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Friday, Apr 4, 2014
Overwritten, overacted, and frequently over-stylized, Dom Hemingway is a movie that constantly gets in the way of itself.

What, exactly, happened to Jude Law? There was a time, right around the turn of the new millennium, where he was poised to be the next Hugh Grant (not that anyone would want that title today, this was the end of the ‘90s so hear us out). He was up and coming, appearing in excellent fare like Gattaca, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Stephen Spielberg’s Kubrick salvage job, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, David Cronenberg’s ahead of its time eXistenZ, and David O. Russell’s I Heart Huckabees. 2004 seems to be the tipping point, however. Somewhere around Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, the dashing good looks of this meant to be matinee idol dissolved into a series of silly career choices. While he benefited from being one of the better Dr. Watson’s to Robert Downey Jr.‘s revisionist Sherlock Holmes, he’s seen his fortunes lag significantly - and he’s only 41 years old.


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Friday, Apr 4, 2014
Over time, we become comfortable with Alan Partridge's panic. His seeming inability to do anything right provides a wellspring of witty weirdness.

If there is such a thing as grace under pressure, he’s never heard of it. Instead, this longtime radio DJ and TV presenter only knows one thing when the odds are against him and the skit is hitting the fan: Panic! No, not in the traditional arms flailing and body twitching kind. Instead, Alan Partridge (a delightful Steve Coogan, who originated and co-created the role) uses his undeniable gift of slightly off-kilter gab to lie on his feet with quick, anxious dexterity. He can almost always talk his way both out of and into a scenario, sometimes in the same moment, often with limited overall success, but he’s a wizard while doing it. Mention a trip to the seaside and he’ll ponder on the sure to be fond memories - until it turns out you were there to spread the ashes of a dead loved one into the surf. Discuss a favorite film and he’ll offer his two cents worth, even if it turns out he’s mentioning another, less appropriate movie all together.


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Friday, Apr 4, 2014
Even with all its XXX gimmickry, Nymph()maniac remains grounded in character. From someone like Lars von Trier, we'd expect nothing less... and we get a lot more.

When last we left Lars von Trier’s epic exploration of one woman’s unwieldy sexuality and all the perverted permutations of same, our heroine Joe (as an adult, Charlotte Gainsbourg, as a youth, Stacy Martin) had just lost all sensation in her vagina. As she recounts her underage exploits and various home wrecking scenarios, including the sudden loss of sensation while living with the longtime object of her desires, Jerome (Shia LaBeouf), our attentive listener, a bookworm named Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard), links her lust-life to various works of literature and cultural/personal milestones. Before going forward, dealing with her life as an adult, the duo discuss religion, especially the differences between Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Catholicism. For Seligman, it’s a question of Christ’s suffering vs. Christ’s mercy. For Joe, it’s just another nonsensical analogy to her continuing condemnation of self.


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Thursday, Apr 3, 2014
When you think animation, do you automatically think Disney, Pixar, Anime, Miyazaki, Studio Ghilbi and/or stop motion. Here are ten terrific examples that will broaden your perspective.

Perhaps a better title here would be The Best Non-Disney, Non -Pixar, Non-Anime, Non-Miyazaki, Non-Studio Ghilbi, Non-Stop Motion Animated Films of All Time. Yes, believe it or not, there are other offerings out there in the history of the artform other than the pen and ink (now mostly CG) spectacle of the House of Mouse, its computer supported partner, the fascinating finesse of the Japanese, and the entire Nightmare Before the Fantastic Mr. Fox frame-by-frame conceit. We would never know it, however. The merchandising machine built by Uncle Walt and his workers more or less covers the globe with its glad tidings, and the other studios in the system—Fox, Dreamworks, Paramount, etc.—can’t help but play Ice Age/Madagascar/How I Shreked Your Dragon catch-up. That just leaves the outsiders, the foreign entries and the independent wannabes who desperately hope your don’t mind a lack of Mickey, Minnie, Buzz, Woody, my neighbor Totorro or Porco Rosso in your latest trip to the cineplex.


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Wednesday, Apr 2, 2014
No matter what the box office receipts say, The Raid 2 is of greater value (and has a higher body count) than Sabotage.

Don’t worry, there are still a couple more months for the summer blockbuster films to rule the box offices, (or maybe just a week or two when Captain America will rise to the top). But this past weekend saw the release of two action films, the gun-wielding monster Sabotage featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and the wily Indonesian martial arts film, The Raid 2. Fans of action films should skip over Sabotage, save their friends from seeing it, and instead all head to see The Raid 2 several times.


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