Archive for category: by Robert Horton

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Film Review: ‘Amour Fou’

23 April, 2015 (05:04) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

In November 1811, in accordance with their suicide pact, the great German Romantic writer Heinrich von Kleist shot and killed Henriette Vogel on the shores of the Kleiner Wannsee outside Berlin. Then he shot himself in the head. There are undoubtedly many ways you could tell this story, and some of them would be of […]

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Film Review: ‘The Water Diviner’

23 April, 2015 (04:59) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe) is a dowser, a man who can find water in the Australian desert—a talent he will later employ when he goes searching for the bodies of his three sons, all lost on the same day in the disastrous World War I battle of Gallipoli. This supernatural touch isn’t really necessary to […]

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Film Review: ‘Backcountry’

16 April, 2015 (05:13) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert Horton

See, this is why I don’t go camping. In its opening half-hour (the film saves its explicit violence, including quite a bit of gore, for its final 30 minutes), Backcountry conjures a series of terrors about being in the middle of nowhere—in this case, a Canadian forest. Is the aggressive stranger with the survivalist knife […]

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Film Review: ‘1971’

16 April, 2015 (05:08) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Even if you have an allergic reaction to dramatic re-enactments in documentary films—and I confess I get itchy during them—1971 provides an exciting, non-hokey account of a remarkable true story. The March ’71 break-in at an FBI office in Media, Penn., has not enjoyed the lingering prominence of the Pentagon Papers or other high-profile leaks. […]

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Film Review: ‘Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem’

9 April, 2015 (05:33) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

This movie never leaves the courtroom or its antechamber, but that’s not the only reason things are unbearably claustrophobic. The limited range of movement perfectly sums up the situation of an unhappy wife, whose suit for divorce against her estranged husband takes years to untangle. Why would it take years? Because the courtroom in Gett: […]

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Film Review: ‘Ned Rifle’

9 April, 2015 (05:28) | by Robert Horton | By: Robert Horton

It arrives with something less than the heated expectations of, say, the Avengers sequel, but Ned Rifle is nevertheless the climax of a movie trilogy. You have to be a follower of the career of longtime indie hero Hal Hartley to really appreciate this closure, but apparently there are enough fans out there to have […]

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Film Review: ‘Of Horses and Men’

9 April, 2015 (05:24) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Icelandic humor. Could it become a thing? It seems possible in the wake of Of Horses of Men, a supremely droll movie that weaves together a collection of equine-related anecdotes. Like the human population of that northerly island, the horses of Iceland come out of a limited gene pool. They don’t look quite like other […]

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Film Review: ‘Welcome to New York’

2 April, 2015 (05:59) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

In the early minutes of Welcome to New York, Gérard Depardieu’s performance as a VIP called Devereaux appears designed to elicit a variety of animal comparisons: pig, bear, bull, rhinoceros. His character grunts and wheezes, an overgrown satyr whose sex addiction can’t be satisfied, regardless of how many prostitutes or innocent bystanders fall into his […]

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Film Review: ‘3 Hearts’

2 April, 2015 (05:41) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The missed rendezvous: such a potent storytelling device, such a tantalizing chance to imagine what might have been if only Character A had been on time or Character B had waited another five minutes. Romeo and Juliet has a whopper along these lines, and the device works even when not depicted—like between the action of […]

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Film Review: ‘Serena’

26 March, 2015 (08:22) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

A movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper was made available through Video On Demand before it played theaters in the U.S. This might lead to conclusions about a) how dramatically the release model for Hollywood films is changing, or b) how quickly superstars can drop from the stratosphere. Neither is true. Serena is simply […]

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Film Review: ‘Spring’

26 March, 2015 (08:15) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Until the female lead is revealed to be a grossly mutating shapeshifter who devours animals in order to keep her human appearance from dissolving into gooey ick, Spring could be mistaken for a relaxed little indie about budding love. In fact, the film’s idea seems to come from a jokey proposition: What if you were […]

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Film Review: ‘It Follows’

19 March, 2015 (05:53) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert Horton

One measure of a good horror movie is not how often you jump when the monster bangs out from behind a door, but how often you find yourself nervously peering at dark corners of the screen. It takes only a few minutes of John Carpenter’s Halloween or Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse to make you dread what […]

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Film Review: ‘An Honest Liar’

19 March, 2015 (05:49) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

For people of a certain age, these names may act as a time machine back to the 1970s: The Amazing Randi, Uri Geller, Peter Popoff. All come tumbling back to life in An Honest Liar, an unexpectedly fun (but sneakily forceful) portrait of a rationalist. That’s not the way James Randi would have been described […]

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Film Review: ‘Wild Tales’

12 March, 2015 (05:27) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The opening sequence of Wild Tales sets up a Twilight Zone-style series of revelations, compressed into just a few minutes. Passengers riding on a suspiciously underfilled plane begin to realize that there might be a reason for their presence there, beyond the obvious business of getting to a destination. Writer/director Damián Szifrón wants to get […]

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Film Review: ‘Beloved Sisters’

12 March, 2015 (05:22) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Last year brought a lot of chatter about cinema’s obligations to historical accuracy. Did Selma distort Lyndon Johnson’s role in the civil-rights struggle? Did American Sniper sanitize the Iraq War’s most lethal sharpshooter? Whatever the answers, we can conclude that the further we get from the historical period in question, the less discrepancies seem to […]

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