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LFF Review: Richard Dormer Shines In Touching & Uplifting Punk Rock Terri Hooley Biopic 'Good Vibrations'

  • By Joe Cunningham
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  • October 20, 2012 3:34 PM
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We’re introduced to Terry Hooley (Richard Dormer) when he’s just five years old, playing in the front garden of his Belfast home. When one of the other children he has been arguing with slingshots a stone at his face, Terry becomes Terri – with one i.

LFF Review: Rolling Stones Doc 'Crossfire Hurricane' Is Little More Than A Familiar Nostalgia Trip

  • By Joe Cunningham
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  • October 19, 2012 1:43 PM
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There’s been the little-seen “Charlie Is My Darling” and “Cocksucker Blues,” Jean-Luc Godard’s “Sympathy for the Devil,” 1970’s Altamont-focused “Gimme Shelter,” Julien Temple’s “Stones at the Max” and Martin Scorsese’s “Shine a Light,” and that’s just scratching the surface when it comes to documentaries that have put “the world’s greatest rock and roll band,” The Rolling Stones, up on the big screen. For a band who are celebrating their 50th anniversary perhaps that’s to be expected, but it leaves "Crossfire Hurricane" (the official celebration of said anniversary) with the onerous task of having to tell a story that has been well documented many times before.

Review: 'Paranormal Activity 4' Makes A Compelling Argument For The Series' Swift Cancellation

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 19, 2012 9:49 AM
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  • 4 Comments
A new "Paranormal Activity" movie coming out has now become a season tradition, like bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins, or wearing itchy sweaters. The first "Paranormal Activity" was a no budget chiller made in 2007 but not released theatrically until 2009, almost as an afterthought, even though, the story goes, it seriously spooked Steven Spielberg (it was originally acquired by DreamWorks and Paramount as remake fodder). Since then we've had a new sequel every year, all built around the same found footage scenario and less-is-more aesthetic – who needs buckets of blood when you have creaky footsteps, mysteriously opening doors, and blurry shadows? It's had a surprisingly good run, possibly peaking with last year's '80s-set "Paranormal Activity 3," but all good things must come to an end, and "Paranormal Activity 4" is listless and dreadful and boring, an almost painfully inert and superficial ghost story that lacks specificity or scares. Time to turn the camera off, guys.

Review: 'Greystone Park' Yet Another Found Footage Piece of Junk

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 18, 2012 8:02 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Acclaimed filmmaker Oliver Stone famously began his career directing schlock like “The Hand” and having associations with the likes of Lloyd Kaufman. It seems only fitting that son Sean Stone would follow a similar path into filmmaking. But while yesterday’s up-and-comers make their bones in skeevy genre filmmaking, today’s film school brats are a bit more formalistic, emerging out of the directing womb with autocritical theories and refuting of accepted tropes. When James Cameron was making “Piranha 2,” the attempt was to build a new wheel. With Sean Stone, the attempt is to subtly tweak it. So forgive expectations for being a bit higher for the progeny of the man behind “JFK” with new thriller "Greystone Park."

Review: 'Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes' Offers Some Decent Scares But Doesn't Follow Through

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 18, 2012 6:01 PM
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  • 1 Comment
This weekend "Paranormal Activity 4" opens, the latest in the phenomenally successful found-footage series about ghosts who primarily concern themselves with opening closet doors very slowly. But there's another found footage opus opening on Friday, one with more monstrous concerns. "Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes," is, for most of its running time at least, a nifty little horror movie about a group of seriously unlikable filmmakers who go into northern California's Lost Coast, a hotbed for Bigfoot sightings, to investigate claims that a man has an intact Sasquatch body. The problem is that, when it should really bring it, "Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes" drops the ball, resulting in a finale more enraging than terrifying.
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Review: 'Ethel' Is A Powerful Personal Portrait Of Love & Liberalism

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 18, 2012 5:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Few American dynasties hold the same mystique as the Kennedy clan. Defined largely by professional triumph and personal heartache, the Kennedys are the closest thing the United States has to royalty, and as the years go by, the amount of historical miscellanea that is produced or unearthed about the family seems to grow exponentially. Even as the kings and queens of the dynasty grow old and die, which is a far less tragic exit than many members of the family, our nation's collective fascination deepens and intensifies. One of the latest pieces about the Kennedy empire is "Ethel," a film by Rory Kennedy, about her mother, Ethel Kennedy, wife of slain senator and presidential nominee Robert F. Kennedy.

Review: Life & Lust Find A Way In Well-Performed But Standard-Issue 'The Sessions'

  • By James Rocchi
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  • October 18, 2012 3:56 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Inspired by the life and writings of Mark O'Brien -- a polio-stricken but determined journalist and poet confined to an iron lung since age six -- "The Sessions" offers a less comprehensive look at O'Brien's life than Jessica Yu's excellent documentary "Breathing Lessons," but instead focuses on a small sliver of his life and living. In 1988, O'Brien, then 38, made a decision to explore his own sexuality -- despite his paralysis -- in part inspired by his research into a story on sex and disability. Unsure about his ability to forge a relationship -- and concerned, as he puts it to his Catholic Priest and confessor, that he's "approaching his use-by date," O'Brien looks into hiring a sex surrogate. The surrogate, Cheryl Cohen Greene, explains that she's not a prostitute, but a therapist -- she and Mark will have six sessions, and then terminate their relationship. It sounds complex. It gets more so.

LFF Review: Stephen Graham & Mark Strong Impress In Generic But Powerful Cop Thriller 'Blood'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 18, 2012 3:03 PM
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The history of the British police movie is not a glorious one. Perhaps it's because (for the most part) UK coppers aren't allowed to carry firearms, which somewhat reduces the capacity for squib-happy action sequences. Or maybe it's the lack of glamorous locations for said shootouts, which can hardly compete with Manhattan or L.A. But after Edgar Wright imported the cop movie to rural Britain with "Hot Fuzz," we've seen a string of more straight-faced takes on the genre from the UK, including the Jason Statham vehicle "Blitz," '70s remake "The Sweeney," and the upcoming "Welcome To The Punch."

Review: 'Holy Motors' Is Beautiful Madness, Rabid And Resplendent

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 18, 2012 10:04 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Limousine movie sets. Raging erections. The theme from “Godzilla.” Eva Mendes’ armpits. Cross-dressing. Motion-capture cunnilingus. Mystical garages. Monkey marriages. Accordions. Disappointed fathers. Kylie Minogue. Murderous dopplegangers. Comedy. Tragedy. “Holy Motors.”

Review: 'Tai Chi Zero' An Uneven, But Playful & Enjoyable Piece Of Kung Fu Pop Art

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 17, 2012 9:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Just as the nation as a whole sneaks up on surpassing the United States of America as the world’s foremost superpower (if it hasn’t already), China has become more and more important to the movie world in the last few years. Grosses for the relatively few American movies released there are huge (“The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” both just opened to big numbers), helping blockbusters make coin overseas even if they tank at home, while Chinese financiers are getting more and more involved in production of movies (as in “Looper” or “Iron Man 3,” both partially produced by Chinese companies, and featuring scenes set in the nation). And now, is China starting to beat Hollywood at its own blockbuster game?

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