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Eric Kohn

Brief Thoughts on "Batman: Year One."

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • October 21, 2011 6:03 AM
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While the web has been drenched with rumors and buzz about the upcoming third entry in Christopher Nolan's live action "Batman" movies, the dark knight made a comparatively quieter arrival in a new movie this week: On Tuesday, Warner Home Video released the direct-to-DVD "Batman: Year One," an hourlong adaptation of Frank Miller's seminal '80s comic. Directed by Lauren Montgomery and Sam Liu, the animated feature captures the original elegance of the source material, while at the same time proving that a transcendent experience in one medium doesn't always seamlessly translate into another one.

Rex Reed Handicaps "The Myth of the American Sleepover" on Metacritic.

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • July 20, 2011 8:39 AM
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  • 3 Comments
As if you needed another reminder that review aggregators are better for finding reviews rather than measuring them, check out this list of reviews for "The Myth of the American Sleepover," opening this Friday. I may have been more enthusiastic about the movie than Reed, but Metacritic processes his review as the only 0% rating, which knocks the movie's overall rating down a full ten percent. These days, for better or worse, that means something. If you're seeing movies based on numbers alone...stop.

William Mapother is Creepy, But Not in "Another Earth."

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • July 18, 2011 5:15 AM
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  • 0 Comments
When I saw "Another Earth" at Sundance earlier this year, I was caught off guard by the presence of William Mapother. A cousin of Tom Cruise, Mapother recently played the eerie "Other" Ethan on ABC's "Lost," showing up in the first season as a mysterious presence among the plane crash survivors and slowly taking on a more complex dimension over the course of the show (even long after his character was killed off). Although I wrote in my review that Mapother did powerful work in "Another Earth," which opens this week, it's mostly the material that deepens his performance. I don't really feel for the guy as a frustrated widower; he seems like a better fit for the Paul Giamatti school of uncomfortable anti-heroes, as the embedded clip below hopefully demonstrates.

"Our Time," A Documentary About Today's American Youth.

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • July 17, 2011 9:16 AM
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I've been really curious about "Our Time," a documentary directed by Matt Heineman and Matt Wiggins about four recent college grads traveling the country in a quest to understand it. I have yet to watch the movie, which premiered on the Documentary Channel last night, but there will be other opportunities: It's currently available on Amazon and making its way to other VOD platforms soon. In the meantime, I've asked my friend and current Columbia University doctorate candidate Ryan Hagen, who contributed some writing to "Our Time," for his brief thoughts on the project.

A Yiddish-Speaker Sees "Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish."

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • July 13, 2011 9:15 AM
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You don't have to find the Yiddish language inherently amusing to get something out of "Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish" -- which is currently playing at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center -- but it helps. A linguistic oddity with oodles of charm, it cleverly satirizes the paradoxical sense of pride and self-loathing that has come to define the modern America Jew. Eve Annenberg's scrappy feature has plenty of appeal if you're willing to go with it.

5 John Carpenter Alternatives to "The Ward."

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • July 6, 2011 6:27 AM
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  • 1 Comment
In a review posted today on the main site, I wasn't exactly kind to John Carpenter's "The Ward," although if it was just some forgettable effort from a first-timer I may have simply ignored it. Instead, it's a forgettable effort from a guy who has made masterpieces and for all intents and purposes should still be able to make them. "The Ward" proves that by containing many of the components of great Carpenter works while failing to bring them to life. Here are a few other options that will remain classics long after "The Ward" fades from memory. ("Halloween" being "Halloween," I have left it off this list. It's not really fair to compare any movie to an acknowledged classic of its genre, is it?) With the exception of "Dark Star," all of these titles are available on Netflix Instant.

The Tragedy of Michael Bay.

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • July 4, 2011 12:00 PM
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  • 13 Comments
The best part of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" has no transformers in it. In the first act of Michael Bay's two-hour-plus threequel, regular transformer pal Shia LaBeouf fights a harder battle than any Decepticon has ever forced on him: Finding a job. In a humorous montage of ill-fated interviews, LaBeouf reminds us that he posseses legitimate acting talent beyond those countless reactions shots to CGI. (Remember "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints"?) In a vain display of self-confidence, the erstwhile hero repeatedly gets put in his place by striking out. Even a bemused John Malkovich doesn't bat an eyelash when LaBeouf proclaims that he saved the world twice already. When he tells another potential employer that he received a medal from President Obama, the hustler hits another wall: "We're mostly Republican here," comes the reply.

Interactive Theater Blows My Mind: "Sleep No More."

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • May 4, 2011 12:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Art, particularly when it takes the form of a story, typically encourages a passive experience; the sensational interactive theater production "Sleep No More" works against that tendency. Loosely adapted from "Macbeth," the traveling show is currently housed at a warehouse in Chelsea, where it has been held over through June due to the hugely positive reception. I finally got a chance to try it out last Friday.

"Melancholia" vs. "Another Earth": Which "Invading Planet" Movie Will You See?

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • April 8, 2011 5:13 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The trailer for Lars Von Trier's dark family drama "Melancholia" hit the web today, catching fire immediately for its freaky apocalyptic imagery and intense performances by Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Anne Thompson compared the heavy symbolic content to Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life" trailer, which I broke down shot-by-shot a little while back. "Melancholia" isn't quite as visually dense, but it's certainly loaded with big ideas, although it have some company. "Another Earth," the low budget sci-fi effort directed by Mike Cahill and picked up by Fox Searchlight at Sundance this year, also involves the sudden arrival of a new planet adjacent to our own. "Another Earth" hits theaters July 20; "Melancholia" doesn't have a release date yet, although Magnolia Pictures will distribute it in the U.S.

My Dad Explains the Science of "Source Code."

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • April 4, 2011 4:12 AM
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  • 12 Comments
Ever since I caught "Source Code" at an early screening last month, I haven't been able to get its time-spinning, reality-defying concepts out of my head. The movie works quite well no matter how hard of you try to understand it, but since it deals with an imaginary technology that could--if it actually existed--prevent all kinds of disasters from taking place, it's hard not to wonder what it would take to bring its underlying concept to fruition. Partly inspired by these detailed attempts to decode the movie's ending, as well as a video produced by Wired about the science behind the movie, I turned to the one person whose opinion about these things I usually trust more than any other: My dad.

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