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Amy Nicholson

Amy Nicholson 

Bio:
Amy Nicholson is the head film critic for the LA Weekly, and is syndicated across the 11 papers in the Voice Media Group chain and co-hosts its weekly Voice Film Club podcast. She has screened submissions for Sundance, AFI, and the Los Angeles Film Festival, and holds a double B.A. in Film Studies and Anthropology... more
Film, Film Reviews

The Congress, a Sci-Fi Hollywood Satire, Stars Robin Wright as Robin Wright

After The Princess Bride made Robin Wright a star, she shocked Hollywood by saying no. No to The Firm and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. No to Jurassic Park, Dirty Dancing, Born on the Fourth of July and Batman Forever. She even said no to the cover of Vanity Fair...…
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Film, Film Reviews

In Frank, Michael Fassbender Plays a Musician Who Wears a Giant Fake Head

Genius is hell, both for the blessed and those stuck in the shadows, cursed to spend a lifetime smashing their heads against the glass. In its presence we find ourselves dwarfed and dumb, like moths. We know we're before brilliance we can't comprehend — and we know we'll never have...…
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Film, Film Reviews

The Women of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Live to Suffer — and Little Else

Sin City, population unknown but dropping every minute, is a gorgeous place, but you wouldn't want to live there. Even the shadows and broken glass are beautiful in this black-and-white world. Only the women — all gorgeous — give the streets a pop of color. That is, only the women...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle The Best Movie Theater Chain in America is Coming to Downtown L.A.

The Best Movie Theater Chain in America is Coming to Downtown L.A.

It takes a movie theater chain from Austin to prove that LA's downtown revitalization is permanent. After four years of scouting locations in Los Angeles—some as far west as Westwood—The Alamo Drafthouse has finally chosen a spot to build a nine-screen multiplex: right off the subway at 7th and Metro. “The...…
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Film, Film Reviews <i>The Expendables 3</i> Refuses to Be Expendable or Especially Interesting

The Expendables 3 Refuses to Be Expendable or Especially Interesting

Titles don't get more ironic than The Expendables 3. The franchise claims to be about death-seeking mercenaries yet stars '80s action heroes who refuse to die. Three films in, everyone in the sprawling team is still alive and ass-kicking, save for Bruce Willis, whose million-dollar-a-day asking salary has caused his...…
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Film, Film Reviews

The Giver Teaches What Humanity Has Forgotten

The Giver is more simple and raw than the rest of today's teen dystopias that try to cram in unnecessary backstory and love triangles. (Author Lois Lowry published her novel in 1993, which makes it officially the cool aunt of Katniss and the kids.) The story picks up several generations...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Misused by Hollywood, Robin Williams Found Joy on Stage

Misused by Hollywood, Robin Williams Found Joy on Stage

In Robin Williams' last great film, 2009's World's Greatest Dad, a black-as-pitch comedy directed by his old friend Bobcat Goldthwait, he played a miserable monster—a teacher who manipulates his son's death for his own popularity. His boy (Daryl Sabara), the school loser, has accidentally strangled himself while masturbating, and Williams...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle With <i>Step Up All In</i>, a Great Dance Franchise Stumbles

With Step Up All In, a Great Dance Franchise Stumbles

“Does this always have to end up in a big, giant dance battle?” sighs Step Up 2 and 3 stalwart Moose (Adam G. Sevani) in the franchise's fifth and newest film, Step Up All In. Well, yes—that's the idea. Every entry has climaxed in sweaty, glorious success: these successive bands...…
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Film,

Daniel Radcliffe Knows He Makes You Feel Old

Daniel Radcliffe's first trip to Comic-Con kicked off like the world's cuddliest Nuremberg rally. This summer, just minutes after he walked into Hall H, the hangar-sized sardine can of 6,500 people sang him "Happy Birthday." It was an emotional moment for everyone. "The fact that I was turning 25 slightly...…
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Film, Film Reviews <i>Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles</i> Betrays Everything Grand and Grimy About the Original

