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Movie Reviews

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    Even Better Than the Real Thing: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's "Lorna's Silence"

    Initial word from Cannes on "Lorna's Silence" generally dismissed the Dardennes' latest as a bit of comedown from the dizzy heights of international critical admiration that greeted "Rosetta," "The Son," and "L'Enfant." Even if their new film managed to eke out a Best Screenplay award (not quite the Palme, which they've won twice already), it only served to underscore the varied complaints: noirish elements, belabored transcendence, and the overall sense that the brothers, having reached some kind of pinnacle in capturing unlikely ephemeral grace amongst bottom-dwelling Belgians, had perhaps run out of steam. A screenplay award suggests wor...

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    It's About Consciousness: Louie Psihoyos's "The Cove"

    EDITOR'S NOTE: This review was originally published as part of indieWIRE's coverage of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

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    Showcasing The Absurd: Armando Iannucci's 'In The Loop'

    This review was originally published as part of indieWIRE's coverage of the Sundance Film Festival

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    American Saga: "The Entrepreneur" Rides the Moneymaking Roller Coaster

    Jonathan Bricklin's "The Entrepreneur" is the "Death of a Salesman" of car movies. That's not to say it reveals the depths of character explored in Arthur Miller's classic text, but Bricklin does succeed at showing the precise mayhem of the business and the tragedy of missing the finish line. A port...

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    Shiny Happy People Acting: Jonas Pate’s “Shrink”

    Tilt down to an E.T.-eye-view of Los Angeles at dawn, the back of the Hollywood sign looming in the foreground. Cut to a dog licking a man's hand as he drunkenly sleeps outside on a reclining deck chair. Looking haggard and hairy, Henry Carter (Kevin Spacey) wakes, lights a cigarette, and keeps smoking as he showers and balks at shaving. Cut to a recording studio where Carter is still smoking, still haggard and hairy. A voice comes in from the booth: "Happiness Now, take one." If nothing else, Jonas Pate's "Shrink" wastes no time divulging its methods and level of sophistication. Irony, as conspicuous and clever as a parade float, will front ...

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    Smart Fluff: Marc Webb's "(500) Days of Summer"

    EDITORS NOTE: This review was originally published as part of indieWIRE's coverage of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival

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    Let’s Rumble: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte’s “Soul Power”

    [An indieWIRE review from Reverse Shot.]

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    Beyond Gay: Lynn Shelton's "Humpday"

    This review was originally published as part of indieWIRE's coverage of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival

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    One Good Turn...: Anne Fontaine’s “The Girl from Monaco”

    French romantic comedies are the art-house import equivalent of pimped-out Hollywood blockbusters. Both appeal to a wide and diffuse target audience — moderately cultured bourgeois and pop thrill seekers — and both are basically critic-proof. Where Michael Bay obliterates scrutiny with fireballs and shiny screeching machinery, French comedies gently neutralize through learned banter, exotic settings, and scantily clad gamines. The machine works something like this: an older gentleman clicks into place across from a fresh face, situational laughter is achieved while clothes teasingly peel away, a titillating trailer cuts itself, Denby reviews ...

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    Wave Goodbye: Agnes Varda’s “The Beaches of Agnes”

    Is the 81-year-old Agnes Varda a tireless self-promoter or self-eulogizer? After watching her lyrical, free-associative autobiography “The Beaches of Agnes” it might seem silly to even bother creating a distinction. In the past decade or so, this oft-named “grandmother of the French New Wave,” who h...

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