Archive for category: by Robert Horton

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Book Review: ‘John Wayne: The Life and Legend’

23 April, 2014 (08:48) | Books, by Robert Horton | By: Robert Horton

Given a spare moment, John Wayne played chess. And bridge, and poker, and backgammon. And how about another round of drinks for everybody at the end of a long day of shooting? Anything to be doing something, and not be by himself. The image of Wayne as someone who craved activity and shunned introspection is […]

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Film Review: ‘Transcendence’

18 April, 2014 (08:43) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Inside Transcendence is a 1950s B-movie, desperately trying to get out. A tale of a scientist poisoned by radiation, his brilliant mind passed on to survive after his death? That could easily be the plot of an atomic-era cheapie. This movie, however, is distinctly of the 21st century. And expensive. The scientist is Will Caster […]

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Film review: ‘Joe’

18 April, 2014 (08:40) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Nicolas Cage has been garnering a lot of approving notices for his title performance in Joe, and it’s easy to see why. He’s backed away from some of the tics that dominate his wilder turns, and at age 50 he’s seasoned, with a face that looks lived-in. But let’s not say he’s mellowed. Never that. […]

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Film Review: ‘Alan Partridge’

16 April, 2014 (13:16) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Between the showbiz parodies of SCTV and the anchorman toolishness of Ron Burgundy, there is a missing link of media satire—missing for Americans who don’t frequent British TV, that is. This step on the evolutionary scale goes by the name Alan Partridge, a broadcast personality with a remarkably unctuous, maladroit style. As embodied in Steve […]

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Film Review: ‘Draft Day’

12 April, 2014 (08:16) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Now that March Madness is over, that annual ritual in which everybody goes nuts about filling out a bracket with teams they don’t actually know very much about, we need another obsessive- compulsive sports-related activity to occupy our minds. That’s where the NFL draft comes in. Who can resist guessing which players we don’t actually […]

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Film Review: ‘The Unknown Known’

10 April, 2014 (07:49) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The conceptual appeal is unmissable: Having won an Oscar for his 2003 The Fog of War, a study of Vietnam War architect Robert McNamara, documentary giant Errol Morris would naturally turn to another controversial U.S. Secretary of Defense for a bookend project. The subject here is Donald Rumsfeld, who held the job during the commencement […]

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Film Review: ‘The Raid 2′

10 April, 2014 (07:45) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

When The Raid 2 bowed at Sundance earlier this year, it triggered an instant-analysis debate along a narrow spectrum. Was it the greatest action movie ever made, or merely the most violent? Considering the film’s target audience, that’s a win/win argument. Gareth Evans’ sequel to his culty 2011 The Raid: Redemption, which was set primarily […]

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Film Review: ‘Exhibition’

10 April, 2014 (07:42) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Form follows function in this modernist house on a quiet street in London. Stacked in clean, streamlined boxes, its floors are wrapped in glass. It is home to two artists, who work in different sections of the house and communicate through an intercom. We don’t have to watch long to intuit that the house is […]

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Film Review: ‘Anita: Speaking Truth to Power’

4 April, 2014 (08:42) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

In October 1991 the Oklahoma law-school professor Anita Hill went before a Senate hearing (and TV cameras) to give testimony in the confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. Oh, you remember this? The drama of the moment is difficult to forget. Hill was alleging that while working as an assistant to Thomas […]

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Film Review: ‘The Missing Picture’

4 April, 2014 (08:37) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

In 1975, at age 13, filmmaker Rithy Panh’s world turned into a complete nightmare. As a child in Phnom Penh, he saw his family expelled from their urban environment and sent to the countryside of Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge had begun its ruthless process of re-educating the population according to the communist ideology of the […]

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Film Review: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

3 April, 2014 (10:28) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The recent spate of superhero movies all share the same peculiar dynamic. After being dropped from buildings, incinerated, and slammed with high-speed projectiles, their characters invariably end their epic battles with a definitive . . . fistfight. You can’t kill them with incredible punishment, but a bout of pugilism is supposed to settle things. In the end, of course, […]

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Film Review: ‘Nymphomaniac Vol. II’

3 April, 2014 (10:23) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Seeing Nymphomaniac Vol. II a couple of weeks after Vol. I is more than just a case of cinema interruptus. It proves how much the opus needs to be seen as a single picture, preferably in one go. So intriguing in its first couple of hours, Nymphomaniac scrambles to get back into gear as Vol. […]

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Film Review: ‘Sabotage’

29 March, 2014 (11:20) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

I’ve seen enough TV pharmaceutical commercials to diagnose symptoms when I see them. And I can confidently say that no one involved with Sabotage is suffering from “low T.” This is a very high-testosterone movie. The female characters score especially strong on that scale. In the early going, the hyperactive macho joshing and intense gun-fondling […]

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Film Review: ‘Noah’

28 March, 2014 (08:08) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

There has always been something a little Old Testament about Darren Aronofsky’s films, so maybe it makes sense that he’s going back to the source for his new movie. The director of Black Swan and The Wrestler is on board with the original disaster epic: Noah and the flood. Armed with the latest in computer-generated […]

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Film Review: ‘The Face of Love’

27 March, 2014 (06:48) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

From its impossible title to its tortured plot, The Face of Love sounds like a good candidate for a “Lifetime Movies That Were Never Actually Made” category. A woman sees her late husband’s exact double, starts a romance without telling the new man about the resemblance, and causes woe to all concerned. Because—let’s just note […]

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