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leonardmaltin
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Leonard Maltin

film review - Green Zone

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • March 12, 2010 5:00 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Director Paul Greengrass has an amazing gift for simulating documentary-style reality, as he’s proven in such notable films as Bloody Sunday and United 93. He’s also brought his shaky-cam and rapid-fire editing style to the Bourne series, with great success, although not every viewer appreciates his motion-sickness approach to visual storytelling. Now he has tackled an Iraqi war story set in 2003, at the very outset of America’s involvement. Matt Damon stars as a dedicated Army officer searching for Weapons of Mass Destruction and coming up empty-handed.

Alice in Wonderland

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • March 5, 2010 5:00 AM
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  • 67 Comments
How you react to this film will have a lot to do with your expectations. I didn’t expect a work of genius. In fact, I approached it with trepidation, worried that Tim Burton’s weird sensibility layered on top of Lewis Carroll’s already-surreal material would create a kind of overkill. I’m happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised. First things first: with no disrespect to Burton, this struck me more as Linda Woolverton’s Alice. As the principal screenwriter of the Disney features Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Mulan, she has solid experience creating strong female characters. Here, she has reinvented Alice as a willful 19-year-old girl (nicely played by newcomer Mia Wasikowska) who flees from a stifling arranged marriage and falls down a rabbit hole. She has no memory of having visited this magical world once before, as a child.

film review - A Prophet (Un Prophète)

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • February 25, 2010 9:40 AM
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  • 1 Comment
I like movies that take me on an emotional journey. The central character of A Prophet is Malik, a 19-year-old petty criminal (Tahar Rahim) who’s being sent to prison. We don’t know what he’s done, or very much else about him; he’s quiet and keeps to himself. Then he is targeted by one of the prison kingpins, a tough, Corsican mobster named Cesar (played with quiet intensity by Niels Arestrup), who forces him to commit an unthinkable act. This is the turning point in his life, and it leads him to experiences he never could have planned or predicted.

Film Review—The Wolfman

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • February 12, 2010 5:00 AM
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  • 8 Comments
The good news is, despite long production delays and rumors of disaster, the new remake of The Wolfman isn’t bad…not bad at all. Handsome production design by Rick Heinrichs and great makeup effects by Rick Baker (who also makes a brief appearance on camera) are among its strongest assets. There are some real scares, and a couple of knockout showpiece scenes.

film review - Edge of Darkness

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 28, 2010 9:29 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Let’s deal with the elephant in the room right away: I wasn’t sure how I would respond to seeing Mel Gibson on screen for the first time since his public embarrassments and utterances. Like many of you, I have felt ever since queasy about the man. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to like his new starring vehicle. But minutes into Edge of Darkness I forgot about all that;

The Young Victoria

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 16, 2010 2:20 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The challenge of any historical drama is to engage us so that we’re not passively observing a pageant of events but actively involved in the characters and their story. Screenwriter Julian Fellowes has drawn on many sources to create a witty, often gripping screenplay that tells a story many people may not know about the teenage girl who was crowned Queen of England in 1837—and how her life was often cruelly manipulated, both before and after...

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 8, 2010 4:20 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Over the years, Terry Gilliam has become something of a brand name, leading moviegoers to expect a generous display of visual razzle-dazzle and an offbeat sensibility; the problem often lies in his story or screenplay. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, written by Gilliam and his frequent collaborator Charles McKeown, is one of his better endeavors: a bit rambling, but enjoyable. Christopher Plummer plays the title character, who...

Crazy Heart

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • January 8, 2010 1:33 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Crazy Heart is the movie equivalent of comfort food; reassuring, familiar, and easy to digest. It’s Jeff Bridges performance that makes it special...but then, he’s reason enough to see almost any movie. (He’s the best thing about the season’s most disappointing movie, The Men Who Stare At Goats.) Here, he plays a weather-beaten country...

The Messenger

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • December 29, 2009 3:39 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Simply put, The Messenger is about the soldiers whose job it is to notify next of kin when a member of the armed forces is killed in action. That sounds intriguing enough on the surface, but screenwriters Oren Moverman (who also makes his directing debut here) and Alessandro Camon manage to generate...

It's Complicated

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • December 25, 2009 4:59 AM
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  • 0 Comments
If you love watching Meryl Streep, are enjoying the renaissance of Alec Baldwin as a comedic actor, and like Steve Martin playing it straight, you’re a candidate to enjoy It’s Complicated as much as I did. With Nancy Meyers (Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday) at the helm as...

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