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    ‘Life of Crime’ is a fun but lesser Elmore Leonard adaptation

    Ordell Robbie (Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def) and Louis Gara (John Hawkes) get much more than they bargained for after kidnapping the wife of a corrupt real-estate developer (Tim Robbins). As it turns out, Frank Dawson has no intentions of paying the ransom for the well-being of his wife, Mickey (Jennifer Aniston). He had been seeking a way to leave his wife of many years for his mistress (Isla Fisher), and fortunately Ordell and Louis took care of the messiness of actually leaving Mickey for him by kidnapping her. More

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    The Definitive Religious Movies: 50-41

    As we are full-on in the Lent season, our definitive list will focus on films about religion or some aspect of it. The #1 qualification to be on this list is to deliberately focus on religion, a religious figure, or have the presence of a religion/faith as an integral plot point. For example, most of […] More

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    Sundance 2014: Most Anticipated in U.S. Dramatic Competition

    About the Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition: “Presenting the world premieres of 16 narrative feature films, the Dramatic Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American independent film.” The Skeleton Twins  Directed by Craig Johnson Written by Craig Johnson and Mark Heyman Saturday Night Live alumni Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig headline […] More

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    Sunday Shorts: ‘Welcome’, starring Winona Ryder

    Today’s film is the 2007 short Welcome. The film is written and directed by Kirsten Dunst, and stars Alexandra Gold Jourden, John Hawkes, and Winona Ryder. Ryder first came to public attention with a key supporting role in 1988’s Beetlejuice, before garnering the lead role in Heathers in the following year. Her filmography includes features […] More

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    Eastbound and Down Ep. 4.07 “Chapter 28” ‘celebrates’ a Kenny Powers Christmas

    From the beginning, Eastbound and Down’s always been a show that operates on two narrative levels. The first of these is obvious: it’s the story of a man discovering the value of family, the baseball player finally rounding third and returning home. The second isn’t as easy to parse out in later seasons, but was quite prevalent in season one: Kenny Powers is the epitome of American’s obsession with the vapid, a satire of our culture’s addiction to celebrity and how one man gets lost in it – a materialization of all things material, so to speak. “Chapter 28” is a perfect marriage of these two ideas, taking on Famous Kenny and American Christmas in one fell swoop – not only delivering another outstanding episode in the series, but an important penultimate episode that narrows the focus heading into the final chapter. More

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    TIFF 2013: ‘Life of Crime’ a fine addition to canon of Elmore Leonard adaptations

    With the timing of a well-orchestrated heist, the latest screen adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel closes this year’s Toronto Film Festival. Given his recent passing and the well-deserved plaudits from various luminaries of pen and screen, his rap sheet has been celebrated over the past few weeks. Based on Leonard’s novel The Switch, writer and director Daniel Schechter has managed to embezzle a fine addition to the long list of lean Leonard works. Although it doesn’t quite hit the jackpot, it does manage to purloin some fine criminal characters and a gutsy group of belly laughs to boot. More

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    More Equal Than Others: Six Films of 2012 Done Better

    For better or worse, films don’t exist in a vacuum. If literature derives from itself, and, according to Marshall McLuhan, the content in any new medium is always the same as in the old, then films don’t exactly have a wealth of opportunities to be original. You can always compare a film to one that […] More

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    ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and ‘The Sessions’

    Josh Spiegel swaps in for Ricky D, joining Simon Howell and Julian Carrington to discuss two late-year fest darlings – which, of course, also makes them Oscar hopefuls. First up is David O. Russell’s bipolar rom-com Silver Linings Playbook, with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert de Niro; next is the John Hawkes vehicle / […] More

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    One of the best films of 2012, ‘Lincoln’ is a thrilling and exciting piece of American history

    Lincoln Directed by Steven Spielberg Written by Tony Kushner USA, 2012 The American political system is hopelessly fractured. Its legislators are viciously divided on how to govern the nation. The president, about to begin his second term in office on a groundswell of grassroots public support, is either too much or not enough of a […] More

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