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Movie Reviews

  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    SXSW 2013: ‘Bates Motel’ Preview a Few Cuts Under Its Pre-‘Psycho’ Potential

    “Who’s gonna rent a room in the rape/murder hotel?” smokin’ hot Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) rhetorically asks her introverted son Norman (Freddie Highmore) after a grizzly scene has just unfolded in their creaky house. Based on the first episode of “Bates Motel,” which was unveiled March 11 at SXSW, ...

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  • Indiewire
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    SXSW Review: 'White Reindeer' Is a Sad, Subversive Christmas Tale, But Not Devoid of Warmth

    Filmmaker Zach Clark's first two features, the scrappy nurse-turned-dominatrix comedy "Modern Love Is Automatic" and the wicked beach party noir "Vacation!," paired restless formalism with Clark's penchant for deadpan humor. By contrast, his touching Christmas tale "White Reindeer" funnels Clark's d...

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW Review: 'Kiss Of The Damned' Is An Intoxicatingly Lusty Homage To Old School Horror

    Xan Cassavetes, the daughter of John Cassavetes and the director of the wonderful film world documentary "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession," wrote and directed "Kiss of the Damned" with a wink and a nod so overt that, from the opening credit sequence, which closely mimics the similarly-titled Hamm...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Upside Down' Envisions A Lifeless 'Romeo and Juliet' Tale With Sporadic Sci-Fi Escapism & Visual Thrills

    In Juan Juan Solanas.' fantasy romance "Upside Down," twin planets exist with opposite gravities and social restrictions of Dickensian thematic heft. "Up Top" boasts gleaming skyscrapers, well-dressed citizens, and the majority of wealth, while "Down Below" struggles in poverty and mud-stained exist...

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  • Indiewire
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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW Review: Olivia Wilde & Jake Johnson Have Crazy Chemistry In Joe Swanberg's 'Drinking Buddies'

    With the rise of digital filmmaking in the last decade, a new wave of DIY "mumblecore" filmmakers have risen up through the ranks. While initially many of these films were loose and unpolished, they are now are becoming more refined with many of these directors and actors now having basically integr...

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  • Indiewire
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    SXSW Review: Cheap Stab at Sibling Rivalry 'Awful Nice' Mostly Stumbles in Search of Laughs

    Director Todd Sklar's short film, brazenly titled "'92 Skybox Alonso Mourning Rookie Card," followed a pair of estranged brothers drawn together by the untimely passing of their father. At less than 13 minutes, it managed to economically set up two aimless characters and let them run wild to comic e...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Welcome To The Punch' Is A Stylish & Smart British Spin In On The Action-Thriller

    The terms "British cinema" and "action movie" tend not to go together particularly well. Maybe it's the smaller budgets at play, maybe it's an awareness that our American and Asian cousins do it better, maybe it's cultural -- most British cops don't carry weapons, for example. It's not that it hasn'...

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  • Indiewire
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    SXSW Review: 'William and the Windmill' Investigates Morality of 'Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' Subject's Fame

    The story of Malawian teenager William Kamkwamba is candy for the Western imagination: In 2001, the 14-year-old Kamkwamba dropped out of school and picked up a library book about harnessing electricity, then built a windmill from scratch, effectively powering his subsistence farmer family and saving...

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  • Indiewire
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    SXSW Review: Emotional Troubled Youth Drama 'Short Term 12' Pulls Off Tricky Balance

    There is undoubtedly a bad version of "Short Term 12" that writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton ("I Am Not a Hipster") fortunately didn't make. The movie, which follows the experiences of staff and patients at the eponymous foster care home for at-risk teens, conveys a series of sentimental hooks w...

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