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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | Money for Nothing: Stefan Ruzowitzky's "The Counterfeiters"

    Let's get it out of the way first: Stefan Ruzowitzky's "The Counterfeiters" was nominated for a Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar, controversially at the exclusion of a handful of borderline masterpieces, from Cristian Mungiu's "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days" to the upcoming "Silent Light" and "Secre...

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    REVIEW | Prep Rally: Jon Poll's "Charlie Bartlett"

    Who is Charlie Bartlett? A quirky know-it-all, a likeable dweeb, a guileless Ferris Bueller for our overmedicated age. Director Jon Poll and writer Gustin Nash's movie is about a teenager who gets kicked out of prep school, joins the hoi polloi, makes a name for himself as the student body's residen...

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    REVIEW | Shooting the Messenger: George A. Romero's "Diary of the Dead"

    There's a tendency in some high and low circles to instantly enshrine any new work from classic horror-meister George A. Romero, good-natured, jocular guy that he is, as a way of validating not only his formidable zombie oeuvre but also the seventies horror movie canon itself. Always the most overt ...

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    REVIEW | Soldier Boy: Newton I. Aduaka's "Ezra"

    No sugarcoating it: "Ezra" is a difficult film to watch. It isn't particularly graphic or gory, but its dramatization of children being kidnapped and forced into fighting--or, really, raping and pillaging--by rebel armies in Sierra Leone is extremely upsetting, and all the more terrifying for alludi...

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    REVIEW | Grace Notes: Eran Kolirin's "The Band's Visit"

    Though it's both a predictable culture-clash comedy and a gentle plea for people of different political backgrounds to "just get along," "The Band's Visit" nevertheless manages to use its central contrivances and inevitable cliches to its favor, and becomes something ethereal and winning. This debut...

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    REVIEW | Remote Lands: Nacer Khemir's "Bab'Aziz"

    It drops by the local art house every few months without fail--the "challenging" exotic import, too maddeningly slow and nonlinear for the "Pan's Labyrinth" crowd to cross it over to mainstream success, yet too naively earnest and moppet-dependent to impress a critical community taken with the more ...

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    REVIEW | Hit Me Baby, One...More...Time: Martin McDonagh's "In Bruges"

    "It's in Belgium," a frustrated voice-over informs. In the aftermath of a botched job, two London-based hit men are cooling off in the title city. It was the maiden murder for Ray (Colin Farrell), the narrator, a new kid who's still ill over catching a bystander in crossfire; Ken (Brendan Gleeson), ...

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    REVIEW | True Dedication: Ilana Trachtman's "Praying with Lior"

    No film critic would dare print a negative word about a film as well-intentioned as Ilana Trachtman's affable, purposely enriching documentary "Praying with Lior"; the reassuring news is that they'd have no reason to. One may be compelled to note the film's unremarkable visual textures, yet more apr...

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    REVIEW | Caught in the Middle: Andre Techine's "The Witnesses"

    Once again, with his new film "The Witnesses," great French filmmaker Andre Techine surveys the intersections of sexuality and politics, while offering up a compelling study in human strength and weakness. Instructive without ever falling into cheap bromides, dramatic without ever veering into overz...

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    PARK CITY '08 NOTEBOOK | Slamdance Docs "Dear Zachary" and "My Mother's Garden" Offer Personal Stori

    There's a certain intensity to low budget productions that often heightens their impact. At the Slamdance Film Festival, where singular vision overwhelms the importance of name talent and studio appeal, a number of sturdy entries achieve their cogent artistic intentions with focused minimalism. This...

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