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Thompson on Hollywood

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

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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  • 2 Comments

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

Now and Then: 'Four,' Moving Portrait of Love and Sex in the Time of Craigslist

"Four," director Joshua Sanchez's remarkably honest, empathic adaptation of Christopher Shinn's play about a quartet of lovelorn folks in a modern age, works on you slowly. It's taken me about a week since seeing it at the New Orleans Film Festival to suss out just how complex and world weary it is, and how surprisingly beautiful.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • October 23, 2012 12:47 PM
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  • 1 Comment

NOFF Review: Weinstein Oscar-Fodder 'Quartet' Stars Maggie Smith

Like "The King's Speech," "Quartet" is musty and middlebrow, set in an imagined Britain of high class and low jokes. What it lacks in period pedigree it makes up for in a steady diet of quips from the form's reigning dowager, Maggie Smith. In The Weinstein Company's hands, it will likely earn solid box office and awards attention.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • October 15, 2012 4:27 PM
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  • 0 Comments

New Orleans Film Festival Review: Melissa Leo Amazes in 'Francine'

Strange and unsettling, "Francine" begins as a miniature, a doll's house of life's loose ends. Subtly, though, it blooms. On the strength of Melissa Leo's astounding performance, it pushes outward into a troubled society of haves and have-nots — becoming, quietly but forcefully, one of the best films of the year.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • October 14, 2012 4:46 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Why Everyone Should Be Watching 'Homeland'

Showtime's Emmy winner for Best Drama returns Sunday for its second season. Fans can spend a few days pondering last season's stunning finale, but for newcomers it's time to play catch up. Because everyone should be watching "Homeland": it's the most astute piece of film or television to come out of the War on Terror.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • September 26, 2012 4:21 PM
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  • 8 Comments

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