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Leonard Maltin

Scanning The Movie Year

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • December 27, 2010 5:00 AM
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  • 13 Comments
Like any critic, I have an ego: it comes with the territory, or I couldn’t express my opinion with confidence. Imagine what it’s like, then, to sit in a room with forty other critics—each one certain and confident—and try to reach a consensus, as I do with my colleagues in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association every December. We meet in person and vote out loud, using a point system to determine the most popular candidates in every category; then we have a runoff show of hands between the two top vote-getters to determine who wins. (If you’d like to see all of this year’s winners, or learn more about our group and its members,—

film review—THE ILLUSIONIST

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • December 25, 2010 5:00 AM
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  • 3 Comments
I have nothing but admiration for Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist, a heartfelt homage to the great filmmaker and comedic artist Jacques Tati, based on one of his unproduced screenplays. But I wanted to love the film wholeheartedly, and I didn’t.

MR. DeMILLE, MEET MR. DISNEY

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • December 23, 2010 5:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments
When I first became interested in old-time radio I didn’t comprehend just how strong a connection existed between the empire of the air and the movie industry during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. At first, Hollywood was wary of radio, just as it would be when television came along. Then the powers-that-be realized that radio wasn’t the enemy: it was a potential ally, capable of promoting its stars and upcoming movies to an enormous audience.
More: Journal

film review—TRUE GRIT

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • December 22, 2010 5:15 AM
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  • 17 Comments
The Coen Brothers want to have their cake and eat it, too. They apparently intend some of their adaptation of True Grit to play believably, and some of it to reflect the ironic distance for which they’re so well known. That’s a tough two-step to pull off, and they almost get away with it.

film review: SOMEWHERE

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • December 22, 2010 5:00 AM
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  • 4 Comments
I count Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation as one of my favorite films of the decade, and I have great respect for her other pictures—except for the one at hand. Somewhere, which somehow won the Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival, strikes me as a non-movie, an utter waste of time.

DORIS DAY SPEAKS!

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • December 20, 2010 5:00 AM
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  • 8 Comments
There aren’t many true movie stars still with us from Hollywood’s golden age, or even from the 1950s and 60s, when the studio era was on the wane. But one star who occupied a unique place in America’s heart, as a top box-office attraction and a top-selling recording artist at the same time, is still alive and well: Doris Day. She avoids the limelight and hasn’t appeared on camera in many years. (I felt very lucky to spend some time with her for Entertainment Tonight in 1993, during a weekend-long fundraiser she held for her Animal League.)
More: Journal

film review—RABBIT HOLE

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • December 17, 2010 5:20 AM
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  • 1 Comment
A film about a couple trying to get over the loss of their young son is not likely to generate what marketers call a high “want-to-see” factor. But when the story is told with care, honesty, and even moments of humor that reflect the unpredictability—and absurdity—of life, it deserves to be seen.

film review—TRON LEGACY

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • December 17, 2010 5:17 AM
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  • 6 Comments
If you’re old enough to remember seeing Tron when it came out in 1982, you may understand why I wasn’t chomping at the bit to see this much-hyped sequel. Tron was revolutionary in its use of computer graphics to place Jeff Bridges into a videogame environment—and that was definitely cool. But even cutting-edge technology needs a story to create a satisfying movie experience, and that’s where Tron fell short. I’m sorry to say the new movie is an example of history repeating itself.

film review—HOW DO YOU KNOW

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • December 17, 2010 5:15 AM
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  • 1 Comment
If you admire such films as Broadcast News, Terms of Endearment, and As Good as it Gets, as I do, you’ll be rooting for James L. Brooks to score another bull’s-eye with his latest effort. But it’s clear pretty early on that How Do You Know is a muddled misfire: a tiresome, talky romantic comedy about a bright young woman who, at a vulnerable moment in her life, can’t decide between two men—neither of whom seems terribly appealing. That these three characters are played by Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd makes it even more—

More New And Notable Film Books

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • December 15, 2010 5:30 AM
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  • 7 Comments
A few weeks ago I did a survey of recently-published film books. Here is a second installment, drawn mostly from quick skims and first impressions. I don’t pretend these are full-fledged reviews based on reading these volumes in their entirety. They all look interesting and I hope they fulfill that promise. I happen to be of the opinion that there is no better, more personal gift than a good book. There is also no better way to treat yourself, especially if you have any “down time” coming up over the holidays.

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