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Movie Reviews

  • Shadow and Act
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    Sundance 2012 Review - "Red Hook Summer" (An Attempt To Make Sense Of Spike Lee's Trip To Wonderland)

    I agonized over this for awhile, and actually almost decided not to even write anything about the film; but I eventually reached a compromise.

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  • The Playlist
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    Sundance Review: Controversial & Upsetting 'Compliance' Is Still Affecting & Real

    If there’s a thin line between presenting unpleasant material to an audience and openly antagonizing them with it, there are going to be a lot of people accusing “Compliance” of the latter, when really what it’s doing is the former. Craig Zobel, the promising writer-director ...

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  • The Playlist
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    Sundance Review: 'Black Rock' A Back-To-The-Wilds Slasher With Brains & Bonding Along With The Blood

    There is, ultimately, something to be said for the pleasures of a simple, sleek and well-shot run-or-kill-or-die thriller where our heroes, trapped in the middle of nowhere and confronted by hostile locals, strike back to survive. And that, at heart, is what "Black Rock," the second direct...

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  • The Playlist
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    Sundance Review: Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Aaron Paul Hit the Bottle, And It Hits Back, In Strong, Stirring 'Smashed'

    There is a sub-canon of films about alcohol as deep and as dark as a barrel of bourbon, from "Lost Weekend" to "Days of Wine and Roses" to "Trees Lounge." "Smashed," premiering at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, casts Aaron Paul and Mary Elizabeth Winste...

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  • The Playlist
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    Sundance Review: So Yong Kim’s Stark 'For Ellen' Experiment Is A Grinding & Exhaustive Experience

    "For Ellen," Korean-American writer/director So Yong Kim’s third film after breakout indie dramas "In Between Days" and "Treeless Mountain," is shot in the same style of her preceding films. The way she films long uninterrupted takes of Joby (Paul Dano), a se...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Now and Then: In Political Films, Reality Trumps Fiction

    "The Ides of March," George Clooney's latest directorial effort, promises by its very title a mixture of danger, betrayal, and warped power. What we get, though, is more disquisition than thrill ride, a technically sound but ultimately unfeeling film about the cynicism of modern politics.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Sundance 2012 Review - "Middle Of Nowhere" (aka "Nothing But A Woman")

    It's an unfortunate testament of the time we live in when a film that takes an adult, mature, sincere, if realistic look at relationships between black men and black women could be viewed as dare I say radical.

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  • Indiewire
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    SUNDANCE REVIEW: "Kid-Thing" Is An Eccentric Curiosity, Courtesy the Zellner Bros.

    Austin-based sibling filmmakers Nathan and David Zellner make movies in a loony vacuum in which the only constant is a fixation on the bizarre. While technically geared toward comedy, neither their feature-length "Goliath" (which also premiered in the NEXT section, at Sundance 2009) nor in...

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  • Spout
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    Sundance 2012: "Teddy Bear" is a Sweet Drama With a Lovably Large Breakout Performance

    The main conceit of Mads Matthiesen’s “Teddy Bear” (aka "10 Timer til Paradis") which was previously established in his 2007 short film “Dennis,” is that its protagonist is a bulging bodybuilder who ironically isn’t macho at all. The idea that this guy, Dennis, is introverted, awkward with women and...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Utterly Superficial 'Ultrasuede: In Search Of Halston' Doc Is Marred By Its Clueless & Vain Director

    Inept, amateurish and largely risible, the fashion documentary “Ultrasuede: In Search Of Halston” is generally an embarrassing effort. But not because its subject isn’t worth documenting (quite the opposite actually), but because its creator is a dilettante buffoon; a clownish self-involved figure w...

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