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Scott Foundas 

Film,

Is Ryan Gosling Parodying Masculinity?

The Place Beyond the Pines opens with a close-up of Ryan Gosling's chiseled abdomen — surely one of the more salable commodities in movies today — and heavy breathing on the soundtrack (or was that just the person next to me in the screening room?) Then in a single, five-minute...…
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Film, Film Reviews

Spring Breakers Review: Godard Meets Girls Gone Wild

"All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun," goes Jean-Luc Godard's quip. Add to that a few more girls and their bikinis, and you have the rough formula for Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, which looks like the most expensive Girls Gone Wild video ever made...…
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Film,

Beyond the Hills Review: Cristian Mungiu’s Powerful Film About a Crisis of Faith

The hills of Cristian Mungiu's Beyond the Hills (Dupa dealuri) are a barren canvas of straw grass and leafless trees, framed by a winter's sky. Nothing, it would seem, can grow here — save for fanatical faith. It is on this barren land that a priest known as Papa (Valeriu...…
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Film,

Oz the Great and Powerful Is Neither of Those Things

It's a bad omen when, early on in Oz the Great and Powerful, we learn that the full given name of its wizard is Oscar, also the ceremony that star James Franco once presided over as calamitously as he does this sagging Disney tentpole, a gargantuan attempt to turn L...…
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Film, River Phoenix's <i>Dark Blood</i>: Not the Epitaph He Deserves

River Phoenix's Dark Blood: Not the Epitaph He Deserves

When River Phoenix died in October 1993, he was three weeks away from completing his performance in Dark Blood, an $8 million indie film that had already done five weeks of shooting on location in Southern Utah. In this lurid modern film noir, Phoenix was cast as "Boy," a mysterious,...…
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Film,

Jack the Giant Slayer Review: Bryan Singer's Adventure Film Has an Old-Fashioned Spirit

To paraphrase Stephen Sondheim, there are big, tall, terrible, fleshy, bulbous-headed giants in the sky in Jack the Giant Slayer. And what would a big-budget, mildly revisionist, 3-D spin on "Jack and the Beanstalk" be if those fearsome beasties didn't somehow make it down to sea level, where a storybook...…
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Film, Berlin Discoveries: Greatness Emerges at the Year's First Major International Film Festival

Berlin Discoveries: Greatness Emerges at the Year's First Major International Film Festival

If Sundance signals the annual launch of American indie cinema’s new product line, the 63-year-old Berlin Film Festival (February 7-17) offers the year’s first major look at what the rest of the world has to offer. In addition to the 19-film official competition -- this year presided over by jury...…
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Film, Film Reviews

Like Someone in Love Review: An Audacious Romance About a Tokyo Call Girl

Like the yearning Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke torch song that lends it its title, Abbas Kiarostami's Like Someone in Love is a sly, teasing riff on the heart's irrational stirrings. But the film's true spirit is even better encapsulated by "Training a Parrot," an early–20th century painting by the Japanese...…
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Film, Steven Soderbergh and Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns Talk <em>Side Effects</em>, Collaboration and Big Pharma's Dominance

Steven Soderbergh and Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns Talk Side Effects, Collaboration and Big Pharma's Dominance

"I've been lucky in that I've always worked with writers whose voices are so specific that there really isn't any way to recalibrate things without them being intimately involved," Steven Soderbergh says as he swivels in a chair in the happily cluttered Flatiron District loft space that doubles as his...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Everything You Need to Know About What Happened at Sundance

Everything You Need to Know About What Happened at Sundance

Bold, impassioned, ecstatically beautiful, Shane Carruth's Upstream Color -- a lyric reverie on loss, love, and various invasions of the body -- was in a class by itself at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Well, let's say it was a class shared by a more conventional but no less heady...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Stacie Passon's Superb <em>Concussion</em> Is Why We Have a Sundance in the First place

Stacie Passon's Superb Concussion Is Why We Have a Sundance in the First place

Sometimes, one film in a festival lineup can help to reveal another in sharper relief. To wit, one of the loveliest entries in Sundance 2013's U.S. Dramatic Competition, James Ponsoldt's deeply felt coming-of-age drama The Spectacular Now, looked even better after the premiere of The Way Way Back, a deeply...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Sundance 2013: America's Black Indie Film Renaissance

Sundance 2013: America's Black Indie Film Renaissance

You could hear a pin drop during the first Sundance screening of writer-director Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale, an enormously powerful and moving debut feature based on the shooting death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant by Oakland transit police in the early hours of New Year's Day, 2009. Coogler opens the film--one of...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Sundance 2013: Sex with James Franco, Sultry Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Radcliffe's Jew-Fro, and a Great Film From Jordan

Sundance 2013: Sex with James Franco, Sultry Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Radcliffe's Jew-Fro, and a Great Film From Jordan

In his brief remarks before the first public screening of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Robert Redford praised the Sundance Institute's ongoing filmmaker development labs as "our core," noting that the festival itself was conceived "to create an audience for the filmmakers in our lab program."...…
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Film,

Michael Cimino Revisits His Notorious Flop Heaven's Gate, Which Maybe Was a Masterpiece All Along

"This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." So goes the adage from John Ford's 1962 classic The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and so it has gone for Heaven's Gate, the class-war Western written and directed by one of Ford's truest disciples among contemporary...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle 5 Films People Will Be Talking About at Sundance

5 Films People Will Be Talking About at Sundance

For the next 10 days, all Hollywood eyes--and those of many a filmgoer--will turn toward the frigid wilds of Park City, Utah, reportedly experiencing its chilliest winter in a decade. Their collective hope: to discover at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival (January 17 through 26) the next Beasts of the...…
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Film,

French Crime Master Claude Sautet's 1971 Film Max and the Junkmen Finally Arrives in L.A.

The Max of Claude Sautet's 1971 Max and the Junkmen (Max et les Ferrailleurs) is a Paris detective in charcoal topcoat and matching fedora, hovering like an angel of death on the periphery of a criminal underworld whose prize catches keep slipping through his fingers. A former judge who quit...…
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Film, How an LAPD Homicide Detective Became One of Hollywood's Top Screenwriters

How an LAPD Homicide Detective Became One of Hollywood's Top Screenwriters

"Like a lot of other stuff in my life, I sort of fell backwards into it," screenwriter Will Beall says of his unexpected perch atop Hollywood's A-list. Unexpected, because just five years ago Beall was busy working for Tinseltown's second most famous employer, the L.A. Police Department, where he was...…
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Film,

Sopranos Creator David Chase Talks About His New Movie Not Fade Away

David Chase looks like he wants to whack somebody. Not just anybody, mind you, but the middle-aged guy with the bad dye job a few tables away from us in the Library Bar of the Regency Hotel. "Hiya!" bellows the dye job into his phone. "I'm sittin' here watchin' the...…
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Film, Film Reviews Our 2012 Film Poll: Movie Critics Nationwide Pick the Year's Best

Our 2012 Film Poll: Movie Critics Nationwide Pick the Year's Best

Squeaking by with an Obama-size victory margin, Paul Thomas Anderson's thrillingly strange The Master tops our Film Critics Poll this year, ahead of Kathryn Bigelow's electrifying hunt-for–bin Laden procedural, Zero Dark Thirty. Although set some 60 years apart, both films offered portraits of a traumatized America trying to reassert itself...…
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Film,

Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty Is a Thrilling Manhunt

'Just so you know, it's going to take a while," says the CIA officer to his newly arrived colleague at the start of Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty. The year is 2003, the place a secret prison (or "black site") somewhere in the deserts of the Middle East or Asia,...…
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