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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekend Preview: 'Frances Ha' Delights, 'Star Trek' Relentlessly Entertains, 'Pieta' a Bloody Must-See

Moviegoing prospects looks good this weekend, as J.J. Abrams' well-reviewed "Star Trek Into Darkness" continues its opening weekend after a Wednesday debut, and a slew of appealing limited release titles hit screens. One of these is Noah Baumbach's critical darling "Frances Ha," starring likable muse Greta Gerwig in a drifting, French New Wave Lite tale of twentysomething ennui and platonic breakups.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 17, 2013 1:45 PM
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Cannes Virgin Festival Diary 1: From 'Gatsby' to 'Heli' and Back

The first indication that things at Cannes weren’t going to be quite as I imagined them to be – red carpet and champagne, rinse and repeat – was the crush trying to get on the express bus from the Nice airport. The bus was 20 minutes late in arriving from Cannes, and there was a lot of jockeying going on, which is a nice way of saying butting in line, except there were no real lines, not to mention not enough seats. As the harried driver pulled away a woman in the back began yelling for him to stop, exclaiming, “You didn’t take my husband or my bags. I need both.” The driver stopped and the woman exited to general laughter.
  • By Tom Christie
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  • May 16, 2013 8:56 PM
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  • 5 Comments

Is There a Connection Between Baumbach's 'Frances Ha' and Bujalski's 'Funny Ha Ha'?

It seems so obvious. “Frances Ha.” “Funny Ha Ha.” Coincidence? We think not. But wait… One is about an awkward 20-something delaying adulthood, while her romantic planets fail to get in line. The other is ... well, yeah, pretty much about the same thing. Except that one rocketed to obscurity in 2002, and the other seems poised, based on reviewers more or less genuflecting since its U.S. premiere at Telluride last fall, to become an indie hit of major (albeit relative) proportions.
  • By John Anderson
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  • May 15, 2013 1:48 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Now and Then: In Two 'Steel Magnolias,' the Times Are Not A-Changin'

The first thing one notices about "Steel Magnolias" (Herbert Ross, 1989) is the hair. Truvy's Beauty Shop overflows with tight-rolled pastel curlers and foot-high teases, held in place by enough hairspray to commit arson -- a style so far out of fashion it seems historical, as rococo as Marie Antoinette's bedsheets.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • May 14, 2013 3:07 PM
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Review: 'Aftershock,' Starring a Nebbish Eli Roth, Plays with Religious Cliches While the Blood Spurts

When he hasn’t been writing directing or producing some of the more notorious entries in the horror/torture porn catalogue (like “Cabin Fever,” “Hostel,” and the two “Last Exorcisms”) Eli Roth has worked on his parallel career as screen star -- perhaps most notably as the Bear Jew, the baseball bat-wielding, Nazi-dispatching, one-man-Jewish-revenge-fantasy of Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.”
  • By John Anderson
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  • May 10, 2013 2:42 PM
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Weekend Preview: Sarah Polley's Must-See Doc 'Stories We Tell,' Baz Luhrmann's Showy but Sagging 'Great Gatsby'

"Stories We Tell"
Canadian writer-director-actress Sarah Polley's brilliant documentary on her enigmatic family history, "Stories We Tell," leads the pack of a slew of top-reviewed limited releases this weekend. Ben Wheatley's "Sightseers," the follow-up to frightfest "Kill List," also hits theaters and VOD, along with Irish director Lenny Abrahamson's coming-of-age drama and fest favorite "What Richard Did," and Maiken Bird's fest-circuit sports biodoc "Venus and Serena."
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 10, 2013 2:08 PM
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Review Roundup: 'The Great Gatsby' A Swooning But Excessive Piece of Cinema (TRAILER)

The reviews are in for Baz Luhrmann's epically mounted display of bacchanalia "The Great Gatsby," which opens in the US on Friday before premiering again at Cannes on May 15. As expected, the film is incredibly divisive.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • May 6, 2013 1:07 PM
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  • 3 Comments

REVIEW: Luhrmann's 'The Great Gatsby' Wows with Audacious 3-D Visuals, Sags Dramatically

"The Great Gatsby" is a guilty pleasure, a swirling, audacious piece of cinema --in 3-D!--that could prove a crowdpleaser for young audiences. Set during the Roaring Twenties, the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel has been a fave of high school and college kids for decades. It plays young, partly because it's about young people in love--or their idea of love, which judging from this latest take on the story, makes people incredibly stupid.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 6, 2013 1:04 AM
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  • 7 Comments

Docs – Life After Tribeca? These Titles Deserve It

A few good docs always emerge from Tribeca. Yet emerging from any film festival with strong reviews and a distribution deal doesn’t mean that anyone will see the film.
  • By David D'Arcy
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  • May 5, 2013 6:18 AM
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Tribeca Review: Experimental Shorts Series 'Let There Be Light' Turns the Simple Into the Intense

Thirteen experimental short films screened in the "Let There Be Light: The Cycles of Life" series at the Tribeca Film Festival. Each of the films was loosely connected by the "profound artistic influence of light" in film. Some of the films highlighted the power of sunlight, flickering through trees or dousing harvests. Others took inspiration from artificial light sources or the moon's glow. Each of them relied on relatively simple imagery and narration in order to tap into something mythic and intense.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • May 4, 2013 4:21 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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