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Melissa Anderson 

Film, Film Reviews

Ginger & Rosa Review: Elle Fanning and Alice Englert Come of Age in 1960s London

Private dramas unfold against the backdrop of broader historical terrors in Sally Potter's absorbing coming-of-age drama Ginger & Rosa, set in London in 1962, as fears of nuclear war loom. For Ginger (Elle Fanning), the more central of the two eponymous teenage protagonists, the world — on both the micro...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle 10 Movies We're Excited to See in 2013

10 Movies We're Excited to See in 2013

See also: *Top 10 Films of 2012 *More L.A. Weekly Film Coverage Most of the blathering this year about the death of the movies has already evaporated from the mind, like so much inert gas. But one gnomic pronouncement endures: Leos Carax describing cinema as "a beautiful island with a…
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Lay the Favorite Review: Rebecca Hall Almost Saves Stephen Frears' Sports-Betting Film

A wan comedy about gambling that takes no risks, Stephen Frears' Lay the Favorite has none of the stinging sordidness of The Grifters, his 1990 movie about chiselers and con artists. That tight, nimble adaptation of Jim Thompson's high-pulp, strained-through, Greek-tragedy 1963 novel endures as the only other good film...…
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Film, <em>How to Survive a Plague</em> Review: New Doc About AIDS Organization ACT UP

How to Survive a Plague Review: New Doc About AIDS Organization ACT UP

In his filmmaking debut, journalist David France, who wrote the first story about ACT UP for our sister paper the Village Voice, assembles a thoroughly reported chronicle of that direct-action advocacy group's most vital era, from its founding in 1987 (six years into the AIDS epidemic) through 1995. Expertly compiled...…
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Film, <em>10 Years</em> Review: Channing Tatum's Back Again

10 Years Review: Channing Tatum's Back Again

An amiable, seriocomic, high school–reunion movie, 10 Years succeeds in pulling off a fine varsity talent show. Although some performers — notably Channing Tatum, who also produced, and Ari Graynor — are more appealing than others, the film is admirably consistent in its nostalgia-averse exploration of the uncertainties that define...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Whitney Houston's <em>Sparkle</em>: A Guide to the Diva's Checkered Film Career

Whitney Houston's Sparkle: A Guide to the Diva's Checkered Film Career

In anticipation of the release of the remake of the 1976 girl-group melodrama Sparkle -- Whitney Houston's posthumous film appearance and her return to movies after a 15-year absence -- we look back at the handful of celluloid performances by the woman once known as "the Voice." Houston's pipes certainly get…
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Film, <i>Beasts of the Southern Wild</i> Review

Beasts of the Southern Wild Review

A zealous gumbo of regionalism, magical realism, post-Katrina allegory, myth and ecological parable, Beasts of the Southern Wild, the southern Louisiana–set debut feature of 29-year-old Benh Zeitlin, rests, often cloyingly, on the tiny shoulders of Quvenzhané Wallis. Her character, Hushpuppy, the film's 6-year-old (also Wallis' age during filming) protagonist and...…
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Film, <i>Ted</i> Review: Seth MacFarlane of <i>Family Guy</i> Debuts as a Film Director

Ted Review: Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy Debuts as a Film Director

Fans of Seth MacFarlane's Fox mainstay Family Guy who wish he would run afoul of FCC regulations every week might be pleased with Ted, the story of a 35-year-old man and his foul-talking teddy bear. Plushies, too, might be turned on by the pot-smoking, whore-banging CGI toy ursus of the...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle <em>Brave</em> Review: Pixar's Latest Is the Rare Family Film That Actually Has Something to Say

Brave Review: Pixar's Latest Is the Rare Family Film That Actually Has Something to Say

With her flame-colored ringlets, Merida, the barely adolescent heroine of Pixar's 13th feature, looks like a wee Rebekah Brooks, maybe a pint-size Florence Welch. Despite these resemblances, Merida remains an original: Brave, set in the Scottish Highlands in the 10th century, is the animation studio's first film with a female…
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Film, <i>The Invisible War</i> Review

The Invisible War Review

In The Invisible War, Kirby Dick lays bare the scandalous epidemic of rape in the U.S. armed forces — the war on women who fight wars. Told through an array of talking heads — including servicewomen (and a few servicemen) who recount their attacks, military psychiatrists, NCIS agents, attorneys, journalists...…
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Film, <i>Children of Paradise</i> in a New Restoration

Children of Paradise in a New Restoration

What's left to be said about Marcel Carné's towering, intimate epic of early 19th–century love and the lives of performers, often heralded as the greatest French film of all time? That Children of Paradise, being shown at the Playhouse and Royal theaters June 1-7 in a new 4K restoration, was...…
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Film, <i>We Have a Pope</i> Review

We Have a Pope Review

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Film, <i>The Hunger Games</i> Review

The Hunger Games Review

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Film, <i>Last Days Here</i> Review

Last Days Here Review

When we're introduced to emaciated, bug-eyed and trembling Bobby Liebling, the 50-ish frontman of the frequently dormant cult metal band Pentagram and the subject of this small-scale but weirdly engrossing documentary, he's showing off his past stage outfits: perfectly preserved hip-huggers purchased in 1967, "paisley shit," chiffon scarves. "I was...…
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Film, <i>Friends With Kids</i> Review

Friends With Kids Review

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Film, Oscar-Nominated <i>Bullhead</i> and <i>Michael</i> at Cinefamily

Oscar-Nominated Bullhead and Michael at Cinefamily

The clean, orderly home has a particular hold on the Austrian imagination — specifically the basement, the nation's subterranean subconscious. This has not been lost on native filmmakers: Rainer Frimmel edited the video confessionals of a Viennese hospital orderly into the captivating Notes From the Basement (2001), while the brilliant...…
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Film, <i>Crazy Horse</i> Review

Crazy Horse Review

Recording "Les Filles du Crazy," an anthem they'll later lip-synch onstage, half a dozen women — performers at the Crazy Horse, Paris' classy nudie cabaret — sing of themselves, "They are the soldiers of the erotic army." The military metaphor proves apt, as Frederick Wiseman's spellbinding documentary on the Crazy...…
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Glee in the Megachurch

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Pina Bausch in 3-D, Directed By Wim Wenders

"You just have to get crazier" were the words of advice mighty choreographer Pina Bausch once gave to one of her dancers, who fondly recalls the moment in Wim Wenders' soaring Pina, a 3-D tribute to the woman who revolutionized the art with her tanztheater ("dance theater") — and who...…
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Film, Sleeping Beauty Review

Sleeping Beauty Review

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