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Review: 'Carancho' Features The Car Crash As All-Purpose Metaphor

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • February 11, 2011 7:56 AM
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  • 2 Comments
If Pablo Trapero's "Carancho" is to be believed, and it is not a film without conviction, then Argentina is the car crash capital of the world. If not, it's fair to worry about certain drivers being behind the wheel -- 8000 Argentinians per year lose their life to an auto accident, so says the brief title cards in "Carancho," a stat that introduces us to the catalyst of what goes on in this film.

Review: 'Gnomeo And Juliet' And The Existential Plight Of The Lawn Gnome

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • February 11, 2011 3:10 AM
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  • 3 Comments
In the "Toy Story" movies, though credibility was strained, an effort was made to keep humanity in the dark about the existence of toys that move on their own. Because of the lack of actual damage done, and with a certain ambiguity towards their adventures, there was no need to question the actual existence of the toys as some sort of fluke in God's grand design.

Review: 'Cedar Rapids' Provides A Trickle Of Laughs Instead Of A Torrent

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 10, 2011 5:58 AM
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  • 2 Comments
On paper, "Cedar Rapids" sounds like a no brainer. The Frank Capra-esque premise is familiar: a small town man is sent off to the big city where he struggles to adjust to the fast pace and shifty morals of metropolitan life. And when you line up a stacked roster of talent that includes John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Sigourney Weaver, Alia Shawkat, Rob Corddry and Stephen Root, the movie should pretty much just write itself. Figuratively speaking, that is. But unfortunately, Miguel Arteta seems to have literally taken what was probably a great treatment and hoped that his actors and actresses could do the rest with unfortunately middling results.

Review: 'The Eagle' Marred By Humorless Melodrama & A Silly Bromance

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • February 10, 2011 5:27 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Helluva Chase Though...While mildly engaging initially, but soon marred by cliches, all-to-familiar and humorless swords and sandals tropes, a barrage of mixed accents (including puzzling Brooklyn ones), and the unintentional bromance comedy of two warring leads turned bffs by the end of the picture, Kevin Macdonald's "The Eagle" fails to deliver anything we haven't seen from the Roman soldiers/bros. on-the-run genre.

Review: 'Orgasm Inc.' Leads The Fight Against The Myth Of Female Sexual Dysfunction With Maturity

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • February 10, 2011 4:11 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Documentary filmmakers got a bone to pick nowadays, probably more than they ever have. Is it the lack of rough and tough journalists digging deep to reveal horrid truths involving corporations, government, and society? Or is it the ease that the digital age has brought us, allowing modern, pissed off man to obtain a half-decent camera sly enough to capture anything without seeming too suspicious? There's also the growing crop of outlets catered to the style (festivals, indie theater programs, internet streaming, etc.) plus the appealing excuse to document absolutely everything. Throw all these into a mixing bowl (along with a dash of ego for the director-as-a-host docs) and you've got your answer. Unfortunately even the best enlightening/exposé docs fail to hit the mainstream hard ("Food Inc." comes to mind), instead only pampering the holier-than-thou twits who can already recite all of the bullet-point facts included in the films. So what's the point? Hard to say, but frankly it's a bit defeating to make a rally-up flick and have it just give the faux-activists a topic to post on their Facebook walls for a fortnight. Thankfully there's more than a handful that do a little bit more, turning accepted opinion ass-up and starting a conversation everyone needs partake in. Elizabeth Canner's debut feature does just that - "Orgasm Inc." delves into the "disease" Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD), aiming the camera at the people (and pharmaceutical companies) making top dollar telling women they're abnormal.

Sundance '11 Review Roundup: 'Circumstance,' 'Another Happy Day,' 'Corman's World' & 'Another Earth'

  • By Cory Everett
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  • February 4, 2011 3:22 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The Sundance Film Festival is a thrilling, exhausting, surprising experience. Hundreds of films play, many for the first time, from 8:30am until midnight every day. Whether you go for the full 10 days or just a portion of it, you’re bound to come back with at least a handful of films you’ll be talking about for the rest of the year. But with SXSW soon approaching and Sundance ‘11 firmly in the rear view, we thought it best to wrap up our Sundance coverage with some brief thoughts on the other films we saw at the festival this year.

Review: 'Sanctum' Proves That Three Dimensions Plus One Cave Equals Zero Imagination

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • February 3, 2011 5:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments
An old saying that we just made up goes like this: make a movie about a topic that no one has really addressed and your film automatically becomes an interesting novelty simply by existing. It's why "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" will forever be considered the definitive dodgeball movie, but "Kansas City Bomber" is not the definitive roller derby movie considering "Whip It" came a couple of decades later, despite that film being inferior to "Kansas City Bomber." Of course, we can't find a whole lot of super realistic cave-diving movies, so congratulations, "Sanctum," you're a cinematic footnote by default.

Sundance ‘11 Review: ‘The Details’ Is An Inconsistent But Entertaining Dark Comedy

  • By Cory Everett
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  • February 3, 2011 4:15 AM
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  • 1 Comment
“The Details” is one of those dark comedies where everything that can go wrong does. The sophomore film from Jacob Aaron Estes, whose previous film “Mean Creek” won the John Cassavetes Award at Sundance in 2004, was the biggest sale of this year's festival being bought by The Weinstein Company for $8 million. Of the dozen movies this writer saw while he was at the fest, it was one of the more accessible, but didn’t exactly ring of “Little Miss Sunshine”-like success either. The film stars Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Banks as Jeff and Nealy Lang, young parents who have hit a rough patch in their marriage. Jeff is a doctor, Nealy is an interior decorator and while it’s probably neither’s fault, the passion has clearly gone out of their relationship, the image of the happy suburban couple is immediately shattered by a screaming match between the couple during the opening credits.

Review: 'Cold Weather' A Winning Micro-Indie Mystery

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • February 3, 2011 3:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Mystery is a tricky genre to work in. Although there's an indisputable amount of excitement involved as the protagonist and audience alike piece together the puzzle, once all is solved every associated feeling fizzles, leaving little impact and less to chew on post-viewing. Some directors have worked tirelessly to avoid this sentiment, with examples such as "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and "Cache" playing by some rules but ultimately turning into a different beast at the end of the day. Others, like "Brick," used talky-noir conventions and dropped them in a high school atmosphere. The result was a humorous and refreshing experience, maybe a little silly at times but enjoyable and focused nonetheless. Aaron Katz's "Cold Weather," a masterful combination of micro-indie sensibilities and missing-person mysteries, finds its success by constructing a legitimately tense plot and employing a loose aesthetic that allows atmosphere and charm to sometimes take precedent.

Sundance ‘11 Review: ‘Terri’ Is Another Enjoyable But Slight Coming-Of-Age Indie

  • By Cory Everett
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  • February 2, 2011 3:50 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Coming of age stories are as popular at Sundance as superhero films are at the multiplex, and though “Terri” doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, it does have its charms. Terri (newcomer Jacob Wysocki) is an outsider, a lonely overweight teen who lives in a small town and takes care of his Uncle James (Creed Bratton from “The Office”) who is suffering from some form of dementia. After Uncle James orders him to put mousetraps in the attic, he develops an unexpected fondness for killing mice and it becomes his daily joy. Outside of this private pleasure, Terri has completely given up on himself, resorting to wearing his pajamas to school because they’re comfortable. Anyone in high school willing to put a target like that on their back implies that things probably can’t get any worse. After an outburst in class, following some routine bullying, he’s sent to see the Vice Principal, Mr. Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly) who decides in order to help Terri that they should meet weekly to discuss what’s going on in his life.

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