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Thompson on Hollywood

Sundance Review: Garcia Bernal Mystery Doc 'Who Is Dayani Cristal?'

An unidentified body is found in the Sonoran desert in Pima County, Arizona under the heat of an August sun—the body of a migrant, traveling north along a treacherous and uncertain path to the United States.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • January 23, 2013 11:26 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Sundance Review: 'Fruitvale' is a Tearjerker

Ryan Coogler's true story "Fruitvale," which was backed by Sundance workshops and San Francisco Film Society filmmaker grants, couldn't be more timely, post-Newtown. Weinstein Co. acquired U.S. rights for $2.5 million soon after its Sundance debut.
  • By Nora Chute
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  • January 23, 2013 10:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Magnolia Picks Up David Gordon Green's 'Prince Avalanche,' Plus Review and Roundup

Magnolia Pictures is a good home for David Gordon Green's low-budget Sundance entry "Prince Avalanche," a two-hander starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch shot in 16 days in Austin's fire-ravaged Bastrop State Park. The distrib has acquired North American rights and is aiming at a summer release.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 23, 2013 1:58 PM
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Sundance Review Roundup: 'Kill Your Darlings'

Critics are praising John Krokidas' "Kill Your Darlings," starring Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg. The film, which is edgier and more engaging than Walter Salles' faithfully literary "On the Road," is being called an unusually successful portrait of the Beat generation, "a genuine attempt to source the beginning of America's first true literary counterculture."
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • January 22, 2013 5:09 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Now and Then: A 'Zero Dark Thirty' Piece That's (Mostly) Not About Torture

We are Maya. That's the first thought that comes to mind about Jessica Chastain's tireless, obsessed CIA analyst in "Zero Dark Thirty," a "motherfucker" who's been chasing Osama bin Laden for twelve years — nearly the same length of time as this country's impossible war.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • January 22, 2013 1:22 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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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  • 0 Comments

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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  • 0 Comments

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

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