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Marjorie Baumgarten
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The Devil's Double (Review)

True-life story a one-way trip through hell

0 Comments · Friday, August 26, 2011
The devil in this story is Uday Hussein, the notoriously decadent and monstrous elder son of Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein. The story’s double is Latif Yahia, a valorous Iraqi soldier whose recently published memoir about his experiences serving as Uday’s body double provides the source material for this film. Grade: C.  

Sarah's Key

Era-jumping drama carried through by Kristin Scott Thomas

1 Comments · Friday, August 19, 2011
Two parallel stories from different eras intertwine and inform each other in Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s compelling film, which is based on Tatiana de Rosnay’s best-selling novel. B  

Queen to Play (Review)

French drama revels in the pleasures of chess

0 Comments · Thursday, July 21, 2011
Superlative performances and a restrained directorial touch elevate this French drama from a schematic outline into a compelling story about a woman who gradually discovers horizons where previously she had seen none. Grade: B.  

A Better Life (Review)

Heartfelt immigrant drama is too predictable

0 Comments · Friday, July 15, 2011
Versatile director Chris Weitz's latest rarely transcends its programmatic structure and predictable character arcs, although its immigrant, working-class milieu is drenched in realism and heartache. Grade: D-plus.  

No Ordinary Western

Filmmaker Kelly Reichardt discusses Meek's Cutoff

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 25, 2011
On the Oregon Trail in 1845, a wagon train of three families led by the mountain man Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood) is perilously lost, even though none are yet fully aware of that fact. It’s here that director Kelly Reichardt’s film begins. Actually, Meek’s Cutoff opens in silence, or, more accurately, with the sounds that become prominent in the absence of conversation.  

Potiche (Review)

French comedy is a lightweight but tasty morsel

0 Comments · Thursday, May 5, 2011
Francois Ozon's 'Potiche' never acquires any psychological depth or narrative flourish but the film’s delightful performances and brilliant color palette see it through any rough patches. Grade: B.  

The Music Never Stopped (Review)

Music-laden period drama never quite ignites

0 Comments · Friday, April 8, 2011
Producer-turned-first-time-director Jim Kohlberg is unable to wrench much life or visual flair from this music-infused medical mystery, although it will elicit some tears from those sensitive to its emotional tugs. Grade: C.