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Thompson on Hollywood

Sundance Fave 'Concussion' Is a Sexy, Sometimes Troubling Look at Sexuality and Self-Worth (TRAILER)

The title of Stacie Passon's new film "Concussion" is a bit of a misdirect. The eponymous baseball accident in the first five minutes of the film could well be the cause of everything that follows, but it could also be little more than an instigating incident--a fluke of life that separates what was before from what is now. It's a testament to Passon's subtle and somewhat conflicting film that it's impossible to tell just what the concussion in "Concussion" really signifies.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • September 16, 2013 12:24 PM
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  • 0 Comments

'Our Nixon' Review: Forty Years Later, An Intimate Portrait of Nixon, and Ourselves (TRAILER)

Songwriter Kirsty MacColl's "They Don't Know (About Us)" makes a fitting title track for "Our Nixon." The found-footage documentary, woven from 500 hours of Super 8 shot by Watergate convicts H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and Dwight Chapin, isn't just a portrait of the Nixon's peculiar boys club. It's a time capsule from a bygone age.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • August 30, 2013 12:03 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Arthouse Audit: Sundance Hits 'Austenland,' 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' and 'Cutie & the Boxer' Open Soft

The ongoing success of several late-summer hits plus serious competition from "The Butler" this weekend contributed to the disappointing results for three new entries. Over July and August, four Sundance 2013 releases opened strongly with two breakouts: "The Way, Way Back" and "Fruitvale Station." But this weekend's three acclaimed Sundance hits stumbled at the August box office. The combined grosses of "Austenland," "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" and doc "Cutie and the Boxer" didn't even add up to the opening of "The Spectacular Now," and grossed only slightly better than last week's "In a World." This year the mid-August period isn't ready to join an expanded prime summer calendar.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 18, 2013 5:51 PM
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  • 2 Comments

WATCH: Exclusive Clip from Rodney Evans's Sexuality-Bender 'The Happy Sad'

After his 2004 Sundance award-winner "Brother to Brother," director Rodney Evans is back with his sophomore attempt "The Happy Sad," a film that examines modern relationships in all their complexity and contradiction.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • August 13, 2013 2:09 PM
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  • 0 Comments

DVD Review: Pema Tseden's 'Old Dog,' a Powerful Political Allegory of Modern Tibet (TRAILER)

Forget Uggie. My favorite canine companion in recent cinema is the shaggy, steadfast nomad mastiff of Tibetan writer-director Pema Tseden's contemplative and ultimately wrenching "Old Dog" (2011), available today on DVD from Icarus Films Home Video/dGenerate Films Home Video Collection.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • July 30, 2013 2:40 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Arthouse Audit: 'Blue Jasmine' Exceeds 'Midnight in Paris' Debut in Top Specialized Opening of 2013, Best Ever in Summer

Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" continues the auteur's recent rebound to levels similar to his heyday in the 1970s and 80s. His fifth consecutive release from Sony Pictures Classics scored his career-best best opening result (beating "Midnight in Paris") with a six-theater, three-day total of over $600,000. This number is a record for the June-August period for any live-action limited release.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • July 28, 2013 1:12 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Review: Microbudget Indie 'By Way of Home' Punches Above Its Weight (TRAILER)

Reunited after a two-year estrangement, childhood friends Brooke and Morgan spend the early stages of "By Way of Home" catching up. The former, laid off and living with her parents, describes this state of affairs with a gentle euphemism ("the whole family's home"), but her delivery carries the unmistakable twang of disappointment.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • July 18, 2013 2:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Now and Then: Five Reasons 'Mumblecore' and 'Millennial' Don't Mean the Same Thing

Reading wave after wave of writing about the Millennial generation and the so-called "mumblecore" movement, you would be forgiven for thinking the commentators had somehow mistaken movies for real life.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • June 13, 2013 1:44 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Four Indies to Make Digital Debut via Sundance Institute's Artist Services Program

The Sundance Institute's distribution and marketing arm Artist Services will digitally debut four upcoming independent films. Beginning June 18, titles will be available everywhere from iTunes, Amazon and Microsoft Xbox to SundanceNOW.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • June 5, 2013 5:46 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Arthouse Audit: 'Hannah Arendt' Leads New Openings, 'The East' and 'Kings of Summer' Open Just OK

Early summer specialized releases are falling short of the initial grosses of breakout films from the last two years. But several films representing a range of audience appeal (primarily younger-oriented) are showing varying levels of strength. A surprisingly strong New York gross from the German film "Hannah Arendt" (Zeitgeist) is the initial standout entry.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • June 2, 2013 4:29 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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