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Thompson on Hollywood

Review: Liam Neeson Is Once Again the Cialis of Action Heroes in 'Non-Stop'

Think of Liam Neeson as the Cialis of action heroes. The Boomers needed one and there was Neeson, ready to step into the breach, lose the occasional daughter, thwart the occasional bad guy, overcome the insurmountable odds and now -- in “Non-Stop,” a.k.a “Taken 3” -- make transatlantic travel more of a nightmare than it already was.
  • By John Anderson
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  • February 28, 2014 12:43 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Discover the Wes Anderson Experience

Upon this earth there are a few fortunate souls lucky enough to receive a role in a Wes Anderson film. In a series of interviews done round-table style after its recent Berlinale screening, the “Grand Budapest Hotel” cast members together suggested an on-set atmosphere not so different than the charming nature of the film itself. “It’s the Wes Anderson experience,” intoned Jeff Goldblum, “which is a lovely, delightful, uncommonly beautiful communal art project.”
  • By Tom Christie
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  • February 25, 2014 12:44 PM
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Review: Oscar Nominated 'Ernest & Celestine' a Gentle and Delightfully Weird Animated Treat

Taboo friendship is one of the many resonant themes in the sweetly strange and delicately animated “Ernest & Celestine,” which is up for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 24, 2014 2:49 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Three Films to See in Theaters This Weekend (and Two to Skip)

This weekend's your chance to catch two Foreign Language Oscar hopefuls -- Palestine's "Omar" and erstwhile Romanian contender "Child's Pose." Also, head to the English-language revamp of Hayao Miyazaki's farewell feature film "The Wind Rises," with its star-studded voice cast, but heed critics' advice and skip vulgar auteur Paul WS Anderson's "Pompeii," and stuffy Emile Zola adaptation "In Secret."
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • February 21, 2014 4:04 PM
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  • 2 Comments

'The Lunchbox' Review and Roundup (TRAILER, SHORT)

Ritesh Batra's feature debut, the unprepossessing indie "The Lunchbox" (February 21) has heart. The film follows up his award-winning short "Cafe Regular Cairo" (see below). The warm, well-observed romantic drama was snapped up by Sony Pictures Classics out of Cannes, where it won the viewer's choice (The Rail d'Or) award at Critics' Week. India unaccountably overlooked the indie word-of-mouth hit of Telluride and Toronto--as its Oscar submission.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 21, 2014 2:58 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Review: Oscar Nominated 'Omar' a Taut Thriller about Paranoia's Occupation of the Soul

Hany Abu-Assad’s smart thriller “Omar,” which has been nominated for the Best Foreign-Language Oscar, is like a modern-day “Romeo & Juliet” tale, if Romeo were a double agent in the middle of the West Bank.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 18, 2014 11:35 AM
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Review: Motherly Love Spirals Out of Control in Romania's Chilling Oscar Entry 'Child's Pose'

Cinema loves its messed up mother-son relationships. But rarely are they handled with the mastery of Calin Peter Netzer's tale of smotherly love "Child's Pose," Romania's 2014 Oscar entry and also one of the country's strongest films in a surprising, prosperous New Wave of films.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • February 18, 2014 11:33 AM
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Berlin Review: Silver Bear Best Script Winner 'Stations of the Cross'

“Kreuzweg (Stations of the Cross),” which won the Best Script Silver Bear at this year's now wrapped Berlinale, is a well-designed and constructed portrait of a young, devout Catholic girl trying to make her way through a maze of satanically influenced culture (i.e., normality) and sin (e.g., attraction to a boy) while meeting the absurdly high personal standards demanded by her overbearing mother, her priest and her God.
  • By Tom Christie
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  • February 17, 2014 11:32 AM
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Review: Adaptation 'Winter's Tale' Is Ruined by Writer-Director Akiva Goldsman

That thud you just heard was “Winter’s Tale” landing in the theaters today, and poised to become a touchstone in the history of misbegotten literary adaptations. It’s been 30 years since Mark Helprin published his enchanting and enchanted novel about time travel, Old New York, beautiful consumptives, a gang called the Short Tails, and a Marc Chagall-meets-steam-punk aesthetic. But given what Akiva Goldsman has chosen to do with it, well, there was really no hurry.
  • By John Anderson
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  • February 14, 2014 3:16 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Berlin Review: 'Inbetween Worlds' a Strong, Affecting German-Afghan Military Drama

A German soldier back for a second tour in Afghanistan, Jesper is a man in turmoil: His brother, also a soldier, was killed there, not far from where Jesper is now stationed as commander of a squad protecting the village of a local (and friendly) militia. Tarik, a young Afghan working as a translator, is also troubled – someone is threatening his sister and him, the same someone who murdered their father because he worked “for the wrong side.” Representatives of their respective worlds, Jesper and Tarik do their best to bridge them.
  • By Tom Christie
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  • February 14, 2014 1:56 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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