Archive for category: by Robert Horton

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Film Review: ‘Buzzard’

5 March, 2015 (05:40) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Funny and bizarre enough to attract a cult following, Buzzard is also off-putting enough to keep its micro-indie cred. I think it might be the real thing. There are some recognizable influences, like the ratty-couch ambience of early Richard Linklater and Kevin Smith, with more than a touch of James Gunn’s wacky/hostile Super mixed in. […]

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Film Review: ‘The Salvation’

5 March, 2015 (05:35) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Robert Horton

As a Western shot by a Danish crew in South Africa, The Salvation already has a hodgepodge air about it. The movie never quite overcomes that sense of being assembled from different directions, but—with the help of two charismatic stars—it does conjure up its share of evocative genre moments. The hook is set early, as […]

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Film Review: ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

5 March, 2015 (05:30) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Losing track of narrative beats is a terrible sin in expensive screenwriting classes, but not so important to actual movies. Here is a modest demonstration. The plot devices in this sequel are so stale that the movie itself loses interest in them halfway through its dawdling 122 minutes—and this is a good thing. By that […]

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Film Review: ‘Song of the Sea’

26 February, 2015 (05:06) | Animation, by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

It didn’t cop the Oscar on Sunday, but the good news is a few hundred million people have now heard of Song of the Sea. The Best Animated Feature category often includes a title or two that—while utterly obscure by Disney or DreamWorks standards—are at least as impressive in the realm of cartoon art. This […]

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Film Review: ‘A Fuller Life’

26 February, 2015 (05:03) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

If you are already a fan of Samuel Fuller’s uncompromising pulp cinema, you’ll be delighted by this new documentary tour covering the life and career of the director,writer, and producer. If you’ve never encountered one of his two-fisted yarns, you’ll almost certainly wonder how you got this far without stumbling across this flabbergasting character. A […]

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Oscar Predictions

20 February, 2015 (09:05) | by Robert Horton, Essays | By: Robert Horton

Last year it seemed so easy: 12 Years a Slave was the pre-ordained Best Picture winner, Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett had acting awards locked up, and nobody was going to deny Frozen in the animation category. Well, the 87th annual Oscar race has been a little more fun. Even though certain movies have been […]

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Film Review: Girlhood

19 February, 2015 (05:48) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

There’s no parallel between the American film Boyhood and the French film Bande de Filles, except that a clever marketer thought it would be useful to have Girlhood be the title for the latter movie. Can’t blame them for that one, but Girlhood stands on its own as a thoughtful, nonjudgmental look at a lost […]

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Film Review: Hard to Be a God

19 February, 2015 (05:45) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Perhaps it is hard to be a god, according to the title of this sprawling Russian epic. But everybody else looks miserable, too. We are in a world called Arkanar, invented by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky for a speculative 1964 novel that must be easier to understand than this film. Arkanar is a pigsty, a […]

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Review: Leviathan

12 February, 2015 (05:28) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

No shocker that Leviathan is one of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film. The movie is ambitious and serious and takes on issues of society, all ingredients for nominee status. The surprise is that Russia officially submitted it to the Oscar committee in the first place (each country gets to choose a […]

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Review: R100

12 February, 2015 (05:19) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

R100 actually seems like a normal movie for 40 minutes or so, even if its setup is a little out-there. A man leads a quietly desperate life, working as a store salesman and tending his young son, while his wife lies in a long-term coma. He signs on with an unusual escort service, one that […]

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Review: Monk With a Camera

12 February, 2015 (05:00) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Editor

Every outsider who takes Buddhism seriously enough to become a monk must have an interesting story. I once spent a night in a Buddhist monastery that had been established in a jumble of very old farm buildings in the north of England, and the personalities of the shorn-headed novitiates there suggested a variety of difficult […]

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Film Review: ‘The Duke of Burgundy’

5 February, 2015 (19:41) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Tough call if you’re a movie marketer: Do you sell The Duke of Burgundy as a story of a professor who specializes in the study of moths and butterflies, or a tale of a lesbian S&M role-playing relationship? Of course this is a trick question, because this movie is both. It has plenty to interest […]

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Film Review: ‘Mommy’

5 February, 2015 (19:37) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Some movies want to wear you down—an approach that seems logical for, say, a World War II tank picture like Fury. It’s not so obvious why Xavier Dolan’s award-winning Mommy seeks the same effect. This 139-minute domestic drama is a tornado of emotional (and sometimes physical) fury, with occasional joys sprinkled throughout. But man, is […]

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Film Review: 2015 Oscar-Nominated Documentary Short Films

5 February, 2015 (19:33) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The law of averages tells us there must be years in which cheerful, silly efforts are nominated in the best documentary short film category. This is not one of those years. Released to theaters in anticipation of the February 22 Academy Awards ceremony, these five shorts—screening in two programs—serve up serious issues and personal essays. […]

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Film Review: Black or White

30 January, 2015 (08:30) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Have you noticed that Kevin Costner gives good speeches? He deftly handled his classic “I believe in …” speech in Bull Durham and his courtroom summations in JFK. He recently got a lifetime achievement award at the Critics Choice Awards, where he spoke pointedly about remembering to be grateful. His Oscar acceptance speeches for Dances […]

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