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Thompson on Hollywood

SFIFF Review: Peter Nicks' Doc 'The Waiting Room'

"The Waiting Room" is edited to give the range of emotions observed and experienced in that space, and that range is vast. This is documentary as distilled observation. It’s also as strong an argument for universal health care that I’ve seen in years.
  • By David D'Arcy
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  • April 22, 2012 1:41 PM
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55th San Francisco International Film Festival Gets Under Way: 'Farewell My Queen,' 'Trishna,' 'Twixt'

Among the fiction films, famed auteurs are not in abundance, having seen the Coppola, Winterbottom, and Johnie To films: the new Kassovitz and Guedigian appeal to the Francophile in me, but those are not exactly marquee names. Star power seemed reserved for the tributes to Judy Davis and Kenneth Branagh, but even those names are somewhat subdued in celebrity culture terms.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 21, 2012 12:15 PM
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SFIFF Review: 'Tokyo Waka: A City Poem'

Would someone please summon Alfred Hitchcock? "Tokyo Waka; A City Poem" is, among other things, an ode to the crows that seem everywhere in that Japanese city. They attack people, they eat anything available, and they raid the city’s zoo to steal baby prairie dogs and other small animals that they can carry away.
  • By David D'Arcy
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  • April 20, 2012 3:38 PM
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Early Reviews: Woody Allen's 'To Rome With Love' Falls Short of 'Midnight in Paris,' Does Not Please Romans

Woody Allen's "To Rome With Love," his love letter to the eternal city, has not pleased the natives. It seems he misjudged the zeitgeist. Many Italian critics thought his glossy postcard view of Rome did a disservice to the hard economic times the city faces.  Early reviews below. 
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • April 20, 2012 11:09 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Review Round-Up: 'Marvel's The Avengers': The Best Super Hero Movie Of All Time?

Stakes and anticipation were high for "Marvel's The Avengers," which finally brings together a half dozen superheroes. The take-home message from most reviewers is that the super hero mash-up more than met expectations--it set the bar higher for summer blockbusters and other superhero movies alike.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • April 20, 2012 9:16 AM
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  • 1 Comment

New Trailer and Early Reviews: Lynn Shelton's 'Your Sister's Sister' Triangle Stars Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, Rosemarie DeWitt

Actress-writer-director Lynn Shelton's fourth feature, "Your Sister's Sister" (June 15), showcases an exhilarating trio of actors at the top of their improv game: Mark Duplass ("Humpday"), Rosemarie DeWitt ("Rachel's Getting Married," and Emily Blunt ("Young Victoria"). (See the new official trailer below.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 18, 2012 4:29 PM
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'The Walking Dead' Team Talk Zombie Horror at NAB: "I Do Want to Find Out What the Limit Is"

How far can they go with gore and violence? “It’s really awesome that AMC is bold enough to put just about anything up there,” said Kirkman, “But I do want to find out what the limit is.”
  • By Valentina Valentini
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  • April 18, 2012 11:40 AM
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Now and Then: Werner Herzog's Matters of Life and Death

Paranoia has long been Werner Herzog's preferred tropic, morbidity his comfort zone. His films brim with self-inflicted wounds, crazed schemers, and ruinous hubris. "Into the Abyss" is different; it shifts the frame. We have seen the enemy, and he is us.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • April 16, 2012 1:40 PM
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Sex & the Gritty: Lena Dunham's 'Girls' Pilot is Coarse, Sensitive, and Promising

The most compelling aspect of Lena Dunham's HBO series "Girls" is a tone and spirit that balances sincerity and satire. When the goofy protagonist Hannah (Dunham) proclaims in the first scene that she is "busy trying to become who I am," the series arrives with a strong, clear voice.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • April 16, 2012 8:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

'Mad Men' Episode 5 Review and Recap: In 'Signal 30,' Pete and Lane Throw Feeble Punches at Despair

In Sunday's all-new "Mad Men" episode, death and despair continue to seep into the big picture. But in the midst of sniper shootings, highway crashes and men who "have nothing," is there a faint signal of hope?
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • April 16, 2012 5:22 AM
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  • 5 Comments

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