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Thompson on Hollywood

Sundance Review Roundup: 'Upstream Color' Is a Gorgeous Head-Scratcher

Critics don't mind feeling stumped when it comes to Shane Carruth's gorgeous, enigmatic Sundance entry "Upstream Color." While the film is largely receiving praise, reviews are quick to point out that the narrative, nominally about a young man and woman "consumed by a higher force," will raise plenty of questions "about what the hell is going on." Review highlights below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • January 22, 2013 11:58 AM
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Sundance Review Roundup: Batmanglij and Marling's 'The East' Dividing Critics

Critics are divided on director Zal Batmanglij ("The Sound of My Voice") and co-writer-star Brit Marling's newest collaboration, "The East." While some find the film a relevant, absorbing eco-terrorist thriller, others deem it overlong and "deeply silly." Review highlights below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • January 22, 2013 11:56 AM
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Sundance Review and Roundup: 'Before Midnight'

The magic alchemy originally conjured 18 years ago by director Richard Linklater and two gifted actors--Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, who could sustain scenes across lengthy uncut takes-- finds its third iteration in "Before Midnight." It's a tour-de-force home run that will play like gangbusters in smart-house theaters all over the world and should mark a major Sundance sale orchestrated by Cinetic Media.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 21, 2013 7:29 PM
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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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  • 0 Comments

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