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Review: 'Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes' Monkeys Around, Showcases Action Over Nuance

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • August 4, 2011 2:19 AM
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  • 3 Comments
When blockbuster films deal with conflict that poses a global threat, the question hangs over them: why is humanity worth saving? It’s the drug-film conundrum: 95 minutes of injections and hard-living make a stronger impression than the therapy and lessons of the remaining 10. Why bother presenting a human population worthy of life, love and discovery when the audience and filmmakers can take more pleasure in annihilating them?

Fantasia '11 Review: 'Kidnapped' Starts Smart, But Ends As A Sleazy & Cheap Exploitation Flick

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 3, 2011 10:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The single setting thriller is a tough trick to overcome as a director, as it constrains nearly every aspect of a production making it all the more difficult to elevate the film from its static surroundings. Last year saw a spate of single-setting flicks hit theaters, and while Danny Boyle's "127 Hours" and J Blakeson's underrated "The Disappearance Of Alice Creed" showed what inventive filmmaking and a smart screenplay can do in opening up the narrative in compelling ways, the Ryan Reynolds-led "Buried" was an example of what happens with a director can't get past the basic conceit of the picture. Which brings us to "Kidnapped," the first film in eight years from director Miguel Ángel Vivas and one that came to Montreal riding some decent buzz including Best Horror and Director prizes at last year's Fantastic Fest. We don't get the hype.

Point Counter-Point Review: 'The Change-Up' Is Gross-Out Unfunny Or Messy But With Amusing Laughs

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 3, 2011 4:48 AM
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  • 3 Comments
“The Change-Up” is nothing if not honest. Before the title card has even popped up on screen, Jason Bateman, playing a stressed out husband, father, and (pivotally) lawyer, gets poop sprayed onto his face and, seconds later, into his mouth. It’s a very gross gag very early on and sets the stage for what might be, in the summer of raunchy comedies, the very raunchiest of them all. The problems arise, later on, though, when the truly outrageous stuff uneasily mingles with more earthbound relationship issues and the film winds up being a tepid mixture of both.

Review: 'Bellflower' A Burnt-Out, Bloody, Brave Debut

  • By Mark Zhuravsky
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  • August 2, 2011 5:06 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Fresh from a warm reception at Sundance, Evan Glodell’s “Bellflower” arrives as a turbo charged indictment of male adolescent fantasy and a biting critique of misplaced machismo. A burnt-out, bloody, brave debut, “Bellflower” rides out the fallout from a relationship to a stomach-churning conclusion…or does it? It’s a fine balancing act, as Glodell’s Woodrow charms the live wire Milly (Jessie Wiseman), loses her, and then rages – first impotently, then with the aid of a flamethrower and Medusa, a muscle car from hell.

Review: 'Perfect Age' A Loving Tribute To The Spirit of Rock ‘N’ Roll

  • By Mark Zhuravsky
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  • August 2, 2011 2:59 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Rock ‘n’ roll dramas don’t have it easy – they are permanently walking a tightrope above a long-way-down precipice. Make it all the way across, and you have "Almost Famous," slip and its 2001’s "Rockstar." Scott Rosenbaum’s "The Perfect Age Of Rock ‘N’ Roll" may occasionally stumble into lead-footed plotting, but the cast and an unexpectedly poignant conclusion rescue the film from drifting into obscurity.
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Fantasia '11 Review: 'Bangkok Knockout' Delivers Awesome Action In An Otherwise Incompetent Film

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 2, 2011 1:57 AM
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  • 1 Comment
In many ways "Bangkok Knockout" is the perfect film for Fantasia (or any other similarly themed genre fest), but let's be clear: the latest from "Ong Bak 2" and "Ong Bak 3" director Panna Rittikrai is terrible in almost every conceivable technical, narrative and aesthetic category. It's atrociously acted, with a derivative, absurd story shot with no real skill except in making sure that when two characters are speaking to each other, they are both in the frame. However, when it's time for the fights -- which are frequent, exciting and amazingly staged, Rittikrai is firmly in his element and the audience is in his hand. "Bangkok Knockout" is precisely the kind of film that needs to be watched with a vocal, appreciative Fantasia crowd cheering along with every astounding punch, flip and kick, if only to share the joy of the sequences and have somebody to ride out the tedium of everything else in between.

Review: ‘The Whistleblower’ Plays More Like A Whisper

  • By Catherine Scott
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  • August 1, 2011 11:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The following is a reprint of our review from IFFBoston.

MIFF '11 Reviews: 'A Separation,' 'Norwegian Wood' & 'Knuckle'

  • By Simon Dang
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  • August 1, 2011 10:28 AM
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  • 2 Comments
It's that time of year once again: the Melbourne International Film Festival has hit town and, as ever, we're right amongst it. For a change, we'll endeavour to focus on films not extensively covered on the site before, possibly with a general recap later on. One of the early highlights of the festival (which runs between July 21st and August 7th) so far has been Asghar Farhadi's "Nader & Simin, A Separation," which took home the Golden Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival.

Fantasia '11 Review: 'Blackthorn' Catches Up With A Retirement Ready Butch Cassidy

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 1, 2011 4:01 AM
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  • 1 Comment
For the most part -- aside from a few forgettable/unknown titles -- no one has really taken on the legend of Butch Cassidy since Robert Redford and Paul Newman went out guns blazing in George Roy Hill's 1969 instant classic. Though "Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid" lives on as a cinematic touchstone and cultural reference point, the legend has largely been kept off the big screens as the boots of Redford and Newman are large to fill indeed. So you have admire the stones of writer Miguel Barros, director Mateo Gil and actor Sam Shepard for breaking the forty year taboo and making what is essentially a sequel (though more like a continuation) to the story of the classic outlaws -- but with a twist. Well, everyone knows Butch and Sundance died in a shootout with Bolivian officials, but what this movie presupposes is...maybe they didn't?

Review: ‘The Death Of Andy Kaufman’ Is A Kaufman Fan's Labor Of Love

  • By Matthew Newlin
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  • July 31, 2011 3:47 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Even though he died over 25 years ago, Andy Kaufman can still ignite impassioned arguments over his brand of humor, his career and whether or not he faked his own death in 1984. Those who understood Kaufman will typically find themselves at a loss when trying to articulate exactly why his work was so important; you either get it or you don’t. Most people who do not understand Kaufman’s unique style of audience interaction vilify him as untalented or a hack.
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