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by Jason Gargano 01.29.2010
at 03:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Jewish & Israeli Film Festival

As we head into the post-awards, pre-summer period known as The Dead Zone (see Legion, The Spy Next Door, The Tooth Fairy, as well as a dumpster-load of upcoming titles), the 2010 Jewish & Israeli Film Festival should be an oasis for filmgoers seeking fare that strays from Hollywood formula. And while the festival obviously centers on films that fall in line with its namesake, viewers of any faith or nationality are likely to appreciate and enjoy its humanist-leaning, character-driven offerings.

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by Jason Gargano 11.20.2009
at 05:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Parsing Precious

Lee Daniels’ Precious, which won audience awards at both the Sundance and Toronto film festivals, has drawn largely positive reviews for its unblinking look at a 16-year-old black female dealing with myriad challenges, including but certainly not limited to a serious weight problem, a monstrous mother, an incestuous father and an ineffective school system.

Yet Precious also has its detractors, none more vociferous than The New York Press’ Armond White, a critic who has never shied away from airing his contrarian views.

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by Jason Gargano 02.05.2010
at 11:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Oscar Nominations

Oscar nominations for the yearly industry wankfest known as Academy Awards were announced on Feb. 2. As expected, James Cameron’s Avatar and Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker did well: Each yielded nine nominations, including nods for Best Picture and Best Director. (Curious side-note: Bigelow and Cameron were once married; for the record, she made the better film.)

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by Jason Gargano 10.29.2010
at 10:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: The Dilemma of Sam Rockwell

Why can't Sam Rockwell find a movie that fully takes advantage of his singular talents?

Long one of our most expressive, instinctual and interesting actors, the 42-year-old Rockwell has added spice as a supporting player in a string of high-profile studios movies (Iron Man 2, Everybody's Fine, Frost/Nixon, Matchstick Men, Charlie's Angels and The Green Mile, among others) and has been compelling as a central figure in a handful of smaller films (Choke, Joshua, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Lawn Dogs and Box of Moon Light).

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by Jason Gargano 08.28.2009
at 09:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Summer of Fading Stars

The New York Times published a story Aug. 21 that attempted to dissect why so many established movie stars have failed generate their once-golden numbers at the box office this summer.

Among those mentioned were Denzel Washington (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3), Eddie Murphy (Imagine That), Will Ferrell (Land of the Lost) and Tom Hanks (Angels and Demons).

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by Jason Gargano 07.15.2011
at 09:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Harry Potter Edition

The Harry Potter movie series comes to a close this week with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which, if I'm not mistaken, represents the eighth movie adaptation of J.K. Rowling's wildly successful book series.

I confess: I've never watched a Harry Potter movie. I've caught a few minutes here and there on HBO or at a friend's or family member's house, but for some reason I've never been compelled enough to sit down and take in the entirety of even one of the series' movies.

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by Jason Gargano 12.31.2008
at 02:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Threatened at Chopstick Point


I was having lunch with a friend yesterday when the topic of my favorite movies of 2008 came up. She had read my Top 10 list in this week’s CityBeat and complained about the fact that I presented them in alphabetical order instead of ranking them from 1 to 10.

I tried to explain my reasons for doing so — something pretentious about how ranking art devalues it and the fact that the order could change based on my mood on any given day — but she wasn’t hearing it.

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by Jason Gargano 09.10.2011
at 03:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Breaking Through at Toronto Film Festival

After several days of technological dissonance, I've finally gained access to our blog. The logistical reasons for said dissonance are far too tedious to recount here, so I'll get right to it: I've seen 10 films over the last 60 hours, some good, some OK and none less than interesting.

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by Jason Gargano 06.17.2011
at 05:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Midterm Report Card

It's hard to believe that 2011 is already halfway over. Looking back over the last six months is not exactly a heartwarming or nostalgic endeavor — at least when it comes to the movies that have been released in local theaters.

As is the case every year, the big studios use the first quarter as a dumping ground for its duds, movies that for one reason or another they think are unlikely to generate much interest in an audience whose expectations are already diminished. Still, this year's list of dumpster dwellers seems even more robust than usual. On the other end of the spectrum, I can think of only two studio films to this point that have transcended the mediocre: Paul Feig's Bridesmaids and Duncan Jones' Source Code, both of which tweak genre conventions in slightly unexpected ways.

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by Jason Gargano 10.22.2010
at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: What's Up, Docs?

What's up with the rush of interesting documentaries in recent weeks? On second thought, make the years.

Many have called this the golden age of documentaries ever since Errol Morris and, to a larger extent, Michael Moore broke through and had relatively robust box-office and critical success in the late 1980s, cresting with the unprecedented frenzy that surrounded Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and continuing with Davis Guggenheim's An Inconvenient Truth, March of the Penguins and a flood of other unique contributions to the genre.

More recently, the last few weeks alone have given us such diverse docs as Catfish, Restrepo, I'm Still Here, Guggenheim's Waiting for Superman and even Jackass 3D, all of which are presented via different perspectives and techniques that challenge what a documentary is and should do.

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