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Thompson on Hollywood

Now and Then: The Top Ten Films of All Time

Every ten years, "Sight and Sound" magazine conducts a poll asking critics and directors to rank the best films of all time. It's more Rorschach test than lab experiment, an impossible task that invariably goads people into calling you an idiot. But I'm a glutton for punishment, so in honor of this year's voting, I offer my (unsolicited) ballot:
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • May 15, 2012 6:57 AM
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  • 6 Comments

'Being John Malkovich' from Criterion: The Actor, The Geek, His Wife, and Her Lover

Puppetry is control. So are acting, filing, and pet care. Each in its own way signals an attempt to make sense of the chaos that is lived experience, to grab hold of it and make it do what you want. And each, in "Being John Malkovich," director Spike Jonze's and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's exhilarating mind-meld, fails spectacularly.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • May 14, 2012 12:53 PM
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Mother's Day Pick: 'Whip It'

You might not think of "Whip It!" Drew Barrymore’s debut feature about roller-derby babes, those hellions-on-wheels who dare guys to ogle them, as an ideal choice for Mother’s Day, but I hereby nominate Shauna Cross’ coming-of-age story as the best mother/daughter picture of the past decade.
  • By Carrie Rickey
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  • May 13, 2012 6:29 PM
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Review Round-Up: 'The Dictator' with Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen's new comedy "The Dictator" is getting strong initial reviews in England, where it opens first. Hence the floodgates opened on stateside reviews, which are 85% on Rotten Tomatoes so far--that's a whole lot better than "Bruno"'s 67% Tomatometer score. The movie is not tracking great, party because "Bruno" burnt some audiences last time around; strong-word-of-mouth should correct that.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 11, 2012 10:41 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Preview: From Steve Jobs and Paul Simon to France, Lebanon & Japan

Take your pick: A Johnny Depp-Tim Burton misfire, a slight but charming Lebanese comedy-musical (Toronto's People's Choice Award, "Where Do We Go Now"), an anti-American shoot 'em up ("God Bless America"), a delightful Japanese kids' movie ("I Wish"), the impeccably reviewed thriller "Sleepless Night" or Paul Simon music doc "Under African Skies" -- and that's just a few of this weekend's offerings. Details on these and more below. Indiewire has reviews for 15 indies hitting theaters.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • May 10, 2012 5:04 PM
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Watch An Exclusive Clip from Maïwenn's Gripping Cannes Winner 'Polisse'

This time last year, Maïwenn's "Polisse" was days away from winning the Cannes Jury prize. It would go on to travel the global festival circuit and pick up a pair of Césars along the way (it was nominated for thirteen). Sundance Selects releases the film May 18, and adult audiences should treat themselves to this very human drama. Writer-director and co-star Maïwenn leads her ensemble cast (including Emmanuelle Bercot, who co-wrote) through the aches, pains and necessary-to-survive humor of her French police officers working within Paris' Child Protection Unit.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • May 10, 2012 12:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments

'The Avengers': Who Comes Out Ahead? Everyone. Almost.

When I finally saw "Marvel's The Avengers" Sunday in murky 3-D at Loew's 83rd Street Cinema in Manhattan, like everyone else in the theater, I had a roaring good time.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 9, 2012 4:29 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Burton and Depp's 'Dark Shadows': Review Round-Up

Warner Bros.' trailer for Tim Burton's eighth collaboration with Johnny Depp, "Dark Shadows," had me salivating for a witty 70s romp at the movies. And the movie looks and sounds great, with a witty Danny Elfman 70s score and a strong cast. So why is the film such an enervating disappointment?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 9, 2012 11:11 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Now and Then: 'Haywire,' 'Bourne' Trilogy Prove That Style Is Substance

Steven Soderbergh is a tough guy to peg. He made his name with a densely talkative indie about orgasms ("sex, lies, and videotape"), and in 22 films since has tackled everything from classy capers ("Out of Sight, the "Ocean's" trilogy) to the biopic of an iconic revolutionary ("Che"). But one thing is clear: the man's got style.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • May 7, 2012 6:06 AM
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  • 0 Comments

BBC's 'I Claudius' The Accidental Emperor on DVD

Rome and its emperors are with us still. What are the "Hunger Games" but a modern version of the gladiator fights-to-the-death with which the emperors pacified unruly citizens? There is a lot of killing in the brilliant 1976 BBC miniseries “I Claudius,” newly remastered with a sharper look, and released on DVD by Acorn Media.
  • By Aljean Harmetz
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  • May 1, 2012 12:25 PM
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  • 2 Comments

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