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Thursday, Sep 15, 2011
Take This Waltz is set in Polley's native Toronto and it makes wide use of that city's funky west end for its locations and local musicians for its score (a real treat for this Torontonian).

TAKE THIS WALTZ
Director: Sarah Polley
Cast: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby, Sarah Silverman
Country: Canada


Margot (Michelle Williams) is happily married to a funny, warm, and all-around good man (Seth Rogan). But, she is also falling in love with the dark, mysterious bohemian painter (Luke Kirby) who lives across the street. Sarah Polley’s sophomore film asks of its audience a tricky question: Can you empathize with Margot or not? If you do, Margot’s two hours of agonizing over the decision to leave her husband or not will feel powerfully affecting and gorgeously realised. But, if you decide early on—as many in the press and industry audience around me did—that Margot is a fickle and selfish fool, you are in for a long slog. Happily, I found myself in the former camp, and was able to settle in for what is a heartbreaking, sexy, and witty ride through the fun house of emotional turmoil.


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Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011
Documentaries made by non-documentarians can be exhilarating since, new to the form, the filmmakers tend to break old rules and push into interesting territory. But they can also wind up looking something like Pearl Jam Twenty.

PEARL JAM TWENTY
Director: Cameron Crowe
Cast: Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Eddie Vedder, Matt Cameron, Chris Cornell, Kurt Cobain, Neil Young
Country: USA
 
Documentaries made by non-documentarians can be exhilarating since, new to the form, the filmmakers tend to break old rules and push into interesting territory. But they can also wind up looking something like Pearl Jam Twenty. Confusing (even to this follower of the group), scattered, and unaccountably incomplete (one longtime member of the band is never even mentioned aloud!), this one is for fans only.


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Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011
This dark, angry movie wants to be a smart, keep-you-guessing political thriller but winds up a wildly improbable and deeply cynical melodrama.

THE IDES OF MARCH
Director: George Clooney
Cast: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood
Country: USA


This dark, angry movie wants to be a smart, keep-you-guessing political thriller but winds up a wildly improbable and deeply cynical melodrama. Offering no clear villain to despise and almost no payoff to reward the audience, the picture is admirably reminiscent of such Nixon-era political disillusion-fests as The Candidate or All the President’s Men. But, unlike those mostly clever films (which were complicated enough to feel realistic), this one is almost incredibly straightforward.


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Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011
"The earth is evil. We don't need to grieve for it." So declares a luminous Kirsten Dunst in Danish provocateur Lars von Trier's best and most powerful film yet.

MELANCHOLIA
Director: Lars von Trier
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling
Country: Denmark / Sweden / France / Germany


“The earth is evil. We don’t need to grieve for it.” So declares a luminous Kirsten Dunst in Danish provocateur Lars von Trier’s best and most powerful film yet. In this dreamy meditation on depression—how it afflicts the sufferer, how it hurts those closest to them, and how little one can do to stop it once it comes sweeping toward you—we follow a pair of sisters as they hunker down on their palatial estate to await the end of the world.


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Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011
Expect Brad Pitt to get some award season attention for his playful portrayal of real life Oakland A's GM Billy Beane, a man trying to find a way to win a game with a stacked deck.

MONEYBALL
Director: Bennett Miller
Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Country: USA


Expect Brad Pitt to get some award season attention for his playful portrayal of real life Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane, a man trying to find a way to win a game with a stacked deck. Back in 2001, with among the smallest budgets in major league baseball, and following the advice of a rookie Assistant-GM (here played by a perfectly deadpan Jonah Hill), Beane threw out the rulebook, fired his head scout, and fielded a team based upon a theory about on-base percentage. And despite the collective disbelief and disdain of the sporting world, it worked.


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