Tchai-Kafka-sky’s Swan Lake

Director Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan is just your run-of-the-mill “girl haunted by doppelgangers while turning into a human/swan hybrid” ballet movie with elements of bisexual experimentation. In other words, writers Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin are a collective Dr. Frankenstein, standing over a creation that is part horror, part pure beauty. Firmly entrenched […]

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DVD Discovery: Mama’s Family

Let’s give it up for the ladies. Once the purview of mustachioed men with Italian last names, the “cops and crooks” movie genre has flung open the doors to the clubhouse. Last year gave us several films in the genre with strong female leads instead of damsel-in-distress love interests. Playing an Aussie-accented version of The […]

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DVD Discovery: Lie Space

Although 2010 won’t go down as The Greatest Year of Filmmaking Ever, it is becoming more and more notable as The Year that Documentaries Blew Our Minds. The latest evidence supporting this assertion is Catfish , a compelling and timely documentary that is nearly impossible to describe without spoiling it for everyone. Freshly released on […]

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Cocky Dude Will Shoot

If it rhymed easier, “You don’t remake a classic John Wayne movie” might have squeezed in after “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape” in Jim Croce’s hummable cautionary tale. The cinematic equivalent of a fish’s bicycle, those writin’ and directin’ Coen brothers’ choice to revisit True Grit seemed at best unnecessary and at worst an […]

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DVD Discovery: Magic Act

You know the feeling you get at the peak of a suspenseful scene? At the breathless moment where you’re waiting for the inevitable gunshot, the doom-laden footsteps or the damning, climactic line of dialogue? That simultaneously delightful and miserable squirminess? Well if you’re into that — and who isn’t, at least a little? — writer/director […]

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Give Him a Hand

Those multi-tools sure do come in handy, don’t they? Okay, I swear that’s my last hand-related pun in reviewing Danny Boyle’s newest film 127 Hours . Boyle, the genius director who has brought us films as diverse as Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and 2008’s hugely popular Slumdog Millionaire , has again changed genres like some […]

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Is Our Children Learning?

I pass tears like kidney stones. Big, fat crocodile drops aren’t easily milked from these tightly shuttered ducts. So when I tell you I bawled at Waiting For Superman — ugly bawled … in public — please know that means something. Writer/director Davis Guggenheim made a documentary about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth , the […]

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Lives for Sale

In the special club of music video directors turned mainstream feature filmmakers, Mark Romanek is among the least visible. He hasn’t made a film since 2002’s creepy-but-minor Robin Williams vehicle One Hour Photo . Who would’ve thought, with only a handful of music videos made between then and now, that his latest feature, Never Let […]

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Don’t Edit Me Argentina

Brain wrinkle time. When is a review not a review? Answer: When dealing with “the complete” Metropolis. Director Fritz Lang’s 1927 dystopian epic, which birthed modern sci-fi cinema from its loins as assuredly as if we had ultrasonographic images of Blade Runner in its womb, was truncated to around 90 minutes after its original screening […]

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Easy A FTW

It’s fitting that the review of a movie about whoring through words should start with a verbal money shot, in the form of a pull quote: Easy A is easily the funniest movie of the year. Sporting chlamydia as a subplot, discussion of vagina gnomes and multiple Huckleberry Finn–based biracial gay sex jokes, first-time screenwriter […]

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