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Leonard Maltin

film review: BLACK SWAN

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • December 3, 2010 5:15 AM
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  • 26 Comments
Evaluating any movie is a matter of personal taste. Filmmakers who deal in the extreme naturally provoke extreme reactions. That’s my way of saying that I couldn’t stand Black Swan. In fact, I had a violent response to the film, which I saw in its debut screening at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day weekend.

film review: King's Speech

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 25, 2010 5:30 AM
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  • 8 Comments
I sometimes recoil when people start spreading Oscar buzz about a movie I haven’t seen—or even had a chance to see—yet, but I’m willing to forgive this year’s campaign for The King’s Speech because it’s such a terrific movie. There are times when I look around me and get the feeling that civilization, as I know it, is coming to an end. Then a film like this arrives on the scene and restores my faith, not only in movies but in humankind itself.

film review: TANGLED

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 24, 2010 5:36 AM
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  • 5 Comments
I approach each new Disney film with a combination of eagerness and apprehension: will it be as good as I want it to be? Can “the new guys” carry the torch lit by Walt and his colleagues so many years ago? Where Tangled is concerned, I knew within minutes that the answer was yes. I could tell from the look and sound of the film that it had the qualities people have always sought in a Disney animated fairy tale. I felt like I was home. Yet Tangled is a completely contemporary film that puts its own spin on the source material, with clever staging, hip humor and spectacular action scenes.

film review: Love And Other Drugs

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 24, 2010 5:35 AM
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  • 1 Comment

film review: Burlesque

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 24, 2010 5:30 AM
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  • 3 Comments
The people behind Burlesque did at least a few things right. First, Cher has an amazing screen presence, and a way with dialogue that seems absolutely effortless. (I’ll admit, it takes some adjustment to accept her now-frozen face, but one either accepts Cher as it or not at all.) Then they hired Stanley Tucci to play her gay best friend and right-hand man, essentially reprising the role he essayed so well in The Devil Wears Prada. No matter—he brightens every scene he’s in, and delivers his lines with the panache of a true master. But these old pros have to swim up-tide against a screenplay that’s so hokey and weather-beaten you have to wonder how it got approved by a major studio.

film review: Made In Dagenham

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 19, 2010 5:15 AM
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  • 0 Comments
When a film is based on a fascinating true story, and marshals grade-A talent on both sides of the camera, it automatically gets my attention. Made in Dagenham is inspired by a real-life labor struggle—apparently little remembered, even in England—that is both timely and relevant today. There is no reason on earth the results shouldn’t have been stronger. The raw material has all the makings of great drama: in 1968, female workers at the vast Ford Motor Co. factory in a suburb of London went on strike after being reclassified as unskilled laborers, with a commensurate reduction in salary. Women weren’t taken seriously in the workforce, and their actions have wide, and unexpected, reverberations. Sally Hawkins (who won worldwide recognition for her starring role in Mike Leigh’s Happy Go Lucky) does a great job as a—

film review: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART ONE

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 18, 2010 5:42 AM
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  • 5 Comments
In the old days of Saturday matinee serials, audiences faced with cliffhanger endings took comfort in knowing that the story would be resumed one week later. The same can’t be said for the latest Harry Potter picture, which offers much incident but no resolution: for that, we all have to wait until next year. If you’re a dedicated Potter fan, you’ll have to take what you can from this one—mainly, the pleasure of spending time with its leading characters and the young actors who play them. Following J.K. Rowling’s narrative, there are no scenes at Hogwarts’ Academy. This denies us the opportunity to revel in seeing the finest British actors alive in the vast Potter ensemble; we get only token appearances from Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane and a handful of others, while Maggie Smith, as Professor McGonagall, is absent altogether.

film review: Tiny Furniture

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 12, 2010 5:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments

film review: Morning Glory

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 10, 2010 9:14 AM
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  • 0 Comments
What a pleasure it is to watch a well-cast, well-written comedy for grownups. Morning Glory has a smart premise and just the right people to carry it out: Rachel McAdams, as an overeager TV producer who locks horns with her new host, a once-respected news anchor played by Harrison Ford, as well as his co-host, a prima donna played by Diane Keaton. The parts might have been written with these actors in mind; that’s how perfectly they inhabit them and play off one another. McAdams is delightful in an all-too-rare comedy role, and works well opposite the men she encounters: her boss, Jeff Goldblum, her colleague and possible lover, Patrick Wilson, and best of all, her recalcitrant star, Harrison Ford. What a pleasure to see him in—

film review: FAIR GAME

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 5, 2010 8:29 AM
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  • 1 Comment
My conversion is now complete: I am a card-carrying Naomi Watts fan. I don’t know why I wasn’t her biggest booster before; I’ve liked her work in films as diverse as King Kong and The Painted Veil, but after seeing her this year in Rodrigo Garcia’s Mother and Child, Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger and now Fair Game, I am hooked. She is the real deal, and she gives yet another terrific performance as CIA agent Valerie Plame. The fact that she’s working opposite the extraordinary Sean Penn, as Joe Wilson, only ups the ante.

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