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    REVIEW | Scattered People: Fatih Akin's "The Edge of Heaven"

    A German filmmaker of Turkish descent, Fatih Akin has made hybrid cultures and hyphenated identities his great subject. "Head-On," his acclaimed breakthrough film from 2004, told a love story between two German Turks that wended its way back to the homeland. In "The Edge of Heaven," his latest, the ...

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    REVIEW | Book Smart: Joachim Trier's "Reprise"

    Norwegian Joachim Trier directs his debut feature, "Reprise," with such assured kineticism that it's only a matter of time before Hollywood gets his hands on him and turns him into an anonymous hack. That's not merely cynicism or a judgment call on Trier's foregrounded visual flair, which, unlike mo...

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    REVIEW | Father Figurines: Christopher Zalla's "Sangre de mi sangre"

    If writer-director Christopher Zalla's intent in "Sangre de mi sangre" was to sympathetically and realistically depict the plight of impoverished Mexican illegal immigrants trying desperately to eke out anonymous existences in urban U.S. areas, why does he litter his workmanlike debut film with char...

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    REVIEW | Embedded: Nick Broomfield's "Battle for Haditha"

    "What do you wanna know?" A young Marine casually utters this question at the outset of "Battle for Haditha," and it's a fitting epigraph to Nick Broomfield's blistering, ambitious film. The query prefaces the PFC's offhand account of his service and the conditions of his barracks in Haditha, Iraq, ...

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    REVIEW | Imagine That: Tarsem Singh's "The Fall"

    Playwright John Guare must have had Indian director Tarsem Singh (or as he's often simply known, Tarsem) in mind when he wrote about the increasing exteriorization of the term "imaginative": "Why has 'imagination' become a synonym for style?" Singh makes films that inspire a bevy of similarly misuse...

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    REVIEW | Changes: Lucia Puenzo's "XXY"

    Though it's as sullen and damp-grey as its morose 15-year-old protagonist, Argentinean filmmaker Lucia Puenzo's directorial debut "XXY" doesn't really get inside the mind of young Alex as much as watch her with an awkward combination of fascination and empathy. It's both a success and a failing on t...

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    REVIEW | Let's Go to the Videotape: Garth Jennings's "Son of Rambow"

    There's rarely a moment in "Son of Rambow" that isn't polished or primped for prime demographic impact; a whirlwind for those who get nostalgic for British school-chum pictures, Sylvester Stallone actioners, early Eighties camcorders, and breakdance-era outre outfits, Garth Jennings's ingratiating l...

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    REVIEW | The Archaeologist's Dilemma: Jeremy Podeswa's "Fugitive Pieces"

    Nostalgic, deeply felt, and refreshingly astute, "Fugitive Pieces" is something of a rare bird these days -- a big-budget, transnational historical drama that actually justifies its scope and subject matter with more than visual opulence. On the surface, it looks like the kind of mainstream art-hous...

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    REVIEW | Knock Off: Claude Lelouch's "Roman de gare"

    Sixties art-house standby Claude Lelouch is, as it turns out, alive and well and living in Paris. He's even directed a new film; the title, "Roman de gare," incessantly punned with in the film, apparently refers to those cheap paperback thrillers available at train stations, tawdry stuff good for a ...

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    REVIEW | Seeing Is Believing: Errol Morris's "Standard Operating Procedure"

    Often when it comes to Errol Morris, the more you see, the less you know. Some documentarians aim to answer and resolve, but Morris is almost too content to leave us adrift in ambiguity, regardless of the political, moral, and epistemological repercussions. After a New York Film Festival screening o...

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