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Thompson on Hollywood

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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Immersed in Movies: Talking Disney Animated Short Oscar Nominee 'Paperman,' See Full Video

Is Disney's hand-drawn animated legacy dead? Let's hope not. The new "Paperman" short may provide the answer for its survival. (See trailer below.) "Paperman," which just premiered at the Annecy Film Festival and debuts locally this week at the Los Angeles Film Fest (in 3-D), will play in theaters alongside Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph" on November 2.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • January 30, 2013 3:56 PM
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Sundance: 'Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes' Review and Interview (VIDEO)

Unfortunately, the characters in Francesca Gregorini's handsome but uninvolving "Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes" don't talk or behave like real people.
  • By Nora Chute
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  • January 30, 2013 12:14 PM
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Now and Then: The Soul of Netflix's New Series? The BBC's 'House of Cards'

"Lilyhammer," Netflix's first foray into original programming, failed to generate sustained attention when it premiered last year. One suspects this won't be true of its star-studded second attempt, "House of Cards," debuting Friday. Except Netflix's latest isn't so novel after all: its animating force is the BBC's mostly excellent original.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • January 29, 2013 12:03 PM
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'Jobs' Sundance Review Round-Up: Ashton Kutcher Nearly Pulls Off Steve Jobs Impersonation (VIDEO)

"jOBs", directed by Joshua Michael Stern, is a straight-forward biopic, following the visionary's journey from hippie college dropout to ruthless technology czar. The movie, which closed the Sundance Festival on Friday, features Ashton Kutcher as the Apple genius - a role he acknowledged was a big risk for him. At the premiere, Kutcher said: “I knew I was throwing myself into a gauntlet of criticism, and this became the most terrifying thing I have done in my life.” Many critics think that he deserves lampooning, but others praise the natural physicality he brings to the role.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • January 28, 2013 5:30 PM
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Weekend Preview: Critics Hating on 'Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters' and 'Movie 43'; Indie 'Supporting Characters' Best Bet

Stars in duds is the theme of this weekend. "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters," starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, and "Movie 43," starring Emma Stone, Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet (among many others), both have atrocious Tomatometer scores...
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • January 25, 2013 2:59 PM
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