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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

AARON ARADILLAS: Loving LOVE STORY means never having to say you're sorry

Watching "Love Story" today is like opening a time capsule you didn’t know had been buried. The movie is at times shocking, not because it’s bad (it’s actually surprisingly good), but because it is a movie unaware of the time and place where it is set.
  • By Aaron Aradillas
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  • February 14, 2012 10:25 AM
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  • 0 Comments

SIMON SAYS: THE WICKER TREE needed a different director

Robin Hardy’s "The Wicker Tree" could have been a much stronger film had it not been directed by Robin Hardy. Which is a weird thing to think when you actually waste time thinking about it. Hardy is the director of the original 1973 film "The Wicker Man" and the author of "Cowboys for Christ," a thematic sequel to "The Wicker Man." He’s now synonymous with "The Wicker Man," a canonical British horror film about a murderous community of Scottish pagans. Hardy’s the first guy that balked in terror and dismay when Neil LaBute’s "The Wicker Man" underdone parody-cum-remake came out (also in 2006). So while playwright Anthony Schaeffer scripted the original "The Wicker Man," it is now considered Hardy’s baby. So who else could direct "The Wicker Tree," an adaptation of "Cowboys for Christ," but Hardy?
  • By Simon Abrams
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  • February 3, 2012 1:25 PM
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  • 0 Comments

REVIEW: KILL LIST is a killer thriller that spills into horror

Few things bring out the worst tendencies of Hollywood than the genre mash-up, as evidenced by two of last year's worst films, "Cowboys vs. Aliens" and "Battle: Los Angeles" (aka "Independence Day" filmed as part Iraq War documentary, part video game). The "movie-x-meets-movie-y" mentality seems to inspire little more than z-level creativity in the land of big budgets and small minds. And yet, somehow the British have a better track record at bringing together disparate elements into a compelling whole. One of the best British crime movies, "The Lavender Hill Mob," is also one of their best comedies. Their most famous horror movie, "The Wicker Man," is actually a trifecta of horror, crime thriller and musical. And now there's Ben Wheatley's "Kill List," which takes seemingly familiar genre elements and offsets them in ways that can be confounding, but leave an unforgettable impact. And by impact, I'm not just talking about a scene involving a tied-up librarian and a hammer.
  • By Kevin B. Lee
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  • January 26, 2012 6:22 PM
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  • 0 Comments

KEVIN B. LEE: The strange case of the 103 year-old film director

Few of us can expect to live 100 years, much less have that age represent the prime of our career. But Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira, who last month celebrated his 103rd birthday, has averaged one new film a year since 1985 (Ron Howard's "Cocoon," in which Florida retirees meet space aliens who hold the secret to youth, was released the same year -- coincidence?). Two-thirds of Oliveira's 30 features were made in his eighties and nineties; Clint Eastwood, who last year turned 81, has his work cut out for him.
  • By Kevin B. Lee
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  • January 19, 2012 10:31 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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