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Thompson on Hollywood

Review: Noah Baumbach's 'Frances Ha,' Starring Muse Greta Gerwig (VIDEO)

Noah Baumbach's "Frances Ha" (May 17) follows a young woman drifting through the generous definition of "coming of age" that has become en vogue with the advent of Mumblecore and American indie films over the past decade. Frances Halliday (Greta Gerwig, who co-wrote the film and also starred in Baumbach's "Greenberg") is the questionably tender age of 27, facing the woes of Brooklyn rent, a would-be career in modern dance that has stalled mid-pirouette and a best friend who is slowly breaking up with her.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 13, 2013 12:58 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Weekend Preview: Good 'Side Effects,' 'Identity Thief' Steals Your Time, Praise for Foreign 'Lore' and 'Caesar Must Die'

Steven Soderbergh's pharma-thriller "Side Effects" hits theaters this weekend, starring Rooney Mara as a woman suffering a deleterious breakdown after her husband's release from prison. Critics are praising Soderbergh's film, his last big-screen entry before a self-imposed retirement from cinema. In limited release, the Taviani brothers' Italian Oscar entry, "Caesar Must Die," is a dreamlike docudrama on inmates at Rome's maximum-security Rebibbia prison.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 8, 2013 1:03 PM
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Berlinale Review: Wong Kar Wai's Opener 'The Grandmaster' and Press Conference

Wong Kar Wai kicked off the 63rd Berlinale today in style with the international premiere of his much anticipated kung-fu period drama "The Grandmaster," which was promptly picked up by the Weinstein Company. Based on the life of Ip Man, master of the Wing Chun kung-fu style and teacher of Bruce Lee, the film begins in the southern Chinese city of Foshun in 1936, when Ip (played with quiet dignity by Tony Leung) is 40 and living happily off of family wealth and with his own young family; it ends some 20 years later in Hong Kong, when things are very different, for both China and for Ip.
  • By Tom Christie
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  • February 7, 2013 4:21 PM
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Review: In Tavianis' Dreamy, Meta Docudrama 'Caesar Must Die,' All the Prison's a Stage

Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s docudrama “Caesar Must Die,” Italy's Oscar entry that runs February 6-19 at Film Forum, takes place at Rome’s maximum-security Rebibbia Prison, and stars the facility’s actual inmates. Many of the men are serving life sentences, with a variety of high crimes on their records: drug trafficking, Cammora and Mafia affiliation, and murder.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 6, 2013 12:01 PM
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Now and Then: 'Side by Side,' I'll Still Take Film Over Digital

Smart, wide-ranging, and informative, "Side by Side" may be a postcard from the future of movies, but it's still intoxicated by the past. Its dreamiest moment comes at the outset, a montage of clips from the first century of cinema: Eadweard Muybridge's horses to "Do the Right Thing."
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • February 5, 2013 1:29 PM
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Campion Embraces TV Over Film with Moodily Misogynistic 'Top of the Lake,' Review Roundup

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Jane Campion marks yet another first-rate filmmaker ("The Piano") who when faced with an uphill climb to get such idiosyncratic smart-films as "Bright Star" financed and released, has transitioned to long-form television. It's a sheer delight to see her stretch out in a six-hour mini-series format with "Top of the Lake" (Sundance Channel, March 18), a gorgeous mystery thriller set in the New Zealand vacation country where Campion spent her summers growing up.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 1, 2013 4:28 PM
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Weekend Preview: Documentaries 'Sound City' and 'Koch' Best Bets, 'Warm Bodies' a Lively YA Installment

A number of documentaries hit the limited release circuit this weekend, including Neil Barsky's eerily timely "Koch," a clear-eyed portrait of the former NY mayor who just today passed away at the age of 88, and Dave Grohl's "Sound City," with interviews from a panoply of big names from rock history.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 1, 2013 2:16 PM
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Sundance: 'It Felt Like Love' Review and Roundup

One of the much-vaunted Sundance slate of movies directed by women, "It Felt Like Love" marks yet another micro-budget hand-held look at an adolescent's coming of age. This one is well-shot in HD by director Eliza Hittman, a Cal Arts grad making her feature debut after screening her short "Untitled" at Sundance, with help from D.P. Sean Porter and rookie teen actress Gina Piersanti, who has a future.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 31, 2013 3:47 PM
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Oscar Watch: West Bank Man with '5 Broken Cameras' UPDATED

"I film to heal," says Emad Burnat, a Palestinian filmmaker and activist living in the West Bank, towards the end of "5 Broken Cameras," the disturbing and intricately layered documentary composed predominantly of Burnat's footage, which he crafted into a film along with Israeli director Guy Davidi. To forget, Burnat says, is to allow the wounds to fester in some hidden place; it is memory—and documentation—that are necessary to experience true recovery.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • January 31, 2013 2:52 PM
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'Side Effects': Soderbergh Q & A and Review Roundup [VIDEO]

As "Side Effects" co-stars Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones were no-shows at Wednesday night’s group Q & A for the twisty new Steven Soderbergh thriller "Side Effects" (February 7), the filmmaker himself was the star of the night. Soderbergh charmed his post-screening audience at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater as thoroughly as he did the entire internet earlier this week in his conversation with Mary Kate Schilling for Vulture.
  • By Sheerly Avni
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  • January 31, 2013 1:11 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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