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Cannes Review: 'The We & The I' Is A Testing, Patronizing Let-Down From Michel Gondry

  • By James Rocchi
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  • May 17, 2012 7:41 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Like some Gallic version of Tim Burton, Michel Gondry's initial promise has given way to a series of films whose diminishing returns demonstrate that he's a talented visualist without the capacity for, or worse, any interest in, telling an actual story. Gondry's defenders will, of course, point to the excellent "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," but the passage of years has made it abundantly clear that the credit for that film is entirely screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's; Gondry may have gotten out of the way of that script, but that's hardly a reason to celebrate his skills or capablities, such as they are, beyond that. The messy "Be Kind, Rewind," the cutesy-creepy "The Science of Sleep," the noisome and needless "Green Hornet" ... Gondry's name above a title has gone from being a reason to seek a film to being a reason to shun it.

Cannes Review: Blood & Water Flow Freely In Jacques Audiard's Beautiful & Moving 'Rust & Bone'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 17, 2012 6:44 AM
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  • 11 Comments
What is it we do to survive? Who is it we love? Who is it we fight? What are the forces seen and unseen that push our lives in directions we could have never expected? These are the questions that Jacques Audiard tackles in his latest "Rust And Bone," a beautiful, moving story of two fractured lives that somehow, together, combine into a single (if unconventional) whole.

Cannes Review: Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom' Is A Tender Triumph Of Design, Decor & Rich Emotion

  • By James Rocchi
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  • May 16, 2012 9:45 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" seems like an odd choice to open the 65th Cannes Film Festival, with its deadpan Americanism, retro-set timeline and movie-star cast; at the same time, Anderson is clearly influenced by the New Wave, both cinematically and personally, he's a distinctive authorial voice as a director (which is the essence of auteur theory) and while his films are defined by near-silent moments of comedy and human frailty, there's also something mournful and wounded about them. "Moonrise Kingdom," like all of Anderson's films, is a very beautiful and funny movie about grief and sorrow, and the never-was 1965 the film takes place in is both a meticulously-crafted triumph of design and decor and an emotionally rich setting, full of objects you could almost reach out and touch and feelings, yearnings, that reach out to you.

Review: 'Something Ventured' A Dry & Repetitive Look At The Money Behind Some Of The Biggest Tech Firms In History

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 15, 2012 10:01 AM
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  • 0 Comments
From the outset, Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine's "Something Ventured" probably isn't something everybody will enjoy. A documentary about venture capitalists, you need to already have something of an interest about the money that has powered some of the greatest technological advancements of the past forty or fifty years. But even for those who are curious about the coin behind the creative minds, this slim documentary (that runs under 90 minutes) quickly falls into a repetitive, narrow minded rut.
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Review: Jean Claude Van Damme & Cung Le Pic 'Dragon Eyes' Features Impressive Action, Empty Story

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 14, 2012 12:01 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Hong, the lead character in “Dragon Eyes,” might as well be a Man Without A Name when he wanders into the small town of St. Jude. He seeks a second chance, an opportunity to atone for past violent misdeeds seen in fuzzy flashback. It doesn’t take long for the viewer to realize this means a lot of people are about to be kicked in the face. One of the marquee titles from After Dark Action -- the new action imprint from Dark Castle and After Dark -- “Dragon Eyes” at least delivers on this aspect.

Review: 'Norman Mailer: The American' Is A Cliffs Notes Look At The Life Of A Literary Icon

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 12, 2012 12:36 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Provocative, rebellious, a genius and an undeniable force on the American literary landscape, Norman Mailer was an author, social commentator, filmmaker and a personality whose outsized figure nearly eclipsed his two Pulitzer prizes. He had enough experiences and adventures for three lifetimes, and the job of trying to capture him in a documentary and uncover what made him tick is a monumental task. But Joseph Mantegna's (not the actor), less than 90 minute film "Norman Mailer: The American" barely scratches the surface, giving a superficial, fast-forward look at his life, with a focus more on the tawdry and salacious, than the influence and inspiration behind the writer that was equally celebrated and vilified throughout his career.
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Review: 'The Tortured' Might As Well Describe The Audience For Twisted Pictures' Latest

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 11, 2012 3:02 PM
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  • 1 Comment
For most viewers, there's no way to take a look at that Twisted Pictures logo and feel at ease. Sure, it's intimidating all on it's own -- dark lowercase lettering separated by barbed-wire, inky shadows. But it's an entirely different sort of fear that emerges from the house that James Wan built. The company piggybacked off three "Saw" films before it decided to expand into other hoary, blood-soaked horror cheapies, most of them in the direct-to-video realm. With "Saw" over, however, Twisted Pictures still has a few leftovers from the torture porn trend, and one is 2010's "The Tortured," currently, finally receiving a VOD release.
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Review: A Breezy, But Meandering 'A Bag Of Hammers' Is Only Half A Movie

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 11, 2012 11:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments
There are ample pleasures of the half-movie. Features of the half-film include a lack of b-plot, a meandering tone, haphazard scenes, and a barely feature-length runtime. The reasons why productions result in half-movies usually come from vastly re-written scripts, overrunning schedules and/or eclipsing an allotted budget, but they tend to fade away into obscurity. “A Bag Of Hammers,” which opens in theaters showing actual whole movies this Friday, features a few likable actors and a strong score from Johnny Flynn, and so it qualifies as a breezy diversion of sorts. But is it a movie?

Review: 'God Bless America' Looks Incendiary, But Is Actually A Self-Congratulatory One-Note Screed

  • By The Playlist
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  • May 11, 2012 10:04 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Former shrill-voiced comedian turned acidic writer/director/satirist Bobcat Goldthwait may just be one of the most simultaneously electric and frustrating indie filmmakers working today. When it comes to deliciously wicked and acerbic premises, there might not be a better conceptualist. A devilishly arch comedic mind, Goldthwait has thus far come up with three succulently mordant, often morally taboo narrative inventions: a girl who tries to repair her relationship after she reveals to her partner she's engaged in sexual acts with her dog ("Sleeping Dogs Lie"); a struggling and untalented author who parlays his son's fake suicide note into a writing career ("World's Greatest Dad") and his latest, "God bless America," a pitch black societal missive about a disenfranchised man and an all-too-willing and fed-up teenage girl who go on a cross-country killing spree aimed at the shallow, the insipid and the repellently vacuous.

Review: Sacha Baron Cohen's 'The Dictator' Rules With Comic Authority & Big Laughs

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 10, 2012 10:11 PM
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  • 13 Comments
At a first glance, Sacha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator" almost seems too easy. Another accent, another elaborate costume, more manscaping and this time with the softball target of despotic leaders -- it almost seemed as if the comic actor was pouring an ocean of fish into a tiny thimble and then pointing a comedy bazooka at it. And for the first fifteen to twenty minutes, "The Dictator" is kind of that obvious, and as a result, a bit uneven. But once the movie really finds its groove, Cohen's latest character creation easily stands up with his best work. Frequently laugh out loud funny, button pushing, and the rare comedy that actually gets more enjoyable as it goes on, "The Dictator" delivers the goods. All hail Admiral General Aladeen!

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