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ENTERTAINMENT
April 3, 2014 | By Gary Goldstein
Call it a dark farce, human comedy or wartime satire. But however you slice it, the ill-conceived morality tale "A Farewell to Fools" is a bust. Set in the waning days of World War II, the movie involves a group of Romanian villagers attempting to trick the resident fool, Ipu (Gérard Depardieu in hyper-slob mode), into giving up his life in order to save theirs. Unfortunately, the script by Anusavan Salamanian, based on the novel by Titus Popovici (first filmed as 1972's "Then I Sentenced Them All to Death")
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 3, 2014 | By Robert Abele
Like an A-student with a plum assignment, "Frankie & Alice" star Halle Berry tears into the part of Francis Murdoch with a performance that says, "I got this one": a loose-cannon stripper suffering from multiple personalities, including one who's a racist, haughty, white Southern belle. The '70s-set film is based on a real psychotherapy case, and Berry's portrayal is pure marquee turn, full of hot jazzy light, if rarely anything penetrating, but it's immensely watchable. Even without the virtuosic vocal switchbacks (there's a scared young girl alter ego too)
ENTERTAINMENT
April 3, 2014 | By Robert Abele
With a title like "Hot Guys With Guns," actor turned writer-director Doug Spearman's niche comedy-mystery aimed at pop culture-savvy gays makes plain its intentions - titillation, tension and titters - and for the undiscerning, it's likely to deliver. After a chicly designed credit sequence that appealingly spoofs James Bond openings, we settle on caustically friendly exes Danny (a likable Marc Anthony Samuel), a sweet-faced out-of-work actor taking private eye classes, and Patrick/Pip (Brian McArdle)
ENTERTAINMENT
April 3, 2014 | By Sheri Linden
Krysten Ritter and Brian Geraghty, performers who have delivered striking work elsewhere, are hard to read in "Refuge," a torpid drama about a tentative new romance. Or perhaps they're too easy to read; whatever emotional depths filmmaker Jessica Goldberg hopes to suggest, there's nothing stirring beneath the movie's static surface. The central characters' coupledom might bring them a safe haven, but audiences will be left out in the cold. Adapting her stage play, Goldberg uses wintry Southampton, N.Y., locations to convey a down-and-out working-class vibe.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 27, 2014 | By Sheri Linden
In the ill-conceived and poorly executed "Awakened," a young woman returns to her hometown to solve the mystery of her mother's death. Audiences will likely ponder a bigger mystery: why experienced actors - or for that matter, experienced moviegoers - signed on to the project. If the ostensible thriller contained a single believable moment, let alone an ounce of suspense, its nonsensical final twist might be grounds for concern. But by the time the Man in Fedora Hat (as he's called in the credits)
ENTERTAINMENT
March 27, 2014 | By Inkoo Kang
Rarely has the zone between girlhood and womanhood been captured with such urgent honesty than in Eliza Hittman's superb teen drama "It Felt Like Love. " Hittman's debut isn't just a brilliantly tactile study of the mounting sexual curiosity and frustration of 14-year-old Lila (Gina Piersanti); it's also an important landmark in the oft-ignored subgenre of realistic movies about female adolescence. Lila doesn't want a boyfriend. She wants something better. When the working-class Brooklyn teen observes her slightly older but infinitely more sexually experienced friend Chiara (Giovanna Salimeni)
ENTERTAINMENT
March 26, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
NEW YORK - Documentarian Errol Morris has drawn some unexpected people into and around his films, and the Tuesday night premiere of his documentary “The Unknown Known” was no exception. For one thing, the movie is about Donald H. Rumsfeld, the unapologetic neo-conservative whose politics the director has been critical of. (“Why are you talking to me?” Morris asks Rumsfeld in the movie. The former Defense secretary has no real answer.) For another, there were personalities you don't normally find at a film premiere at the event Tuesday night: TV journalist Tom Brokaw stood up and introduced the film to an audience that included former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly “He was not as unpopular as he later became,” Brokaw said of Rumsfeld, describing his own years in the 1970s covering Rumsfeld and the Defense Department.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 24, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell
In the age of social media, it should come as no surprise that moviegoers are weighing the recommendations of their peers on sites such as Facebook and Twitter when making their choices at the multiplex. Even so, the majority of moviegoers still rely on good old-fashioned reviews, according to a recent Nielsen poll. Nielsen's 2013 American Moviegoing report found that 80% of moviegoers refer to reviews at least some of the time when they're considering what to see. By comparison, 40% of those surveyed they value recommendations they see posted by their friends or family on social media.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 13, 2014 | By Robert Abele
The only possible reaction to an amateurish romance like "Shirin in Love" is: Do the filmmakers think we're all idiots? Practically every scene in this tale about a glamorous, unhappily engaged Los Angeles book reviewer (Nazanin Boniadi) with an eye for the handsome son (Riley Smith) of a reclusive novelist (Amy Madigan) is an abject filmmaking lesson in the many ways to irk moviegoers: cardboard characters, dippy plotting, sentimental overkill and tortuous logic. The thinly conceived Shirin is ostensibly meant to embody the kind of young, vivacious Iranian American member of the "Tehran-geles" community who finds it hard to balance cultural tradition with independence.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 13, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"Veronica Mars," the movie, is just so Veronica Mars. The teenage private eye from the 2004-07 TV series starring Kristen Bell has grown up. But like fans of the show, a.k.a. marshmallows, it is quickly clear that while Veronica may have left her life in Neptune, Calif., behind, she hasn't moved on. Director Rob Thomas, creator of the prime-time show, and series executive producer Diane Ruggiero, finally do what they refused to do when "Veronica Mars" was canceled in 2007 - deliver a script that ties up a lot of loose ends and opens up a new can of worms.
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