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Thursday, August 7 2014

Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. 2014

Sweden may be the 800-lb gorilla of Northern European cinema, but its neighbors have come on strong.


The Golden Woods of ‘Without Warning’ Can’t Kick the Camp

"It was a sci-fi and we could ham it up, so we did—and it was great,” Tarah Nutter says about Without Warning. While "ham it up" fits the film, "great" is less apt.


Wednesday, August 6 2014

‘Web Junkie’ Reveals How China Re-Programs Its Internet Addicts

The question of reality -- what it might be, for whom -- swirls at the center this terrific and shrewdly provocative documentary set inside the Daxing Boot Camp.


Killer Choreography Consumes the ‘Ong Bak Trilogy’

Tony Jaa still has a long way to go before he becomes a household name, but as this box set proves, he's well on his way—and may just be able to afford an acting lesson or two as well.


Tuesday, August 5 2014

When Children Are Imprisoned for Life: ‘15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story’

While it's easy to call children predators, to be afraid of them and judge them, it's imperative to look at how they come to embody such fears.


‘Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me’ Invites the Viewer to Drink Up a Vibrant Life

Watching Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, the primary impression left is that Stritch had many more stories to tell.


Monday, August 4 2014

‘Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words’

When Richard Nixon tell his story of humble beginnings, it doesn't sound new or revealing, but rather, creepily familiar.


Friday, August 1 2014

‘The Kill Team’: When is War Murder?

What The Kill Team goes on to do is utterly unnerving: it draws connections between the poised interviewee and the soldier in country, between one young man's different times and places, his stories and his circumstances.


‘Get On Up’: James Brown Imagined

"You see where this thing is going" from the first frames of Get On Up. But you also wish you didn't; you wish that it would have been smarter, more nuanced, and less fantastic.


‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Has Lots of Boys and “The Girl”

Gamora's role as The Girl is key to the appealing formula of Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie that delivers to expectations like nobody's business.


‘Slander’ Airs Out the Dirty Laundry of the Genteel ‘50’s

Slander hasn't dated much at all; it still engages the viewer with something harsh and sordid under its veneer of '50s gentility.


Thursday, July 31 2014

Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’ Interprets the Bible With Intensity

The film retells the story of Noah's Ark filtered through Aronofsky's intensity, rather than the pageantry of the faith-movie industry.


Wednesday, July 30 2014

‘Fallen City’ and Life, as It Is, After the Earthquake

None of the answers in Fallen City seem simple, as the film offers three stories of survivors after the 2008 earthquake in Beichuan.


Have Our ‘Hearts and Minds’ Really Changed?

There are lessons aplenty about Vietnam in Hearts and Minds—it's a shame we still haven’t learned them.


Tuesday, July 29 2014

In ‘The Big Chill’, Cynicism is the Illusion

Never heavy-handed in its response to Reagan's "Morning in America", The Big Chill shows loss, defeat and grief while still being funny.


Monday, July 28 2014

‘Love Child’ Crosses the Line Between Real Life and Virtual Life

The parents of the dead child declared that online gaming impaired their judgment, their comprehension, their fundamental life skills.


‘Maidentrip’ Is a Journey Across the Sea and Into Adulthood

Laura Dekker was born to be a sailor, a fact she proves in her successful solo sail around the world in Maidentrip.


Friday, July 25 2014

Scarlett Johansson Gets Goopy in ‘Lucy’

This might be as close to a point as Lucy can get, the essential illogic of movies, of illusion, of delusion.


The Glory of ‘Hercules’ and the Glory of Dwayne Johnson

Sweating and bleeding, swinging maces and destroying architecture, Hercules imposes his will by way of his body, the legend becoming a truth in spite of itself.


Woody Allen’s ‘Magic in the Moonlight’ Considers the Value of Illusion

Stanley rejects the very notion of an afterlife, bitterly noting, like so many Woody Allen characters before him, that our current existence is all we get.


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