Review: 'Real Steel' A Simple, Effective Crowd Pleaser Like A Robot-Driven 'Warrior' For Kids

    If the maturity and sophistication of “Warrior” is more than you can handle, then “Real Steel” might be the movie for you. A start-to-finish festival of storytelling conventions, director Shawn Levy’s bid for credibility differs only from its predecessor in that it’s aimed at a kid-friendly audience, making its relentless obedience to formula perhaps more acceptable, but less augmented by genuinely great performances. Nevertheless a crowd-pleaser of the first order – even on par with the ‘80s films from folks like Spielberg and Zemeckis that inspire it – “Real Steel” is an effective retelling of a familiar story, albeit one that it might help...

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    Review: Comedy And Tragedy Awkwardly Collide In ’50/50’

    Director Jonathan Levine’s new comedy-drama is an ambitious undertaking, a heartfelt attempt at finding the difficult balance between the masks of comedy and tragedy. Based partially on the real-life struggle of writer Will Reiser and his relationship with pal Seth Rogen (who produces and stars), “50/50” tells the story of a young man diagnosed with cancer and forced to come to terms with his own mortality, something that would generally be relegated to movie-of-the-week or arthouse status. But Rogen’s inclusion, along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead, in addition to a strong supporting cast elevates “50/50” to a level of exposure, scrut...

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    Fantastic Fest Reviews: 'Michael,' 'Haunters' & The Thrilling, Graphic & Hard-To-Watch 'Yellow Sea'

    For folks who don’t hear about regional or niche festivals because of the din of their larger, international counterparts, Fantastic Fest is an Austin, TX-based film festival, now in its seventh year, which focuses on genre fare. Unlike other such festivals like Los Angeles’ Screamfest, however, Fantastic Fest curates its selections from a wide variety of sources, and embraces a particularly liberal definition of “genre” which allows its programmers to assemble a schedule of films with remarkable eclecticism, and an almost shocking consistency of quality. Needless to say, no festival is completely full of winners, but in just the first few da...

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    Review: British Urban Melodrama 'Broken Lines' With Paul Bettany Falters, Fails To Convince

    There’s a familiar, some would say endless, argument about the British film industry: that the films it produces are essentially afraid of tackling the present and pressing contemporary issues. British directors, or at least the companies that finance their films, have rarely tried to engage with the shock of the now, and instead remain happy to retreat into a comfortable, mindless and nostalgic past that probably never existed in the first place. The recent riots that rocked the capital, for instance, or the fall-out from the News International hacking scandal are subjects less likely to be turned into a feature film than, say, something lik...

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    Review: Seann William Scott's 'American Loser' Fails To Make Sense Of A Fractured Life

    There’s a vague sense of cruelty to the direct-to-DVD market, which is used to solely accommodate cheap genre products, but more often seems like a dumping ground for unusual niche projects that die a slow death on the festival circuit. They usually get treated much like the aptly titled “American Loser,” a dramatic half-comedy with Seann William Scott that went through a number of title changes before being dumped onto the market. The film now carries a title that not only insults the lead character, and by extension Scott (who has experimented a few times in risky projects that ended up with negligible releases), but it cravenly attempts to...

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    Review: 'The Mill And The Cross' Is A Sumptuous Visual Feast

    Unlike a film, a book, or a television song, a painting has infinite life. The artist weaves his narrative with a brush, his work not a mimicry but an impression of a time that comes and goes. It’s this eternal life that enlivens “The Mill and the Cross,” a biography not of a person, but of “The Way...

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    Review: Too Meta 'Human Centipede Part 2' Almost Reaches The All-Time Gross-Out Pantheon

    Is Tom Six a filmmaker? Is Tom Six a storyteller? No, at this point, you’ll have to conclude he is neither of these things. What he is represents something maybe more honest, more pure: he’s a provocateur. In making “The Human Centipede: First Sequence,” Six took a memorably deranged subject of medi...

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    Review: 'Puncture' With Chris Evans A True Story Weighed Down By Oscar Reel Antics

    The following is a reprint of our review from the Tribeca Film Festival.

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    Review: A Brooding, Wooden Taylor Lautner Muddles His Way Through The Nonsensical 'Abduction'

    In the future (it’s closer than you think!), celebrities will be an even bigger part of our society. While the pool of “famous people” will expand beyond movie stars, politicians and random public figures, we’ll find ourselves consumed by the public’s thirst for all things mega-famous. In this future, somewhere, someone will write a massive tome dedicated to the forehead of Taylor Lautner. Like the Monolith in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” it is massive, and says everything and nothing. It sits on top of the scrunched up Zardoz-of-a-face that is this curious manchild, at once Cro-Magnon and, yet, every bit representative of his teenage years. It's...

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    Review: The Politics Of Sex Are Explored In 'Weekend'

    The following is a reprint of our review from SXSW.

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