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SIMON SAYS: The Vulgarian Frontier: On The Three Stooges' Patently Inconsistent Comedic Genius

Now that "The Three Stooges," the new Farrelly brothers mediocrity, is just a day away from nationwide release, it’s very easy to misremember what made Larry Fine and Moe, Larry, Curly, and Shemp Howard’s routine so memorable.
  • By Simon Abrams
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  • April 12, 2012 8:55 AM
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  • 0 Comments

BULLY: The Conversation

The recent documentary release Bully is an up-close look at 5 families of children who have been the victims of bullying. The film attempts to examine the problem from several different sides. The film has been the subject of much interest and debate since it came out; here, writers Simon Abrams and R. Kurt Osenlund offer their own takes.
  • By Simon Abrams and R. Kurt Osenlund
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  • April 11, 2012 11:38 AM
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  • 0 Comments

SIMON SAYS: Nanni Moretti's Cinema of Opposition

The films of Italian writer/director Nanni Moretti primarily revolve around his own ego and then secondarily around questions of moral responsibility, specifically the extent to which we function in society.
  • By Simon Abrams
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  • April 5, 2012 8:57 AM
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  • 0 Comments

SIMON SAYS: LOVE IN THE BUFF Redeems China Lion

For a few months now, China Lion Entertainment has been better in theory than in practice. Until this week and with the notable exceptions of some interesting but inconsistent melodramas like "Aftershock" and "Love in Space," China Lion had yet to release a film worth recommending without serious reservations.
  • By Simon Abrams
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  • March 29, 2012 8:32 AM
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  • 4 Comments

THE HUNGER GAMES: The Conversation

Now that "The Hunger Games," the new film adaptation of the first book in Suzanne Collins's hyper-popular young adult book series, has raked in $68 million dollars on its opening day alone, it seems especially prudent to take a somewhat harder look at the film, both as a stand-alone work and as an adaptation.
  • By Simon Abrams and Ian Grey
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  • March 26, 2012 9:46 AM
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  • 3 Comments

SIMON SAYS: The Weird World of Unseen Marvel Comics Movies

I want a comic book film that doesn’t pander to first-time audiences and also doesn’t deny the fact that these characters live in worlds where death rays and super-powers are commonplace. Is that so much to ask? I guess so. In my recent search for comic book movies that are out there and exciting and yes, maybe consistently engaging enough to be worth seeking out, I focused primarily on the Marvel Comics movies that time forgot, by which I mean that I sought out made-for-TV projects that have been buried by Marvel and have yet to surface on DVD or Blu-ray.
  • By Simon Abrams
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  • February 23, 2012 8:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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

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

SIMON SAYS: Celebrate Chinese New Year with these blockbusters

This weekend is Chinese Lunar New Year, a cultural landmark that even some of my Chinese friends needed to be reminded is almost upon us. One way you can tell that the holiday is impending is to look for Chinese films at your local movie theater. In the same way that a crop of big budget Bollywood premieres are perennially released in time for autumn’s Diwali festivities, so too are a number of studio-produced would-be Chinese blockbusters released in time for the new year. But blink and you'll miss ‘em: there are only two Chinese films being released at AMC theater chains.
  • By Simon Abrams
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  • January 23, 2012 2:22 AM
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  • 0 Comments

SIMON SAYS: As another year passes, Chris Gorak's RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR reminds us where we have been

Writer/director Chris Gorak's "The Darkest Hour" hit theaters on Christmas Day; to give you an idea of why you should be excited, here's an appreciation of Gorak's topical 2006 chiller, "Right at Your Door." “They don’t really know anything,” Rory Cochrane murmurs wonderingly at one point early on in Right at Your Door, writer/director Chris Gorak’s nightmarish horror parable about the "War on Terror" as it's imagined at home. That line of dialogue guilelessly gets to the heart of Gorak’s drama, which features the best and not-so-best aspects of George Romero’s trenchantly moralistic horror movies.
  • By Simon Abrams
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  • December 30, 2011 8:51 AM
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  • 3 Comments

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