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Leonard Maltin

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.

film review: Boxing Gym

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 5, 2010 4:10 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The grand old man of cinema vérité-style documentaries, Frederick Wiseman, shows no signs of slowing down, nor has he lost his keen ability to capture the sights, sounds, and overall milieu of his chosen subject. Last year he took us behind the scenes of the Paris Opera’s ballet troupe in La Danse; this year he presents a compelling portrait of life at Lord’s Gym in Austin, Texas.

film review: 127 Hours

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 5, 2010 4:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Directors like to test themselves, especially when they’re riding a wave of success. Having enjoyed worldwide acclaim for the emotional and immersive Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle has chosen an entirely different kind of story for his next project that presents a unique series of filmmaking challenges. I’d say he has met them all in 127 Hours, collaborating with key members of his Oscar-winning Slumdog team, including screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, composer A.R. Rahman, and cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle (who shared his task with Enrique Chediak).

film review: Due Date

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 5, 2010 4:01 AM
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  • 0 Comments

film review: Nora's Will

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • October 28, 2010 7:51 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Indie and foreign films have a tougher time than ever in today’s marketplace, which is why I want to call your attention to an import that’s truly worth seeing—even though you may not have heard much about it. Nora’s Will has won a number of film festival awards, which got my attention. I also put considerable stock in Menemsha Films, the small, dedicated distributor that has taken on its U.S. release. They tell me that business actually increased after its first week at the Paris Theater in Manhattan because of strong word-of-mouth; now it’s opening at a number of Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles, with other cities to follow in the weeks and months ahead.

film review: Hereafter

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • October 22, 2010 4:00 AM
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  • 4 Comments

film review: Conviction

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • October 15, 2010 4:00 AM
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  • 4 Comments
I know, I know: this sounds like TV-movie fodder. But Conviction isn’t a formulaic feel-good saga. It is based on a true story that takes many unexpected turns, and I found it quite moving. Hilary Swank plays a working-class Massachusetts woman in the 1980s who vows to go back to school and earn a law degree so she can help her innocent brother beat a murder rap that’s put him in prison for life. Sam Rockwell is the brother, a lifelong hellraiser who can’t believe his sister has that kind of devotion—

film review: Secretariat

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • October 8, 2010 4:01 AM
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  • 5 Comments
The secret of this film’s success is that it isn’t just the saga of a famous, prize-winning horse; it’s also the story of his owner, a suburban housewife and mom who stepped into a man’s world and took charge of an animal she believed to be a champion. It documents a time in the late 1960s and early 70s, when social change was in the air, and women’s roles in society were changing, if slowly. Mike Rich’s screenplay captures the time quite well, as do all the visual details onscreen. Those qualities—plus an exceptionally good cast—lift this above the norm for sports movies and underdog tales.

film review: Nowhere Boy

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • October 8, 2010 4:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
I saw this film in the best possible way: I didn’t know what it was about before I attended an early screening. I found it to be a moving look at a teenage boy’s struggles with his splintered family in England during the 1960s. When I realized the protagonist was John Lennon, it made even more sense, as I remembered, in sketchy form, the story of his adolescence.

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