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Review

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    Fantasia '11 Review: 'The King Of Devil's Island' A Chilly & Compelling Nordic Drama

    Stop if you've heard this before: an overbearing headmaster gets his comeuppance from his students after he pushes them too far, causing a violent uprising and revolt to take place. In literature and in films, variations on this theme have cropped up time and again usually with the same types of characters and signifiers, with the story and pacing playing out to the beat of a very familiar drum. And while on paper, Marius Holst's "The King Of Devil's Island" may seem like a trip down an already well-worn path, the film is a refreshing surprise that offers up a character-driven take on the genre that throws familiar notions of how this kind of...

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    Review: 'Without' An Assured Dramatic Debut By Director Mark Jackson

    "Without" was screened last weekend as part of Outfest 2011 in Los Angeles and Sound Unseen International Duluth in June.

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    Review: 'Salvation Boulevard' Spotlights A Murder In The Megachurch

    Religion remains the one cinematic taboo. As it should be: developing belief systems to create order in a world that, to some, appears chaotic is as human as eating and breathing. To say it is the territory of the idle-minded is to neglect the healing power of a belief system, theistic or otherwise....

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    NYAFF Reviews: 'Milocrorze', 'Love And Loathing And Lulu And Ayano' & 'The Seaside Motel'

    “Milocrorze: A Love Story”Yoshimasa Ishibashi’s hyperactive ode to the destructive power of romance is all things at once -- focused on three narratives, “Milocrorze” attempts to encapsulate the crushing defeat of male romance as if it was exclusive to one sex. The picture is book-ended with a boy’s (later a man’s) crush on the immaculate Milocrorze, a woman of no discerning traits who appears to have storybook beauty and, for the sake of his fantasies, might as well walk on water. The tone is set for the rest of the film by making her an object of pursuit with no particular personality -- whether you’ll accept the film or not relies on how m...

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    Review: 'Harry Potter & The Death Hallows Pt. 2' Is An Utterly Magical Conclusion to the Franchise

    It's been more than 10 years since we first watched Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe, through thick and thin), with his jagged lightning bolt scar and hard knocks childhood (he was orphaned after his parents were brutally murdered by a dark wizard), arrive at Hogwarts School to fulfill his destiny as "the boy who lived." In the years since Chris Columbus' sleepy debut films, the series has had its ups (Alfonso Cuarón's immaculate 'Prisoner of Azkaban') and its downs (Mike Newell's gonzo Bollywood 'Goblet of Fire') before settling in with its designated auteur, David Yates, who has helmed the last four films including this, the final entry, "Har...

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    Review: 'Daylight' An Uneven But Compelling Psychological Drama

    Few people will disparage an expectant mother. People are people, good and bad, but there's something majestic, alluring, and graceful about a pregnant female. It's some inexplicable aura that surrounds them, a soft soothing light that alters the mood of anyone they come in contact with. A meaningfu...

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    Review: 'Winnie the Pooh' Is A Cuddly, Gorgeously Animated Treat

    There have been a lot of animated movies released this year, but virtually none of them has been any good. The technology, while increasingly sophisticated and skilled at rendering lifelike Easter bunnies and parrots and pandas and oddly anthropomorphic automobiles, seems to be brought to the screen at the cost of a similar sophistication in storytelling. Which is why "Winnie the Pooh," Disney's new take on the beloved A.A. Milne character, rendered, lovingly, in comparatively low-tech traditional animation, comes as such a surprise. It might be the greatest animated feature of the year so far (besides "Rango") – and you don't even have to we...

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    Review: 'Tabloid' Is Documentarian Errol Morris At His Wildly Absurdist Best

    Lately, documentarian Errol Morris has focused his films on terribly serious subject matter. 2003's "Fog of War" centered on Robert S. McNamara, one of the chief architects of the bloody, morally nebulous Vietnam War, and 2008's underappreciated "Standard Operating Procedure" told the story of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal through the photos themselves. The films were great, but they lacked the playfulness and oddball charm of earlier Morris films like his debut "Gates of Heaven" (about a pet cemetery) and 1997's "Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control," about a bunch of weirdos with amazing professions (lion tamer, topiary artist, robotics expert, ...

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    Review: ‘The Tree’ Is A Harrowing, Sometimes Drab, Look At Life & Loss

    Films about the loss of a loved one – a parent, a child, a partner, a friend – have been a staple of cinema almost since its inception. Our inability to forget or move on with our lives is one of the characteristics that makes us human and filmmakers are always looking for new ways to examine how we...

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    Review: 'Rapt' Succumbs To Derivative Plotlines & Insubstantial Moments

    Where do we start with Stanislas Graff? Played with quiet confidence by Yvan Attal, the man is the chairman of a seriously lucrative business, well-respected by his peers. A loving family surround him, fit with two admiring teenage daughters and a wife that doesn't think sleeping in a separate room is a red flag of any sort. In secret, Graff is a heavy gambler and we're treated to a brief snippet of the showboat at a grimy poker game. And, just like any wealthy male in a film like this, he's got a separate flat where he sees whatever mistress he's currently shagging. Director Lucas Belvaux establishes the whole of this guy efficiently, moving...

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