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Thompson on Hollywood

Now and Then: In 'For Ellen,' the Many Faces of Paul Dano

Put a quarter in the jukebox and the rocker Joby Taylor (Paul Dano) transforms. His loping gait diffuses into trance, a manic, writhing riff on his stage persona. It's a conversion experience of sorts, fittingly enough: "For Ellen" is a tale of many metamorphoses.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • February 19, 2013 1:34 PM
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Now and Then: The Dardenne Brothers' Lost Boys

From the first minutes of "The Kid with a Bike," marked by an energetic shot of its young protagonist, Cyril, careening through a field and climbing over a fence, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's latest is an exercise in kinesis. It's not just that Cyril's always running: he's running away.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • February 14, 2013 1:56 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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WikiLeaks Drama 'The Fifth Estate' Kicks off with Director Bill Condon and Benedict Cumberbatch

Production of "The Fifth Estate" has kicked off with director Bill Condon at the helm. The material is certainly heavier than Condon's "Twilight" films, as it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange and Daniel Brühl as Daniel Domscheit-Berg in the controversial story of Wikileaks' early days...
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 24, 2013 12:46 PM
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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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Now and Then: 'Justified' and the Anti-Antihero

Tony Soprano. Dexter Morgan. Walter White. Television's latest "Golden Age," on cable and in the ancillary afterlife, is full of men who break bad. Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), the U.S. Marshall at the heart of "Justified," may not be squeaky clean, but he's a saint by comparison — and the key to the series' subtle genius.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • January 3, 2013 7:22 AM
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  • 5 Comments

DVD Review: 'The Words' Has A Serious Case of Writer's Block

It would be easy to come away from "The Words" with the impression that writing is a stiff, musty line of work — all grand ballrooms, solemn readings, and blue-blooded accents, a veritable Titanic of pretensions. This would be a mistake. The only sinking ship here is the film itself.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 26, 2012 6:11 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Rachel Weisz Talks 'Deep Blue Sea,' Consuming Love [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO] UPDATE

Rachel Weisz is a terrific actress at the height of her beauty and power who is trying to push good roles up the hill, with varying results, from "The Whistleblower" to "Agoura."  (More mainstream thriller "Dream House" yielded husband Daniel Craig, but was not a critics' picture.) UPDATE: Now she has won Best Actress from the New York Film Critics Circle for her towering powrformance in "The Deep Bliue Sea."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 3, 2012 3:08 PM
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Now and Then: 'Lincoln,' the Movies, and Historical Accuracy

"Lincoln" is no dour disquisition, no romance of an imagined past, but a heroic, even thrilling drama of compromise and chicanery in the midst of the Civil War. Indeed, it resolves one of the medium's oldest conundrums: "Lincoln" is that rare thing, good history and great cinema at once.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • November 13, 2012 1:28 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Now and Then: 'Your Sister's Sister,' Lost in the Oscar Shuffle

As much as I enjoy awards chatter, this time of year can be frustrating. Spring, summer, even early fall releases that merit attention melt away before the campaigns of the heavy hitters. Lynn Shelton's lovely character study "Your Sister's Sister" won't factor in the Oscar race, and maybe it doesn't deserve to. But it surely deserves your eyes.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • November 6, 2012 3:52 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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