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Karlovy Vary Film Fest Review Roundup: 'Shameless,' 'Hay Road' & 'Nos Vemos Papa'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 15, 2012 11:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
"Shameless" This year at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, a mini-trend emerged in the form of incest movies, with films that dealt, overtly or tacitly, with the taboo liberally dotting the programme. “Shameless” (“Bez Wstydu”), the debut feature from young Polish filmmaker Filip Marczewski, is, as the title suggests, certainly on the overt end of the spectrum as regards to putting an intra-sibling affair front and center of the story. But while there is much to admire, especially for a novice filmmaker, here the film would have benefitted from spending less time on the splashy, logline-grabbing brother/sister romance, and a little more on the supporting cast and subplots that actually turn out to be a great deal more intriguing.

Karlovy Vary Film Fest Review: Leila Hatami Shines In Wry, Tragicomic 'The Last Step'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 14, 2012 12:12 PM
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  • 3 Comments
If last year’s fantastic “A Separation” put Leila Hatami on everyone’s World Cinema Movie Star radar (you’ve got one of those, right?), then “The Last Step” ("Pele Akher"), which premiered at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and is directed by her husband, Ali Mosaffa, may be the film that consolidates her position. But while it has already deservedly scooped her the Best Actress award in Karlovy Vary, we shouldn’t let her shimmering but grounded portrayal outshine the film itself. Also the recipient of the International Critics' Prize, the movie engrosses from beginning to end as an inventive, playful, semi-tragic drama of marriage, jealousy, love, death and filmmaking in modern-day Tehran.

Review: Michael Winterbottom's 'Trishna' Is Picturesque, But Entirely Lacking In Passion

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 12, 2012 2:02 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Over his career, Michael Winterbottom has hopped frequently from genre to genre, from subject matter to subject matter, rarely covering the same territory twice. But one of the few things he has returned to is the work of Thomas Hardy. The late 19th century British author has so far inspired two of the director's films: 1995's "Jude," an adaptation of "Jude the Obscure" with Kate Winslet, and "The Claim," a version of "The Mayor of Casterbridge" moved to a Californian mountain Western setting.

Review: Daniel Espinosa's 'Easy Money' An Absorbing Crime Tale With Electricity Pumping Through Its Veins

  • By The Playlist
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  • July 12, 2012 12:56 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Before we even get into a review of the twisty Swedish thriller, "Snabba Cash," retitled "Easy Money" for North American audiences by The Weinstein Company who has picked it up for U.S. release, one has to to first note its trajectory.

Comic-Con '12 Review: 'Dredd' A Visually Strong, Engaging But Ultimately Empty Cinematic Experience

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • July 12, 2012 8:27 AM
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  • 18 Comments
Remakes and reboots always seem to demand comparisons to their predecessors, but “Dredd” evokes a slightly different relationship: What Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead” is to George Romero’s original, Pete Travis’ film is to, no, not Danny Cannon’s 1995 film “Judge Dredd,” but Paul Verhoeven’s “Robocop.” In both cases, gifted visual stylists took fertile, socially-conscious subject matter, pared out the cultural commentary, and left behind an engaging, if empty, cinematic experience.

Review: 'Drunkboat' Features A Compelling One-Two Acting Punch In A Weightless Stagebound Adaptation

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 11, 2012 6:59 PM
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  • 1 Comment
At the start of “Drunkboat,” Mort Gleason (John Malkovich) is abandoned at the bottom of a bottle, reduced to a near-catatonic stupor. He’s a forty-something drunken layabout who’ll either be seen wearing a mop on his bald pate for laughs, or lying on the floor passed out as the mop wears him. To say he has no memory of his family is to give him too much credit – the randomly erudite screwup is more often staring quizzically at his friends and enemies as if his reaction time was Cro-Magnon.

Karlovy Vary Film Fest Review: Based On Real Events, 'Piazza Fontana: The Italian Conspiracy' Is A Stylish, Densely Plotted Treat

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 11, 2012 5:59 PM
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  • 0 Comments
A deserving winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, “Piazza Fontana: The Italian Conspiracy (Romanzo di una strage)” is a film so skilfully and stylishly put together, that so easily slots into the familiar "procedural" genre, that it almost left this festival attendee feeling guilty, on two counts. Firstly, in amongst the less accessible, though often equally worthy fare that made up a great deal of the programme, the film was remarkable for its commerciality. And by that we don’t mean to damn with faint praise, simply to state that it’s the kind of film that hardly seems to need festival exposure in order to find its audience.

Review: 'The Imposter' A Remarkable & Entertaining Tale About The Illusion Of Truth

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • July 11, 2012 5:04 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It isn’t often that audiences will feel inclined to believe the word of a proven liar over a family who suffered as a result of his dishonesty, but “The Imposter” achieves that unusual feat. A documentary about a family stricken with tragedy that unwittingly takes in a con artist, director Bart Layton tells an almost too-amazing-to-be-true story that creates a truth, establishes sympathies, and then razes everything we think we know. A remarkable, entertaining and even sometimes shocking film, “The Imposter” utilizes reenactments and first-person interview footage to create a vivid account of a story whose actual details seem impossible to parse out from an entanglement of the participants’ recollections, feelings and most unexpectedly of all, their hopes about what actually happened.

Review: 'Red Lights' Invites You To Stop, Look & Listen

  • By William Goss
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  • July 11, 2012 4:04 PM
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  • 1 Comment
What you see, you can’t believe. What you can’t understand, though, can ultimately be explained. This is the modus operandi for Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and assistant Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy), parapsychologists primarily interested in debunking supernatural phenomena. “When I see hoof prints,” she says, “I think of horses, not unicorns.” They work out of the Scientific Paranormal Research Center, a budget-strained department of an anonymous university, luring in curious students like Sally (Elizabeth Olsen) and Ben (Craig Roberts) while butting heads with the well-supported likes of Dr. Paul Shackleton (Toby Jones).

Review: 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' Is Pleasurably Rudderless

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 11, 2012 3:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
The "Ice Age" franchise is like the "Shrek" series of Blue Sky Studios (a kind of mini-Pixar based in suburban Connecticut) – a new entry comes out every couple of years, usually to diminishing returns (creatively) but tons of box office. The last one, 2009's deliriously dull "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," wasn't a movie as much as it was a series of loosely connected gags, disparate short films stitched together to form a barely feature-length product…and yet it's the fourth highest grossing animated film of all time. Woof.

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