Headline Blues

I won’t feign objectivity. Although director Andrew Rossi’s documentary Page One may center on The New York Times’ ongoing fight for survival, it’s more than that. The film is a snapshot of the collision between new media and mainstream journalism…with the latter as the bug, and the former as the windshield. Because there’s a chance […]

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Strangers with Candy

Several recent documentaries have mined a vein of nostalgia for New York City’s East Village art scene of the ‘70s and ‘80s. For example, with its obligatory still photos of the artist chillin’ with a number of as-yet-undiscovered artists (Madonna being one of them), The Radiant Child shed light on Jean Michel Basquiat’s life and […]

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Star Empowerment

Film icon Catherine Deneuve’s first major role was as an umbrella shop sales girl in the 1964 Jacques Demy film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Now, nearly a half-century later (with a enormously successful career in between), she can be found playing the unappreciated wife of an umbrella factory owner in Potiche, the latest picture from […]

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Hair of the Dawgs

A working theory: There is no script for The Hangover Part II . There is only a script for the first Hangover with white out on some of the verbs and nouns. After their first unabashed gross-out out-grossed all other comedies ever made, writer/director Todd Phillips and writers Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong dropped a […]

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The Oregon Fail

The epitome of form as message, the silent and sparse first seven minutes of director Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff quietly contrasts the brutality of life on the Oregon Trail in 1845 with lyric and beautiful glimpses of unspoiled American landscapes. The film’s fitting first spoken words, a Christian dinner prayer recited by a child, gracefully […]

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Mjolnir? I Hardly Knew Her!

Someone tell the soulless, suit-wearing executive of suck who perpetually insists upon shoehorning a wafer-thin, nausea-inducing love story into each and every action-heavy motion picture that he’s basically dropping a turd into a pool party. The lasses and dudes who comprise the core audience have never swayed an uninterested buddy into attending a comic book […]

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Rope-a-Dopey

The tagline for Sucker Punch is “You will be unprepared.” Eh, not so much. Every trailer for the film showed copious slow-motion sequences of girls clothed as if nerd fetishists established a global dress code. The near-dialogue-free previews gave little-to-no impression as to how the hell these seemingly disconnected visual sequences, ripped from a hardcore […]

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Where’s Whoopi?

Throaty and sleepy, Jeremy Irons begins his narration of the wildlife documentary The Last Lions as if awoken from a crumpet-induced nap. Any electricity that’s felt by once more having Irons’ voice laid atop images of lions is blunted by a delivery that sounds like Irons is auditioning for a British sex chat line. His […]

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What Happens in Iowa…

Just as Glengarry Glen Ross was for real estate agents, director Miguel Arteta’s Cedar Rapids is an ode to the desperate, lonely life of the insurance salesman. Of course, there are a lot more jokes here than in David Mamet’s play, but there’s no avoiding that big melancholic heart beating at the center. And the […]

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