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Twitter Review: Stay

2005’s ‘Stay’ is too aggressively off, fostering sensitivity to its head game rather than engagement in the story. Gosling holds it together

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Aussie crime thriller ‘The Square’ is poised to explore guilt in a handful of characters but instead becomes a ridiculous, contrived tragedy

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Against its Swede forebear, ‘Let Me In’ accumulates minor changes that make it too insistent. Fidelity is a pleasant surprise but not enough

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Dizzyingly fragmented, Welles’ ‘F for Fake’ builds layers of credible story exploring authenticity. ‘This is true, you know.’ No, you don’t.

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‘Dragon Tattoo’ has a damaged, sharp heroine; compelling depravity; a fair mystery; and no fat. But it’s oddly amorphous and fixated on rape

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‘It Might Get Loud’ never does, and the guitar-star summit lacks chemistry. Still, it’s always engaging, and The Edge deserves his own movie

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I found Snyder’s ‘Watchmen’ merely highly competent (and far too fetishistic), but given that the comic was ‘unfilmable,’ he did damned good

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Unlike most monster movies, ‘[Rec]’ builds horror along with chaos. Near the end, it tells when it should hint, but it’s invisibly skillful.

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‘Treme’ S1 starts slowly, has some tedious characters, and is too proudly authentic, but Simon’s team remains expert at resonant microcosms.

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‘Adoration’ is a dispiriting Egoyan misfire, a too-blunt but intriguingly indirect meditation on terrorism that then excavates dull motives.

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Aside from canonizing its subject -- especially in the excruciating bookends -- ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ is crackling, sharp, and outraged fun

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‘Justified’ S1: Sly performances, character ambiguity, sharply natural dialogue, and propulsive violence elevate this backwoods pulp fiction

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‘The Messenger’ is unerring on its own dramatic terms but misses an opportunity by offering character over punishing war-death notifications

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‘Timecrimes’ is compact and skillful, but it’s all plot and no character. ‘Primer’ (culturesnob.net/l/12) is similar but far superior

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The awaited Jacob/MIB episode of ‘Lost’ was penned by series bigwigs but merely underlined already-obvious moral relativism. Gallingly dull.

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‘(500) Days of Summer’ has a good hook and nails relationship details, but it’s too cute and frustratingly undisciplined and self-satisfied.

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Based on a memoir, the facile, impatient ‘An Education’ is incredible, and glosses over its most compelling element: the facilitating family

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‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ balances Dahl’s aggressive oddity with Anderson’s preciousness; given Wes’ recent missteps, animation is a promising path

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Movie-loving ‘Dead Snow’ deals engagingly with undying evil and pointless greed, but the Nazi-zombie trifle is mostly large with intestines.

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Twitter Review: Sugar

‘Sugar’ too broadly sketches Iowa and cuts corners with baseball, but its subversion of sports-movie expectations is refreshingly authentic.

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Saddled with too much emotional baggage, the great-looking ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ is nearly joyless but in its goodbyes finds resonance

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Blocked in the U.S., Miike’s ‘Masters of Horror’ episode is primal and fascinatingly transgressive, but the acting might be most horrifying.

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Retro horror ‘House of the Devil’ is so patient and sublimely creepy that it’s easy to forgive its ultimate silliness. An assured throwback.

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The nimble, expert ‘Up in the Air’ only seems to endorse its protagonist’s self-satisfied nihilism, but it fails to deeply pierce his armor.

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‘The Informant!’ imposes a screwball score and exclamation point on a story that’s absurd but rarely funny. Only Damon’s investment engages.

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‘Invention of Lying’ has a simple, resonant premise but is made without rigor. Only intermittent ingenuity saves it from offensive laziness.

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Like Selick’s other animations, ‘Coraline’ is merely weird. While imaginative, meticulous, and thematically rich, it’s dull and oddly inert.

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Finished Battlestar Galactica. Can I sue Ronald D. Moore to get 3,234 minutes back? Loved the conception and arc; often hated the execution.

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‘Hurt Locker’ overplays its coda but is an intense serial with authenticity and narrative momentum, and the script lets the actors carry it.

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‘Harvard Beats Yale’ ably manages character, context, and Gore/Bush digressions, but it fumbles the game: erratic pacing and odd inclusions.

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Twitter Review: Moon

The sci-fi of ‘Moon’ is philosophical, humane, rigorous, and austere, and I adore the robot’s hopeful emoticon expressions; that feels right

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‘Anvil!’ merely repeats Spinal Tap’s satire and has too much Lips and too little Robb, but the duo’s determination is touching and truly sad

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After watching ‘Paranormal Activity,’ our smoke alarms sounded at irregular intervals throughout the night. Why are my keys on the floor?

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Creepy but generic, an otherwise austere ‘Paranormal Activity’ would have unsettled more sans the extra-diegetic rumble conditioning viewers

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‘Crash’ is the dead horse that still gallops. Most of what’s here says more about the haters than the film: Link

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I love the elegant subversion of history in ‘Inglourious Basterds,’ how the Basterds themselves are MacGuffins, and QT’s endless patience.

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Saddened but not surprised by the death of Vic Chesnutt. Here’s an interview I did with him earlier this year: Link

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There might be no greater joy than listening to one’s mother read ‘Walter the Farting Dog’ to one’s not-quite-two-year-old child

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Now *this* is seriously reflexive: Link

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With the broad rubbing hornily against the observant, the clear-eyed ‘Adventureland’ views an awkward age with fondness and well-aged shame.

