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DJANGO UNCHAINED Is All Too Restrained

A plantation in the antebellum South is a perfect setting for a Quentin Tarantino film. His movies flip expectations, revealing gangsters as mundane chatterboxes and assassins as loving parents, transforming the would-be victims of murderous stalkers and World War II Nazis into forces of vengeance.
  • By Peter Labuza
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  • December 12, 2012 12:20 AM
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  • 9 Comments

The Sensible Craft of Ben Affleck's ARGO

Ben Affleck's third directing effort, "Argo," is funnier than expected, is expertly paced, and has a fantastic 70s look (the most convincing since Zodiac), plus knockout supporting performances by Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, and John Goodman in very colorful roles.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • December 3, 2012 8:35 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Beyond the Veil of the Flesh: David Cronenberg's THE FLY (1986)

I’m glad I re-watched David Cronenberg’s 1986 version of "The Fly" on Blu-ray. I haven't watched it in decent resolution since I saw it in a theater on first release. It's still brilliant and perfect, and profoundly moving—maybe Cronenberg's greatest and most perfect film; a horror tragedy that doesn't cop out, ever.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • December 1, 2012 5:55 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Clint Abides: TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE

In one of his great essays about baseball, the late A. Bartlett Giamatti famously called the game “our best invention to stay change.” Giamatti (who, besides being president of Yale University, was briefly commissioner of Major League Baseball) added, “I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun.”
  • By Peter Tonguette
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  • September 28, 2012 8:21 AM
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  • 0 Comments

One Life, Two Callings: A Review of GOD IS THE BIGGER ELVIS

"The first night I felt like I had jumped off a 20 story building and landed flat on my butt." That’s Mother Prioress Dolores Hart, describing her first night in the Regina Laudis Abbey, after taking her vows as a novice in the Benedictine order.
  • By Sheila O'Malley
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  • April 6, 2012 9:14 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Breaking the Silence, Sort Of: Whit Stillman's DAMSELS IN DISTRESS

Wherefore art thou, O Whit Stillman? Though never exactly a blur in motion, the minor auteur managed to generate three hyper-stylized, hyper-talky meditations on manners, morality and money throughout the ‘90s—the last of which, "Last Days of Disco," proved his best known and arguably finest.
  • By Lisa Rosman
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  • April 4, 2012 8:40 AM
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  • 1 Comment

SIMON SAYS: SNOWTOWN MURDERS and a Guided Tour Through Serial Killer Movies

The Snowtown Murders comes out in theaters this week. Based loosely on a series of real-life murders that took place in Snowtown, Australia, the film serves as a great reminder of why serial killers in particular are interesting: they’re pathologically disturbed.
  • By Simon Abrams
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  • March 1, 2012 9:11 AM
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  • 0 Comments

AARON ARADILLAS: Jagger and Byrne Define and Redefine the Rock and Roll Frontman

VIDEO: Watch the two embedded clips to compare the performance styles of two iconic front men: The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and The Talking Heads' David Byrne.
  • By Aaron Aradillas
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  • February 28, 2012 9:36 AM
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  • 0 Comments

REVIEW: The Trials of (Not) Making a Movie in THIS IS NOT A FILM

In the past two years, the Iranian government has moved from merely banning films (most of which were allowed to be released internationally) to arresting actors and filmmakers. Jafar Panahi is the highest-profile director to suffer such treatment. In 2010, his request to travel to the Berlin Film Festival was denied. He was arrested in March of that year, purportedly because he was making a film inspired by the protests following Iran’s 2009 election. In May, he was released on bail. In December, he was sentenced to six years in jail. Furthermore, he was banned from directing films, writing screenplays, giving interviews (even to Iranian media) and leaving the country for 20 years. While he appealed the sentence, he lost it in October 2011. Although he’s currently out of jail, he could be sent back at any moment.
  • By Steven Erickson
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  • February 28, 2012 9:36 AM
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  • 0 Comments

SIMON SAYS: Even in 3D, it's still a PHANTOM MENACE II society

In 1999, "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" was released theatrically. The rest is a blur – for me, at least. I was 12 years old at the time, the ideal age for an uncritical "Star Wars" fan to see the first entry in George Lucas’ then-new prequel trilogy.
  • By Simon Abrams
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  • February 15, 2012 7:32 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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