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Movie Reviews

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    Big Screen | Sundance Hit "Kingdom" Comes To America

    Set in the underground of Melbourne, Australia, David Michôd's "Animal Kingdom" received considerable approval at this year's Sundance Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury Prize in the festival's World Narrative Competition. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film shortly thereafter, and is relea...

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    Locarno Review | A Man Copied: Benedek Fliegauf's "Womb"

    The prospects of human cloning have provided fodder for decades of science fiction stories because they always contain a kernel of truth. Unlike the far-fetched conceits of alien invasions and deep space travel, cloning is tangible to the point where it doesn't demand extreme suspension of disbelief...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    Silent Stars Still Mesmerize

    At the recent San Francisco Silent Film Festival I acquired several recently-published books I hadn’t seen before. Now that I’ve spent time with them I feel duty-bound to spread the word.

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    Locarno Review | Diary of a Filmmaker: Christophe Honoré's "Man At Bath"

    Christophe Honoré has cranked out a series of critical favorites over the last few years, garnering enough praise to place him among the giants of contemporary French cinema. Popularity often gives artists room to play around, a freedom reflected in the relative smallness of his latest feature, "Man...

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    Locarno Review | Santa Gone Wild: Jalmari Helander's "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale"

    In 2003, Finnish director Jalmari Helander made a zany short film about smugglers in the business of hunting Santa Claus and inadvertently created a viral sensation. The short, "Rare Exports Inc.," and its 2005 follow-up, "Rare Exports: The Official Safety Instructions," con...

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    Review | There Will Be a Crime: David Michod's "Animal Kingdom"

    Equal parts crime thriller, neo-western and coming-of-age story, the Australian drama "Animal Kingdom" puts its moral compass into a tailspin. Initially, first time writer-director David Michod introduces a basic sense of right and wrong adopted by the most casual entries in good-versus-evil sagas, but he later endows his cruel world with a fittingly tilted vision of justice. Our sympathies lie with alienated teen Josh (James Frecheville), a Melbourne youth whose innocence gets challenged by his older gangster relatives. Michod situates Josh as the moral center, then sneaks in a finale suggesting nothing is sacred. Josh grows up when he grow...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    film review: 3D Worth Paying to See: Step Up 3D

    As a longtime 3D fan, I’ve been puzzled and discouraged to hear more than one director refer to “subtle use of 3D” in their films. Excuse me? I may be wrong, but I don’t think “subtle” and “3D” belong in the same sentence. The whole point of 3D is t...

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    Locarno Review | Undead Porn: Bruce LaBruce's "L.A. Zombie"

    Unless I'm missing something, the miraculous potential of a giant undead penis in Bruce LaBruce's "L.A. Zombie" is a definite first for film history. Banned from the Melbourne Film Festival and bound to inspire heated debate wherever it plays next, the wordless, hour-long portrait of a walking corps...

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    Locarno Review | Savage Grace: Benoit Jacquot's "Deep in the Woods"

    In the recent period of Benoit Jacquot's more than thirty years of filmmaking, with movies like "Seventh Heaven," he has often embraced a sharp psychoanalytic perspective. "Deep in the Woods" ("Au Fond Des Bois"), the French director's seventeenth feature and the opening night Piazza screening at th...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    book review: Three Chords For Beauty's Sake:

    The Life of Artie Shaw by Tom Nolan (Norton)

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