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It’s messy and too telegraphed, but ‘Thirst’ employs vampirism probingly, is anchored by two great performances, and is disgustingly funny.

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“There are movies that bring us a pleasure that’s neither definable nor defensible”: Link. Truest with youthful things

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Twitter Review: Grace

Primally repulsive and sad, ‘Grace’ is an honest, thorough metaphor for early motherhood, and clever and light with its icky cryptic horrors

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Ebert:Many readers hated “Knowing,” and many will hate “The Box.” What can I say? I’m not here to agree with you. Link

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Dog of Culture Snob is the cover model for Weezer’s “Raditude”: Link. It’s gone to her head, clearly.

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‘Drag Me to Hell’ has expert touches (the handkerchief/car bit) but Raimi mostly revels in fun, repulsive, throwaway visual/aural aggression

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“There’s more ... discussion revolving around movie trailers ... than there is on actual movies themselves”: Link

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Stripping the vampire flick of baroque affectations, del Toro’s ‘Cronos’ is simple but rich, concerned with addiction, corruption, and aging

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‘Duplicity’ revels in triviality. Corporate intrigue in movies is serious business, but here everything is light, and romance fits right in.

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Zombie’s ‘Halloween’ purveys trite backstory, poorly mimics iconic moments, and jacks up the T&A, but it finds in its final moments a voice.

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I caught a glimpse of Bruce Davison’s tremendous hair during the shooting of this ... errr ... film? Link

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Ebert:”Material is sanitized and dumbed down for a hypothetical teen market that is way too sophisticated for it”;Link

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Teasing with odd, existential potential, the tight French thriller ‘Tell No One’ sadly picks a worn, logical path. A lovely ending, though.

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‘Flight of the Conchords S2’ shows what happens when your great ideas got used up the first time. Often amusing but random and kinda stupid.

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‘BSG S3’ starts bracingly and ends depressingly shittily. New Caprica gave me hope; ‘Watchtower’ felt like 6 hours of agony. Vexingly uneven

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Polanski’s obtuse ‘Repulsion’ mines fear of rape, men, abandonment. 1 great shock & effective spatial horror, but male POV leers and muddles

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‘A Tale of 2 Sisters’ undermines reality to the extent that it’s hard to care. Creepy and full of potent symbolism, I’m baffled not scared.

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For 2 hours, ‘TAOJJBTCRF’ seems to wander enigmatically with a sharp eye. But its final 30 minutes pierce as themes coalesce novelistically.

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The consensus apex of the Star Trek films, ‘Khan’ opens as slowly as its forebear and only eclipses it when the Genesis and Spock plots meet

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Once you get past the torpid first hour, 1979’s ‘Star Trek’ is shockingly compelling - a leisurely puzzle that presages ‘BSG’ and its themes

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Twitter Review: Up

‘Up’ made me cry at least twice, but its well-supported message undercut its admittedly spectacular spectacle. That’s its point and problem.

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‘Star Trek’ - Brisk, elegant, and thin, Abrams’ reboot draws its gravity from Leonard Nimoy, funny and illogically emotional. Pegg is a hoot

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Twitter Review: JCVD

‘JCVD’ - Not as smart as it thinks it is, but still potent. Van Damme effectively exploits his irrelevance for laughs & pathos. Too stylized

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‘The Wrester’: Rourke lives the role beautifully, but the first-half character-study authenticity devolves into inevitable, overplayed story

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‘Lost’ S5 finale: Josh Holloway proves himself the worst among many bad actors; the suspense is less “What happens next?!” than “Where now?”

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Slumdog Millionaire - The climax? Salim interrupts. The dance? Credits intrude. Boyle trashes my minor goodwill with shit I don’t care about

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Twitter Review: Milk

‘Milk’ - It neither over-simplifies nor beatifies, but in a largely glowing portrait, Harvey Milk remains a mystery. Still, a great pleasure

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‘Quantum of Solace’: Uniformly incoherent action but a surprising emotional pull. Craig’s Bond remains a magnetic force but is too cloaked.

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‘Let the Right One in’ - Tonally coy, it expands on Romero’s ‘Martin,’ crosses it with Poe’s ‘William Wilson,’ and haunts retrospectively.

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‘Rachel Getting Married’ - Contrivances of setup and situation are, by the end, obliterated by unerring emotional authenticity. Truth-filled

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‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ - Pretty, obvious, tiresome, and cynical, Allen’s latest starts literally golden and fades to a trite ‘reality.’

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‘Diving Bell & the Butterfly’ - Aggressive direction overcompensates for decidedly uncinematic material, but it doesn’t matter. Still lovely

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‘Frozen River’ - Gripping, authentic, tight, and heartbreaking, this working-class thriller strangely derails with two tries at high drama.

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‘Battlestar Galactica S1’ - After the brisk miniseries, this was a long haul with an admittedly superior cliffhanger. Tigh must die -- now.

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‘Encounters at the End of the World’ - By turns tedious and fascinating, Herzog’s doc resembles the doomed penguin walking to the mountains.

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‘Zodiac’ - Subtly but thoroughly subversive and odd, Fincher’s procedural is radical in construction but goes down easily. A quiet triumph.

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‘The Strangers’ - Expert, brutal, pointless, and a good student of its elders. 77 minutes, and 70 pass before the creeps commit bodily harm.

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‘Planet Terror’ - Not nearly bad enough to be a true homage; despite the charming scratches etc., it’s far too polished and winking to work.

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Culture Snob joins Twitter: Who says I’m not an early adopter? Next, I plan to check out this CD thing. It’s an up-and-coming technology.

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