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    Review: Rod Lurie Delivers 'Straw Dogs' For Dummies

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t: it’s probably a matter of time before every movie is remade, and as such, it was likely the appropriate moment for “Straw Dogs.” There’s no rhyme or reason to any of these remakes other than, "We have a catalog title, let’s just make sure it doesn’t go to waste rotting in our vaults." Ideally, each remake has its own deviation, a separate reason for existing. To Rod Lurie, who clearly has affection for the original movie, the task was simple: how to honor the spirit of the original film but make it an intellectually crippling affair, an ugly, irredeemable black hole of stupid contrivances, inconsistent c...

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    TIFF '11 Review: 'Jeff Who Lives At Home' Takes The Duplass Bros Mainstream For Their Best Film Yet

    As surreal as it is to see a micro-budget Duplass Brothers film start with the stars and mountainous terrain of the Paramount logo, in many ways that contradiction and clash sets the tone for their new comedy "Jeff Who Lives at Home." Strange things are afoot in the cosmos as Jeff (played with affable confusion and large-framed, good-hearted charm by Jason Segel) is trying to keep his eyes open for what the universe might be telling him, in terms of his destiny and purpose. Also, his mom Sharon (Susan Sarandon) would like it if he could get his ass off the couch in her basement and go to Home Depot to get wood glue to fix a broken pantry door...

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    TIFF '11 Review: 'Hysteria' Is The Vibrator Comedy Movie You Can Watch With Your Mom

    It turns out all Sabina Spielrein needed to get over her hysteria was not Freud or Jung or the talking cure, but just a really good fingering. Indeed, the course of sexuality and/or psychoanalysis might have been irrevocably altered had Sabina taken a trip to London to visit Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jo...

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    TIFF '11 Review: 'The Deep Blue Sea' A Beautiful, Woozy & Heartbreaking Tale Of Intense Passion

    "Beware of passion Hester, it always leads to something ugly."

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    Review: 'Lion King 3D' Maintains All of the Majesty of the Original, With Added Dimensional Sparkle

    A few years ago, Disney planned a theatrical release for a 3D version of "Beauty & the Beast," using the cutting edge, post-"Avatar" technology that we've all come to know so well (and sometimes dread just as much). The conversion took place, at great expense, but the theatrical engagement (originally set for February, 2010) never materialized. Still, the studio pressed ahead (Walt always said that good ideas never die), and this week the studio's traditionally animated crown jewel "The Lion King," in a shiny new 3D format, will get a proper release – in 2,000 3D screens across the country. But what does a 3D version of a traditionally animat...

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    TIFF '11 Review: 'Page Eight' A Talky Spy Pic Pitting Old School Sensibilities Against New Realities

    Johnny Worricker likes jazz, collects art, drinks whiskey and wears a suit better than man could ever dream of but in the modern era of the MI5, he is quickly becoming a relic. Played with suave, unflappable assuredness by Bill Nighy, "Page Eight," written with great flair by David Hare -- also directing his first film in fourteen years -- investigates the troubling intersection of politics and intelligence gathering in the contemporary war on terror and pitches it against a twisty mystery. And while it's structurally accomplished and delivers a movie that has clearly benefitted from a nearly perfectly honed and built script, its clinical col...

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    TIFF '11 Review: Chloe Moretz Is Trapped In The Unclean, Clammy Coming-Of-Age Indie 'Hick'

    Later, there will be a brief discussion of how literature is not film and how some actions and themes do not survive translation from the page to the big screen because our mind can better deal with envisioning them than it can with actually seeing them Before that, though I feel I have to pause and note that "Hick," adapting Andrea Portes' novel for the screen under the direction of Derick Martini ("Smiling Fish and Goat on Fire," "Lymelife"), is one of the most unclean and clammy films I've ever had to endure at a film festival. Not because it was incompetent and not because it deals with violent and sexual material but, rather, because it ...

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    TIFF '11 Review: 'Friends With Kids' Is, Sadly, A Conventional Look At Unconventional Relationships

    The concept of the nuclear family is now something of an outdated notion. With children now found in a wide array of living situations -- single parents, gay parents, adoptions, etc. -- the "ideal" of a child being raised by a mommy and a daddy is shifting, with a newer idea of just two good parents -- whomever they may be -- being of utmost importance. The film world is slowly beginning to recognize and write stories that reflect the changing times. Of course, "The Kids Are All Right" is one of the best movies to present an unconventional family, while "The Switch" represents what happens when you try to approach this kind of thematic materi...

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    TIFF '11 Review: Fernando Meirelles' International Love Story '360' May Leave His Fans Heartbroken

    In a photo studio in Vienna, a sleazy photographer (Johannes Krisch) is coaxing a young Slovakian woman Mirkha (Lucia Siposová) into posing for her first nude pictures. We soon find out this man is also a pimp and the pictures are for luring clients on the internet. Her younger sister Anna (Gabriela Marcinkova) tries to persuade her to reconsider but she has her mind made up. She needs the money and wants to change her life. Her sister intones through darkly humorous voiceover “If there’s a fork in the road, take it.” It’s a highly provocative opening for what ends up being just a so-so anthology of interweaving tales, even though director Fe...

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    TIFF '11 Review: 'Pariah' Is So Much More Than Just This Year's 'Precious'

    Listen, we understand that sometimes in order to get some attention, indie films need glib comparisons and word out of Sundance this year was that Dee Rees' "Pariah" was this year's "Precious." However, not only is "Pariah" nothing like "Precious", it is so much better and so much more rewarding than anything Lee Daniels' "achieved" with his hysterical, exploitative, ghetto soap opera porno. Real in ways few movies ever are, "Pariah" mixes the coming out and coming-of-age story and pitches it against the backdrop of an African-American family adapting to the shifting cultural sexual tides. The result is a film that is warm and raw, sometimes ...

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