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Movie Reviews

  • Indiewire
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    CANNES REVIEW | Un Certain Regard Closer "Elena" Features Glacial Pace and Intriguing Philosophy

    Andrei Zvyaguintsev starts and ends his third feature, "Elena," with the symbolic image of a barren tree, an accurate reflection of the dreary narrative sandwiched between those two shots. All three of the Russian director's features - alongside "Elena," he directed "The Return" and "The Banishment" - deal with troubled family life. Only "Elena," however, explicitly states said trouble before confronting its consequences. His latest work is the most overtly philosophical of the three, less concerned with plot than contrasting values. Terminally slow and simpler than its glacial pace implies, "Elena" is a resolutely minor work, but not without...

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    CANNES REVIEW | Christophe Honoré's "Beloved" Closes the Festival with the Familiar

    With "Beloved" ("Les bien-aimés"), the closing night selection of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, prolific French director Christophe Honoré returns to the postmodern musical turf he first explored in 2007's acclaimed "Love Songs." Here, he covers 45 years over 150 minutes and gives the impression of...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    movie review—Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

    Remember how fresh and novel Pirates of the Caribbean seemed in 2003? Remember the fun of seeing Johnny Depp’s off-the-wall portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow for the first time? It may be hard to think back that far, because the lumbering, pointless sequels have buried every trace of sponta...

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    CANNES REVIEW | Norwegian Director Joachim Trier Studies Addiction in Moving "Oslo, August 31st"

    Norwegian director Joachim Trier showed serious promise with his feature debut, "Reprise," a thoughtful coming-of-age drama about growing artist types with plenty of verve and style. His effective follow-up, "Oslo, August 31st," takes the opposite route. With its moving lead performance by "Reprise"...

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    CANNES REVIEW | Sorrentino's "This Must Be the Place" Puts Sean Penn in an Embarrassing Position

    The issue with "This Must Be the Place," Italian auteur Paolo Sorrentino's first English language feature, has nothing to do with whether it makes light of the Holocaust. That might be a worthy debate if it didn't face other problems. Chief among them: An uber-campy Sean Penn performance, a gratingl...

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    CANNES REVIEW | With "Drive," Nicolas Winding Refn Puts Ryan Gosling in the Fast Lane

    If "The Fast and the Furious" franchise borrowed liberally from 1980s action tropes and ditched plot in favor of sheer speed, it would probably resemble the mad hustle of "Drive," Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's thrilling foray into the Hollywood arena. Combing a memorably gritty Ryan Gosling...

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    CANNES REVIEW | Pedro Almodóvar's "The Skin I Live In" Is a Messy Medical Thriller

    Based on Thierry Jonque's novel "Tarantula," Pedro Almodóvar's "The Skin I Live In" is a medical revenge thriller about genre identity. It's also a meandering, tonally confused work. Teaming with Antonio Banderas for the first time in two decades and working with genre elements he hasn't touched in ...

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    CANNES REVIEW | Takashi Miike's 3-D "Hara-Kiri" Falls Short Of Its Bloody Potential

    In Japanese filmmaking machine Takashi Miike's loose adaptation of the 1962 "Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai," the best moments come at the end. A despondent samurai faces down the minions of a feudal lord, staging a ferocious battle for the memory of the relatives whose lives were lost to the lord's cruel mandates. The swordplay buzzes along at a breathtaking rate, the bold fighter takes on dozens of foes at once, and Miike cuts to the fleeting image of a cat watching the whole thing go down. In that passing shot, which lasts no more than a second, the director suddenly elevates the material with the welcome element of surprise. Unfortunately,...

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    CANNES REVIEW | Jafar Panahi Turns Censorship Into Art with Stunning "This is Not a Film"

    Jafar Panahi has taken risky circumstances and turned them into art. "This is Not a Film" delivers a sharp, measured critique of the conditions that now find him on his way to jail. A first-person account of the Iranian filmmaker at home awaiting news of his upcoming prison sentencing, it puts a hum...

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  • Indiewire
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    With "Melancholia," Lars Von Trier Delivers a Dark Apocalyptic Masterpiece

    Editor's note: This review was originally posted as part of Indiewire's coverage of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

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