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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | Light It Up: Francis Veber's "The Valet"

    Francis Veber has been an industrious source of chipper, very lucrative French screen farces for well over 30 years, working first as a screenwriter, then as a director, amassing credits on such popular titles as "La Cage aux Folles" and "The Dinner Game," as well as a smattering of American remakes...

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    REVIEW | Rent-a-Cop: Edgar Wright's "Hot Fuzz"

    "Hot Fuzz" is the fulfillment of most any movie-glutted provincial adolescent's study-hall daydreams - basically, to turn their town into the set of an action movie smash-up. Filming in his hometown hamlet, Somerset, Wells, director Edgar Wright must be realizing set pieces that he mentally storyboa...

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    REVIEW | Lovely and Amazing: Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "Syndromes and a Century"

    Though it's riding a wave of critical exultation, "Syndromes and a Century" will surely still baffle and unsettle much of its audience---a necessity in our film culture. The gently swaying provocations of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's latest experiment in narrative palpate the edges of what today's ma...

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    REVIEW | Come and See: Andrea Arnold's "Red Road"

    Two paths cross in British director Andrea Arnold's debut feature "Red Road" - not in the story, but in the story mechanics. There's a tale of a woman, Jackie (Kate Dickie), confronted with the appearance of a harbinger of destruction from her past, Clyde (Tony Curran). And there's the manner in whi...

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    REVIEW | Stranger in Paradise: Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam's "Dreaming Lhasa"

    Few films promise as enticing a glimpse into such an iconic but unknown reality as "Dreaming Lhasa" does; the title itself evokes a descriptive yearning. Seeking to explore the dynamics of Tibetan cultural identity in the absence of a homeland denied independence, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam's feat...

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    REVIEW | Flame Out: Mary Jordan's "Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis"

    From the inventor of the wheel to the Ramones, originators repeatedly get the short end of the stick: unrefined and unfamiliar, their innovations usually fly over the heads of unappreciative audiences until someone shrewder comes along and renders them accessible. Thus goes the ecstatic yet tragic s...

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    REVIEW | Crass Course: Paul Verhoeven's "Black Book"

    The real value of Paul Verhoeven's career, above the lubricity of his craftsmanship, comes in the director's total committal to bug-up-the-ass ambivalence. In moving from Holland to Hollywood in the Eighties, and subsequently commanding massive budgets, he retained a distinctly "art-house" reticence...

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    REVIEW | I Am Sham: Lasse Hallstrom's "The Hoax"

    Painless while viewing and fruitless upon reflection, Lasse Hallstrom's latest addition to his own wing in the Miramax mausoleum - where art film goes to die - is a wholly predictable product: a true-life story that eschews truth and banalizes life. "The Hoax" is based on one of the most fascinating...

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    REVIEW | Californication: Jake Kasdan's "The TV Set"

    The inevitability of artistic compromise in the face of bottom-line chasing execs isn't exactly unmined satiric territory, but that doesn't stop Jake Kasdan from throwing himself whole-hog into another retread of "The Player," albeit one that benefits from its appropriately TV-style small scale. Kas...

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    REVIEW | Bright Young Thing: Amnon Buchbinder's "Whole New Thing"

    After being cooped up at home and schooled by his progressive, eco-friendly parents, confused adolescent Emerson Thorsen (Aaron Webber) starts school at age thirteen, eventually developing an enriching but finally unhealthy crush on his sad-sack English teacher, Mr. Grant (co-screenwriter Daniel Mac...

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