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Betrays Everything Grand and Grimy About the Original

Before you buy that tiny box turtle in Chinatown, know that it can live for 100 years. Which means that among all the Mad Libs nonsense of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — a comic book–turned–media phenomenon that has always half-admitted it's a goof — at least the teenage part...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Raccoons Have Real-Life Superpowers: An Expert Fact-Checks <i>Guardians of the Galaxy</i>

Raccoons Have Real-Life Superpowers: An Expert Fact-Checks Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy doesn't pretend to be accurate. It is, after all, a space romp starring a laconic tree. But the surprise is its science holds up—kinda. Yes, Star Lord could survive in space without protection for a full minute. And yes, according to raccoon expert Dr. Suzanne MacDonald,...…
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Film, Film Reviews

In Calvary, Brendan Gleeson Shows He's One of the Best Actors Alive

In Calvary, Brendan Gleeson plays a Catholic priest who plods through a rustic Irish village that's more brutal than beautiful. The beach is gray, the waves are choppy, and the wind whips his ankle-length black cassock as though every step were a fight against nature. In some ways, it is...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Love Female-Driven Movies? Stop Supporting Bad Ones Like <i>Lucy</i>

Love Female-Driven Movies? Stop Supporting Bad Ones Like Lucy

A drama critic once told me the difference between film and theater criticism. “If you tell people to see a bad movie, they'll still keep watching movies,” he explained. “But if you tell people to see a bad play, they might never go to the theater again.” He was right,...…
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Film, Film Reviews

Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo Gets Richer as It Gets Less Bizarre

Mood Indigo is bitter candy, a heartbreaker that uses sugar as a trap. The director, Michel Gondry, has a brilliant, contradictory brain. He's a swoony pessimist, a big-dreaming romantic who believes in love at first sight but never lets his films end with a kiss. Instead, his idea of a...…
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Film,

Anna Kendrick Had Her Heart Broken by a Hot Dog

"I forget that people think that I'm the girl with a ponytail and a briefcase," says Anna Kendrick, perched on a couch in a T-shirt and jeans. Her career-launching role as a prim go-getter in Up in the Air is so far removed from her actual self that she's still...…
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Film,

Richard Linklater Explains His Crazy Experiment to Shoot a Film Over 12 Years

"It's the secret films you have to watch out for," Richard Linklater jokes about his new movie, Boyhood, a furtive experiment that he kept quiet for more than a decade. In 2002, he chose a first-grader named Eller Coltrane, the 6-year-old son of two Texas artists; cast Patricia Arquette and...…
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Film, Film Reviews

Land Ho!, a Road Trip Movie About Horny Seniors in Iceland

Land Ho! is a How Grandpa Got His Groove Back for the geezer set, a buddy road trip through Iceland, starring two divorced men with a combined age of 150 years. The writer-directors, Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, are 30 and 34, respectively, young enough to be their leading men's...…
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Film, Film Reviews

Earth to Echo Updates E. T. for the iPhone Age

Earth to Echo is a slender kiddie flick about a quartet of preteens and their palm-sized alien pal, which is at once bland, well-intentioned and utterly terrifying about the mental development of modern children. As in the most honest kids films, our pint-size heroes admit to being isolated, unhappy and...…
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Film, Film Reviews

Deliver Us From Deliver Us From Evil

Horror, like porn, can be judged only by its effect on your pulse. If you jerked in your seat, it served its function. Biology requires us to react to jump scares, just as it urges a lonely man to thrill to a great set of tits. But triggering a coronary reaction...…
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Nothing Bad Can Happen Mixes Horror, Punk and Jesus

Katrin Gebbe's Nothing Bad Can Happen is a gutting German drama that asks if martyrs can be accomplices to their own torture. Its modern saint is a homeless teenager named Tore (Julius Feldmeier), a born-again punk rocker who rolls with a group called The Jesus Freaks. He doesn't attend an...…
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