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Thompson on Hollywood

Sundance Review and Roundup: 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'

Writer-director David Lowery has been putting in his 10,000 hours over the past few years, working as an editor and cinematographer for hire on many micro-indie projects, as part of the growing multi-tasking barter indie culture. SXSW has championed the Texas filmmaker, playing his shorts and features; "Saint Nick" showed promise on a meager $6000 budget. His 2011 Sundance short "Pioneer" was a ramp-up to this feature film. Now he has collected all his chits and ideas in one exquisitely crafted neo-noir western, "Ain't Them Bodies Saints." The title was a misreading of an old American folk song; Lowery felt that it captured the right "classical, regional" feel, he said at the Saturday premiere press conference.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 21, 2013 6:41 PM
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Sundance Review and Roundup: Park Chan-Wook's Creepy 'Stoker'

There's a risk every time a noted foreign filmmaker takes a stab at an English-language movie. Clearly, Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook ("Old Boy") knows his Hollywood history: he admits that Alfred Hitchcock not only inspired him to become a filmmaker but that "Psycho," "Shadow of a Doubt," and "The Trouble With Harry" creeped into archetypal thriller "Stoker," which is based on actor-writer Wentworth Miller's script.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 21, 2013 6:11 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Sundance Sex in Cinema: Gordon-Levitt's 'Jon Don's Addiction,' Winterbottom's 'The Look of Love'

Michael Winterbottom's "The Look of Love" is hardly the most daring of the sexually explicit movies on display at Sundance this year. Joseph Gordon-Levitt made his debut as writer-director with "Don Jon's Addiction," a New York blue collar comedy in the vein of "Saturday Night Fever" in which JGL's version of Tony Manero is a bartender who hangs with his posse at clubs on the prowl for high-rated pussy (her face is a 9, her tits are a 4 etc.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 20, 2013 1:49 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Sundance Review: Romance 'The Spectacular Now' Works on Star Chemistry

"The Spectacular Now," James Ponsoldt's follow-up to last year's Sundance hit "Smashed," manages to be realistic without being dour, funny without being a caricature, and romantic without being sappy.
  • By Nora Chute
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  • January 19, 2013 10:38 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Sundance Review and Roundup: Jordan Family Drama 'May in the Summer'

Writer-director Cherien Dabis adds actress to her skill-set with Sundance opening-nighter "May in the Summer," her follow-up to her first 2009 film "Amreeka." In both films Dabis takes her singular experience as an Arab American to reveal how complicated living between cultures can be.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 18, 2013 3:11 PM
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Weekend Preview: Jessica Chastain's 'Mama,' Schwarzenneger's 'Last Stand' and Wahlberg's 'Broken City'

It's all about Jessica Chastain this weekend, with Andrew Muschetti's horror title "Mama" joining Oscar-nominated holdover "Zero Dark Thirty" at the box office. The modestly reviewed "Mama" is probably the best bet of the new releases...
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • January 18, 2013 2:52 PM
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Sundance Review Roundup: Sebastian Silva's Drug-Fueled and Off-Kilter Slacker Comedy 'Crystal Fairy,' Starring Michael Cera

Critics are weighing in from Park City on Sebastián Silva's 'Crystal Fairy & the Magic Cactus and 2012,' starring Michael Cera, one of three Sundance Fest opening night offerings. The effectiveness of Cera's casting is up for debate -- some reviewers find it a refreshing shake-up from the young actor's usual "nice-guy routine," while others claim it clashes with Silva's comedic leanings. Review roundup below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • January 18, 2013 11:32 AM
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Now and Then: In Must-See 'Detropia,' the Many Lives of an American City

It is a story we think we know already. Unions weaken. Corporations outsource. Politicians waver. The economy collapses. Public resources shrivel. A city dies. But that's only the bird's-eye view: in Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's powerful document of an age of grief, "Detropia" is the way we live now.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • January 14, 2013 12:55 PM
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Weekend Preview: Catch Up on Oscar Viewing, Plus 'Gangster Squad,' 'Clandestine Childhood,' 'Quartet' and 'Struck by Lightning'

Per usual, January is not a fertile ground for strong new movies. Arrivals this weekend will be fighting for attention amidst the Oscar chatter. Dustin Hoffman's delightfully escapist "Quartet," which had an-Oscar qualifying run, leads the pack at 78% Fresh. Despite its abundance of movie stars, the post-Aurora-delayed "Gangster Squad" is failing to impress most critics.
  • By TOH!
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  • January 11, 2013 11:58 AM
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Early Review Roundup: Wong Kar-wai's 'The Grandmaster' Strikes a Balance Between Haunting Style and True Kung Fu

Two early reviews for Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai's highly anticipated and long-gestating "The Grandmaster" have hit the web, both praising the film's deft balance between being a "beautiful" kung fu genre movie and a stylish exploration of many of the director's career-long themes. Complaints include that the film has been cut drastically from its intended length, and that actor Chang Chen is given too little screen time, while muse Tony Leung "lacks his usual intensity." Highlights below, updates to be added as more reviews come in.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • January 9, 2013 11:31 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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