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Review: 'The Loving Story' An Eye-Opening Portrait Of Quiet Heroism In The Face Of Injustice

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 13, 2012 6:56 PM
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  • 0 Comments
At the movies, heroes often save the day, get the girl and say all the best lines, but in real life, that's rarely the case. For Richard and Mildred Loving it was their quiet resolve, and the simple motivation that they were stuck in an unfair and injust situation, that saw them battle for years to attain the very simple right to live together, as husband and wife, in their home state of Virginia. "The Loving Story" is a respectful and at times, eye-opening chronicle of their pursuit to be able to live an honest life.
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Berlinale 2012 Review: Reverence Outweighs Insight In Kevin Macdonald's 2 1/2 Hour 'Marley' Documentary

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • February 13, 2012 2:03 PM
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  • 1 Comment
A long film detailing a tragically short life, on paper, Kevin MacDonald's Bob Marley documentary "Marley" has more than enough of a pedigree to justify its 2 1/2 hour running time. After all, it's a biopic of one of the most influential and evergreen musical pioneers of all time, being brought to us by the respected documentarian behind the thrilling "Touching the Void" and the Oscar-winning "One Day In September." But the truth is that film's exhaustive approach at some point becomes simply exhausting, with its sporadic moments of true inspiration, almost all directly connected with the music or Bob's early life, serving mostly to remind of how by-the-numbers the rest of the movie is. It purports to bring us the man behind the myth, but 150 minutes later, the flesh-and-blood Marley remains frustratingly out of reach, and the myth is still reverently intact.

Review: 'Perfect Sense' An Uneven Mix Of Romance & Apocalypse

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 12, 2012 10:10 AM
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  • 3 Comments
If you thought the fast spreading virus in "Contagion" was bad, Steven Soderbergh's film has got nothing on David Mackenzie's "Perfect Sense." A romance, sci-fi tale and apocalyptic vision of the breakdown of humanity all rolled into one, there is no source for the virus which moves quicky and mysteriously around the world. It just happens, and the effects are devastating. Anyone stricken with the virus begins to lose each of their senses, one by one over the course of days and weeks. There is no cure and there is no way to stop it, and it's against this backdrop that romance, against all odds, begins to flourish.

Rotterdam Review: 'Francophrenia' A Fascinating Doc/Fiction Profile Of James Franco As James Franco

  • By Brandon Harris
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  • February 10, 2012 4:00 PM
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  • 2 Comments
James Franco's ongoing experimentation with the limits of his own celebrity are like little else popular culture has produced of late. While his hijinks within academia and beyond are well documented (he's working on a Film MFA at NYU and an English PhD from Yale, while being a movie star, reediting My Own Private Idaho, writing essays for N+1 and occasionally doing some performance art with Laurel Nakadate), they come to a startling head in his Francophrenia (or: Don't Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby is), a daringly odd ball collaboration with lauded documentarian Ian Olds, who's The Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi was a hit in Rotterdam in 2009.

Review: 'This Means War' Shoots Blanks As Both An Action Outing & A Goofy Rom-Com

  • By William Goss
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  • February 10, 2012 10:05 AM
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  • 6 Comments
“The best product always wins,” declares Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) early on in McG’s "This Means War," brusquely establishing her approach to professional conduct – she’s a product tester in some candy-colored SoCal workplace – and romantic relationships alike. The sentiment also sets the bar much too high for the movie itself, as the action-comedy proceeds to deliver a sporadically amusing rivalry between two government agents for Lauren’s incredibly indecisive affections in between action sequences that reek of Fox’s notorious post-production meddling.

Review: Woody Harrelson Stands Tall Amidst Crumbling LAPD In Riveting 'Rampart'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 9, 2012 6:14 PM
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  • 4 Comments
"Everything you learned at the Academy is bullshit." That's the sage bit of wisdom Date Rape Dave (Woody Harrelson, and we'll get to his cop moniker in a moment) gives a new trainee in the opening frames of Oren Moverman's "Rampart," a searing and riveting look at a crooked cop's decay amidst the crumbling LAPD at the turn of the millennium.

Review: Greta Gerwig Is Unleashed, For Better And Worse, In 'The Dish & The Spoon'

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • February 9, 2012 5:05 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Whether you like it or not, we're going for a ride with Greta Gerwig. Opening with a perspective from the backseat, we see mostly the road ahead through the windshield, an endless dark tunnel with minimal traffic. A cellphone yelps for the driver's attention, to which the actress responds by tossing it out of the window -- obviously something is off, and at that point it becomes apparent (through a single, carefully framed shot in which we can see the unlit face in the rearview) that the woman is sobbing profusely. Rose (Gerwig) is not having a good day.

Review: Oscar Contender 'In Darkness' A Refreshing & Complex Tale Of Survival During The Holocaust

  • By Alison Willmore
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  • February 9, 2012 1:59 PM
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  • 0 Comments
In her director's statement for "In Darkness," one of this year's Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film, Agnieszka Holland writes of representations of the Holocaust in literature and cinema that, "One may ask if everything has now been said on this subject. But in my opinion the main mystery hasn't yet been resolved, or even fully explored." The feeling she's facing may be less that everything that can be said has been said about the 20th century's greatest atrocity, and more that people feel like they've already heard it all. To read about the true story on which "In Darkness" is based is to have your mind skip ahead and (probably correctly) fill in many of the details: Leopold Socha, a sewer worker and thief in Nazi-occupied Lvov, hides a group of Jews in the tunnels after the ghetto is liquidated, first for money and later just out of a desire to keep them alive. They survive underground for 14 months as the war rages on above them, as Socha risks his safety and that of his family to keep bringing them supplies.

Review: 'The Vow' Is For People Who Like To Get Teddy Bears On Valentine's Day

  • By Kimber Myers
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  • February 9, 2012 11:55 AM
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  • 5 Comments
The things that got us verklempt in the last week include the latest episode of “Downton Abbey” and the “Halftime in America” Chrysler ad with Clint Eastwood. Clearly, it doesn’t take much, but noticeably absent from that list is the would-be weepy “The Vow,” starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. We even came prepared for tears, Boy Scout-style, with tissues in our pockets, but they’re still there, waiting to make a linty mess out of our laundry. The film isn’t as bad as what it looks like--the Chinatown knockoff equivalent of a Nicholas Sparks movie--but that doesn’t mean that those outside the target audience won’t find it a painful experience.

Review: Flavorless 'Journey 2: The Mysterious Island' Isn't Even An Admirable Folly

  • By Simon Abrams
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  • February 8, 2012 6:23 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Had its filmmakers not hedged all over their creative bets, "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" might have at least been an admirable folly. Its creators' many attempts to pander to the lowest common denominator and attract as many potential viewers as possible has made 'Journey 2' look like it was assembled by a creatively challenged brain trust.

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