Entries filed in: 'Reviews'

BERLIN: ‘Sleeping Sickness,’ ‘The Future,’ ‘The Guard’

Posted by · 5:11 pm · February 16th, 2011

Sorry there was no Berlinale dispatch yesterday. It was my birthday, and after “celebrating” it with a triple-bill of variously despairing Competition entries — finishing with “The Turin Horse,” Béla Tarr’s impressive 146-minute ode to blizzards, boiled potatoes and dying — more traditional festivities were in order, beginning with several stiff drinks. There’s nothing like […]

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BERLIN: ‘Coriolanus,’ Redgrave and an early Oscar bet

Posted by · 6:58 pm · February 14th, 2011

The cavernous Berlinale Palast theatre was packed to the gills for today’s noontime press screening of “Coriolanus” (***), and small wonder — in a Competition lineup heavy on oatmeal fare boasting comparatively unfamiliar names, Ralph Fiennes’s directorial debut is one of the few entries that affords viewers a little star-gazing. Fiennes, of course, takes the title […]

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BERLIN: 3D comes to the arthouse

Posted by · 12:17 pm · February 14th, 2011

Determined to make up for my rather  feeble start to the Berlinale, I made it to five films on Sunday – and in a shock twist that defied the law of both averages and film festivals, I liked all of them to some extent, and two of them rather more than that. How appropriate that […]

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BERLIN: Getting started, ‘Yelling to the Sky’

Posted by · 6:07 pm · February 12th, 2011

Well, it didn’t take long for me to break my promise of daily festival reports. In the unlikely event that you were eagerly awaiting for my first Berlinale dispatch yesterday, I can only apologize: it’s hard to review films you haven’t seen. A domino-like series of misfortunes conspired to make my first day of planned […]

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The Coens’ no-frills ‘True Grit’ hearkens to western heyday

Posted by · 10:00 am · December 1st, 2010

I’ve seen the Coen brothers’ “True Grit” twice now, and it’s not because the film is some “Inception”-like, mind-bending narrative maze. Quite the opposite, actually. I saddled up to it a second time yesterday morning because I wasn’t quite anticipating what I got the first time around and I wanted to consider it further knowing […]

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REVIEW: “Burlesque” (***)

Posted by · 7:52 am · November 28th, 2010

(We don’t usually post reviews after the US release, but this one got snarled up in my hard drive earlier this week and I didn’t want to waste it. I’ve noticed a number of readers posting thoughts on the film in yesterday’s Cinejabber post, so look on this as your “Tell us what you thought […]

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AFI FEST: ‘The Fighter’ crashes the party

Posted by · 3:29 am · November 10th, 2010

I decided to come home and give “The Fighter,” which saw its world premiere at a “secret screening” at AFI Fest tonight, some real thought rather than rushing back to review.  How novel. Given the amount of press on hand, one imagines Paramount publicity was besieged with ticket requests following the last minute announcement of […]

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Finally, the 10 best of the 2010 LFF

Posted by · 4:57 pm · November 2nd, 2010

For those of you who were loyally following my London Film Festival coverage this year, I must apologize for leaving it somewhat in limbo. Though I did eventually find time for a lengthy discussion of fest closer “127 Hours,” a snowballing workload put paid to my hopes of squeezing in a few more review roundups. […]

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LONDON: French femmes on form

Posted by · 5:54 pm · October 26th, 2010

“I think the French have always enjoyed older women, and they’re right to do so,” Kristin Scott Thomas told me in an interview nearly two years ago, when asked about the range of opportunities for actresses over 40 in the French film industry. “A life has been lived. There’s so much more at stake. The […]

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‘Love & Other Drugs’ overdoses on rom-com tropes

Posted by · 11:14 am · October 26th, 2010

I went into last night’s screening of Edward Zwick’s “Love & Other Drugs” wanting to love it.  I really did.  There was an opportunity here to delicately balance comedy and drama, tell the story of a man’s journey to maturity against the backdrop of a very serious socio-political issue — the pharmaceutical industry — and […]

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LONDON: ‘Brighton’ hits the rocks

Posted by · 6:04 am · October 25th, 2010

The success of the London Film Festival’s annual Surprise Film screening isn’t exactly dependent on the surprise element: more often than not, the film’s identity can be pinpointed in advance simply by asking yourself which title you most expected to find in the festival lineup, and then didn’t. But even if pretty much everyone sitting […]

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LONDON: ‘The King’s Speech, ‘Neds’ and the Brit pack

Posted by · 11:27 am · October 22nd, 2010

Unlike, say, the Venice fest – where the jury’s failure to reward any of the (lousy) Italian films in competition is cause for a media strop — the London Film Festival has often seemed somewhat embarrassed by the homegrown portion of its programme, perhaps granting a big red-carpet date to the odd bit of tony […]

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LONDON: ‘Tabloid,’ ‘Waste Land,’ ‘The Peddler’

Posted by · 11:23 am · October 20th, 2010

Amid a fairly robust non-fiction slate in this year’s London Film Festival programme, there appears to be an informal sidebar of documentaries about the process of, well, documenting — whether via media avenues of art, film or journalism. That’s not to say the films in question are particularly meta. The ones grouped here are all […]

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LONDON: ‘Cold Weather,’ ‘Carlos,’ ‘Little White Lies’

Posted by · 6:38 pm · October 18th, 2010

Okay, so my weekend plans to catch up on my LFF review backlog didn’t entirely pan out — though the schedulers have, at least, kindly slowed the snowball effect by screening a number of films today that I had already seen. Strange as it sounds, given that it’s been on the festival track for five […]

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LONDON: Five foreign Oscar contenders

Posted by · 7:31 pm · October 17th, 2010

(Please note that one of the films reviewed here, “Aftershock,” was not screened as part of the London Film Festival programme — but since I saw it this week, it made sense to include it in this discussion.) Admittedly, 11 out of 65 is a figure that is only impressive if you’re counting the listenable […]

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LONDON: Never let me in

Posted by · 6:35 pm · October 14th, 2010

In a year that has seen me give over more of my time than is strictly sensible to covering the Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Edinburgh programmes, there’s something oddly disconcerting about attending a festival in my home city. Admittedly, the atmosphere is dampened by the fact that many of the London Film Festival’s biggest drawcards […]

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Carrey kills in ‘I Love You Phillip Morris’

Posted by · 9:22 am · October 14th, 2010

I really can’t sing the praises of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s “I Love You Phillip Morris” enough.  It’s a shame the elusive film, which has been sitting on a shelf waiting for a release for some time, has taken this long to see the light of day, because it’s a delightful romp with genuine […]

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‘Blue Valentine’ and ‘Rabbit Hole’ depict tortured souls with authentic ease

Posted by · 10:56 am · October 6th, 2010

Watching Derek Cianfrance’s “Blue Valentine” and John Cameron Mitchell’s “Rabbit Hole” in the same 24-hour span is a brutal exercise.  There are plenty of raw, realistic, dreary emotions flying through these narratives, but the experiences were very rewarding. Starting with Cianfrance’s film, which has been making the festival rounds since a healthy Sundance reception, I […]

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