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Review

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    L.A. Film Fest Reviews: Songs by Animal Collective & Bon Iver Can't Save 'The Dynamiter'

    Plus Iranian Indie 'Please Do Not Disturb'"The Dynamiter" opens in the fields of the South with two young brothers (one fourteen, one eight) throwing sharpened sticks they've made at a pile of hay. We keep seeing wannabe Malick-like cuts and shots as the older brother is telling a joke, the sky is a...

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    L.A. Film Fest Reviews: Herzog-ian 'Family Instinct' & The Quiet Tragedy Of 'The Salesman'

    "Family Instinct" Director Andris Gauja seems to be taking a page out of Werner Herzog's "ecstatic truth" playbook with "Family Instinct," a film about Zanda, a Latvian woman waiting for her husband and father of her children to come home from prison. But he's only in prison because she told the pol...

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    Review: 'A Better Life' Is Uneven, But A Well-Intentioned & Modest Human Story

    Sincerely rendered, modest and at times, a little too simplistic, Chris Weitz's "A Better Life," is neverthless a labor of love and a quiet, well-intentioned examination of family, father-son relationships and immigration issues in the U.S. Chalk it up to guilt. No, not white guilt, franchise guilt. After delivering two back-to-back rather bankrupt genre tentpoles (the polar bear coke commercial, anti-religion campaign "The Golden Compass" and the vacuous "Twilight: New Moon") director Weitz pulls a full 180 with his small-scale humanist drama, and he's a better man (and filmmaker) for it. If only every empty and tentpole obsessed director fe...

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    L.A. Film Fest Review: 'The Destiny Of Lesser Animals' Is A Study In Identity

    The Filmmakers Also Talk Bringing The Production To Ghana In “The Destiny of Lesser Animals” director Deron Albright and writer/lead actor Yao B. Nunoo paint an unhappy picture of life on the coast of West African nation Ghana. Boniface Koomsin (Nunoo) is a police inspector in the Cape Coast region, but is trying his best to break free and return to the bright lights, big city of New York, where he spent time as a young man. But following his deportation back to Ghana after 9/11, he finds it much harder to return to the States and desperate, saves his paychecks for a counterfeit U.S. Passport that, no sooner does it finally reach his hands, ...

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    Review: ‘Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop’ A Funny & Moving Portrait Of The Late Night Staple

    The following is a reprint of our review from SXSW.

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    Review: 'Bad Teacher' Only Deserves A Mildly Passable Grade

    After the critical and commercial success of "Bridesmaids," and an escalation in the discussion of women's place in comedy both in the more niche-y blogosphere and in mainstream popular culture (illuminated most wonderfully earlier this year in a gonzo episode of "30 Rock"), "Bad Teacher," about a foul-mouthed, irresponsible, self-centered, drug-addled teacher (who also happens to be a woman) seems particularly well-timed. And while the comedy is periodically laugh-out-loud, shoot-soda-out-of-your-nose funny, it also ultimately feels like a missed opportunity; like a substitute that breezes out of your life a semester too soon without ever ma...

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    Review: 'If A Tree Falls: A Story Of The Earth Liberation Front' Is A Compelling Eco-Terrorism Doc

    Of all the "issue" documentaries that have come out in the past few years about our environment, one that hasn't been broached, in any kind of thorough way, has been eco-terrorism. Part of this undoubtedly has to do with the propagation of the image of environmentalists as peace-loving, hippy dippy folks who would rather hold up signs and play hacky sack (while on break from Hampshire College) than burn out a building or engage in Palahniuk-ian fits of mischief and violent rebellion. But an even bigger reason why the subject hasn't been tackled in any kind of in-depth way must surely be the thorny, morally complicated issue of eco-terrorism; ...

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    Review: 'Cars 2' Features All New Parts, But With Less Than Pleasing Results

    Brightly colored, heartwarming, and making expansive narrative sweeps with an incredibly limited running time, it's the kind of bold, splashily produced film that has rarely graced multiplex screens this summer. But its biggest accomplishment might be that it reunites us with old friends (some of th...

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    L.A. Film Fest Reviews: 'The Bad Intentions' Is A Brilliant & Funny Coming Of Age Story

    'The Fatherless' Is Well-Shot And Competent, But Little MoreAnnouncing a great new voice in the world of cinema, Rosario Garcia-Montero's "The Bad Intentions" is a brilliant coming-of-age story that's funny, subtle, touching, and one of the best films of the year. Growing up in a bourgeois house in 1981 Lima, 8 year old Cayetana de la Heros spends a lot of time with herself. She is perhaps the most morose little girl seen on screen in a long time, idolizing Peruvian independence heroes from the past, focusing in particular on how they met their end. She finds out that her mother is pregnant with another child and somehow decides that the day ...

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    Book Review: 'Crazy 4 Cult' A Celebration Of Cult Movie Fandom

    There is, in Los Angeles, a very cool art gallery called Gallery 1988. Once a year they hold a show called Crazy 4 Cult, in which they invite underground artists (some of them quite famous, like Shepard Fairey, who did the Obama “Hope” poster and co-starred in the art world puzzle-box “Exit Through ...

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