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Rome Review: 'The Motel Life' A Small But Perfectly Formed Indie With A Sweet, Sad Heart Of Gold

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • November 16, 2012 6:14 AM
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  • 4 Comments
On the surface, there should be nothing particularly special about producer-turned-director brothers Gabe and Alan Polsky's debut, "The Motel Life," which premieres tonight at the Rome Film Festival. Threatening to sound like indie-by-numbers on paper, the film, based on the well-received novel of the same name by Willy Vlautin, is indeed familiar in its downbeat, disenfranchised Americana setting and even some of its themes: familial love, redemption and the fragility of hope in the face of ill-starred circumstance. But while it doesn't reinvent the wheel, or revolutionize the genre, it achieves its modest ambitions affectingly well, in no small part due to a clutch of cherishable performances, especially from leads Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff, as brothers Frank and Jerry Lee.

Tribeca Review: 'Deadfall' Starring Eric Bana & Olivia Wilde Is Trapped In A Blizzard of Coincidence & Two-Dimensional Characters

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 26, 2012 6:17 PM
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  • 4 Comments
"Deadfall" starts off strong enough – three criminals, led by Addison (Eric Bana) and his sexy sister Liza (Olivia Wilde) speed away from some unspecified job (it's later revealed to be a casino heist). It's icy out and their driver (the only black character in the whole movie) overcompensates, avoiding a deer, which sends their car cart wheeling over a snowy embankment. As Addison and Liza climb out of the wrecked car they notice their very-dead driver, his head through the windshield. "He should have been wearing his safety belt," Bana grumbles, dripping a syrupy Southern accent on top of his natural Australian drawl. It's a perfect way to begin the movie – darkly comic, oddly thrilling, weirdly sexual (there's definitely an incestuous vibe between the siblings) – but these opening moments are probably the strongest in the movie's 94 minute running time.

Review: 'Dolphin Tale' Is A Thoroughly Average, Squeaky Clean Family Movie

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 22, 2011 2:04 AM
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  • 7 Comments
In the new, squeaky clean family film "Dolphin Tale," based on the true story of an injured dolphin that is outfitted with a cutting edge prosthetic tail, there are enough civic and spiritual virtues levelled at you to fill several Sunday school classes. The importance of family, friendship, never leaving someone behind, accepting those with disabilities, respecting the ocean, and studying hard in class, are reiterated repeatedly, so much so that you suspect this may be a sly "Christian values" movie dressed up like an eco-friendly Saturday afternoon romp (it does come from the same people who made "The Blind Side" so keep that in mind). But the movie is set in Clearwater, Florida, which many will recognize as the cuddly epicenter of Scientology in the United States, and scanning the background of any particular scene you can see the monolithic Scientology center (the Flag Building, as large as a city block) looming against the pale blue sky.

Kate Mara & Treat Williams Join Eric Bana & Olivia Wilde In 'Blackbird' (aka 'Kin')

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 25, 2011 7:36 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Sissy Spacek & Kris Kristofferson Round Out The CastVariety reports that Kate Mara and Treat Williams, who both featured in Danny Boyle's "127 Hours" but didn't share any screen time, are set to reunite and actually appear at the same time on screen in the upcoming crime thriller "Blackbird" starring Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde.

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