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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
Arts, Public Spectacle Why Renée Zellweger's Face Matters

Why Renée Zellweger's Face Matters

First, a pact. No making fun of Renée Zellweger. Instead of recoiling at her new look—the rounded eyes and chin, the uncanny valley of a new face molded from the kewpie features the camera knew so well—our first reaction should be to give Zellweger a hug. And if you're a...…
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Film, Film Reviews

Brad Pitt Leads Fury, Your All-Too-Typical "War Is Hell" Movie

A gloom that only the audience can see hangs over writer-director David Ayer's brutal war drama, Fury. It's April 1945, and we know that in weeks the Nazis will surrender. The war is already over — Hitler just hasn't admitted it. American sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) suspects as...…
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Film, Film Reviews

Young Ones Redeems the Sci-Fi Western

Jake Paltrow's Young Ones is a dustbowl Western with a sci-fi twist. It looks and sounds like the past: The plains are barren, the people wear cheap cotton and the score, by Nathan Johnson — all vibrating, beautiful melancholy — could be layered over any John Ford flick. But when...…
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Film, Film Reviews

Kill the Messenger Tells the Tragic, Real-Life Story of California Reporter Gary Webb

It was a mystery that reporter Gary Webb would have jumped on: a man who'd made powerful enemies allegedly committing suicide with two gunshots to the head. The tragedy is that Webb himself was the deceased. Michael Cuesta's earnest, ire-inducing Kill the Messenger is a David-and-Goliath story where truth is...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Quentin Tarantino on the New Beverly: “If People Come, Fine. If They Don't, Fuck Them.”

Quentin Tarantino on the New Beverly: “If People Come, Fine. If They Don't, Fuck Them.”

Quentin Tarantino stores his stockpile of 35mm movies in a vault he's never seen. “I've never gone through the Citizen Kane-like labyrinth,” he says. “It's kind of daunting. I'd rather just look at titles on a page and go, 'I've got all of this shit?!'” He does. All kinds of...…
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Film, Film Reviews

OMG, iPhones Are Hurting Our Relationships! Men, Women & Children Argues the Obvious

The tragedy of Jason Reitman's Men, Women & Children is that it was released the year it was made. A snapshot of today's cultural disconnection, in which Facebook, texting, World of Warcraft and streaming smut lure people away from dinner with their families, the film's so current that its observations...…
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Film, Film Reviews

Left Behind is Sinfully Boring

Every child who's thrown a tantrum, packed a bag and plotted to run away has shivered with the same vengeful thought: I wish I could see how sad they'll be when I'm gone. The Left Behind franchise implies that evangelicals haven't grown up. This new film version, the latest in...…
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Film, Film Reviews

The Boxtrolls Is the Cutest Kiddie Cartoon Ever Made About Hitler

The Boxtrolls is a kiddie charmer that makes you laugh, cower and think of Hitler. That's an unusual trifecta, but then again, this is an unusual film. If the German Expressionists were skilled at stop-motion animation, they'd have already made it. This is cartoon Caligari, a fable set on a...…
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Film, Film Reviews

Simon Pegg Gets the Walter Mitty Treatment in Hector and the Search for Happiness

Simon Pegg has always been more like a cartoon than a real boy. He's one part Charlie Brown to two parts Tintin, a round-faced runt who can channel both childlike depression and old-fashioned, cowlicked pluck. In Pegg's new film, Hector and the Search for Happiness, director Peter Chelsom simply allows...…
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Film, Film Reviews

Adam Wingard's The Guest Is a Chilling and Hilarious Thriller

Adam Wingard's The Guest opens with a wet-eyed woman (Sheila Kelley) sitting so still in a chair in her desert ranch house that all we hear is the clock loudly counting seconds. We sense that she's been sitting like this for months, and the film is charged with anticipation. Horror,...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle The 5 Most Fascinating Movies at the Toronto International Film Festival

The 5 Most Fascinating Movies at the Toronto International Film Festival

In September, the seasons change. After a summer sweating over the blockbuster box office, Hollywood is ready to roll out their serious awards contenders. The Toronto International Film Festival straddles both worlds, mixing low-budget genre flicks and daffy Midnight Madness chillers with Oscar hopefuls about girls on hikes, guys with...…
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Film,

How Kevin Smith Got Young Again

This summer, a prankster stole Kevin Smith's Twitter account and tweeted, "Before this comes out I want to state that I am a gay proud...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle <i>Tales of the Grim Sleeper</I> Uncovers New Victims and Shames the LAPD

Tales of the Grim Sleeper Uncovers New Victims and Shames the LAPD

Sixty-six-year-old British documentarian Nick Broomfield didn't blend in when he went cruising around South Central Los Angeles to retrace a 22-year serial killing spree for his upcoming doc Tales of the Grim Sleeper. Even with local prostitutes, crack addicts, and know-it-alls riding shotgun, the fearless filmmaker and his cameraman stuck...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle <i>Maps to the Stars</i> is David Cronenberg's Horrifying, Incestuous Version of L.A.

Maps to the Stars is David Cronenberg's Horrifying, Incestuous Version of L.A.

Director David Cronenberg sees monsters in everything: a pack of children (Brood), a television (Videodrome), entomology (The Fly), car wrecks (Crash), and even a woman with a vagina in her armpit (Rabid). It's not surprising that with his 22nd film, Maps to the Stars, Cronenberg is finally savaging Hollywood. It's...…
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Film,

In The Identical, Elvis Lives — and His Twin Does, Too

The Identical is Elvis slash fiction that could have been written by a spinster church organist. Its premise is intriguing: What if Jesse Presley, Elvis' twin brother who was stillborn at birth, was in fact secretly given to a traveling minister (Ray Liotta) and his infertile wife (Ashley Judd)? What...…
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Film,

The Future Is Stranger Than He Thought: Zero Theorem Director Terry Gilliam Explains What Brazil Got Wrong

"I'll always be anti-authoritarian, as long as I live," says Terry Gilliam, the comic provocateur who's been taking aim at the establishment for more than four decades. The only thing that changes: his targets. In Life of Brian, it was religion. In Brazil, the government. And in his latest film,...…
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Film,

Bill Hader Can Make You Cry: The SNL Star on Digging Deep in The Skeleton Twins

Four years ago, comedian Bill Hader told his agent he wanted to do a drama. It took a while. "I used to think typecasting wasn't a thing, and it totally is," Hader admits. "That's an industry feeling: ‘How can I take that person seriously when I know they're capable of...…
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Film, Film Reviews

A Chopped-Up Eleanor Rigby Suffers a Fate Worse Than Loneliness

In two minutes, The Beatles captured the empty life of sad singleton Eleanor Rigby. Director Ned Benson is devoting three films to her namesake — a New York divorcée (Jessica Chastain) — and this first entry, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them, barely explains her at all. Wan and adrift,...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle We Need to Talk About <i>Forrest Gump</i>

We Need to Talk About Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump has turned 20 and is celebrating its birthday with a weeklong IMAX release. It's a significant milestone for the six-time Academy Award winner. Today, 1994 is as far away from the present as the Vietnam War was from it. Forrest Gump was a fable without a moral, the...…
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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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