Archive for category: by Robert Horton

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Film Review: ‘Digging for Fire’

27 August, 2015 (03:49) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The final credit on Digging for Fire is a dedication to the late Paul Mazursky, the director of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and An Unmarried Woman and other bittersweet comedies of manners. It can be presumptuous for a young filmmaker—here mumblecore maven Joe Swanberg—to invoke a predecessor. But in this case, fair […]

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Film Review: ‘7 Chinese Brothers’

27 August, 2015 (03:43) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

I wonder whether Jason Schwartzman will have the career vault that Johnny Depp and Robert Downey, Jr., had—whether years of being glorious in non-mainstream roles will suddenly make Hollywood (and the audience) decide that Yes, we always loved this actor and now we want to see more of him because he’s our guy, somehow, right […]

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Film Review: ‘Ten Thousand Saints’

27 August, 2015 (03:39) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

“This would make a great movie,” all of us have sighed while mind-directing a film from the novel we’re reading. But most of the time it wouldn’t really make a great movie, because a movie is a different animal entirely. Ten Thousand Saints conveys a passionate desire to capture a 2011 novel by Eleanor Henderson, […]

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Film Review: ‘Jellyfish Eyes’

20 August, 2015 (02:59) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

In the post-Pokémon era in which we all reside, one is accustomed to battles between bizarre mutant cartoon characters. So there isn’t much surprising about the creatures that pop out of the backpacks of the grade-school students in Jellyfish Eyes??; the children themselves take it mostly as a matter of course that, by virtue of […]

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Film Review: ‘Listen to Me Marlon’ (2)

20 August, 2015 (02:56) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

His parents were Midwestern Gothic: the father a bitter drunk who settled things with violence, the mother a poetic type who couldn’t lay off the booze. Yet in the way of strange, sad American stories, these two souls created a combination of DNA and childhood trauma that birthed one of the definitive actors—why not say […]

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Film Review: ‘Phoenix’

13 August, 2015 (03:20) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Taking most of its plot from Hubert Monteilhet’s 1961 novel Return From the Ashes, the new movie by German filmmaker Christian Petzold feels like something out of that era. With its contrived plot and high-gloss possibilities, Phoenix would have been an ideal project for Lana Turner and director Douglas Sirk after Imitation of Life. It […]

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Film Review: ‘People Places Things’

13 August, 2015 (03:15) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Unlike, say, six-foot-six Vince Vaughn, who has a jazzy physical grace that makes him deft at comedy, the New Zealand performer Jemaine Clement is a big guy who looks uncomfortable in his skin. Or maybe he’s not that big (IMDb says he’s six-foot-one) and he just looks like a hulk—large facial features, arms that hang […]

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Film Review: ‘Tom at the Farm’

13 August, 2015 (03:12) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Not every 25-year-old filmmaker comes out fully formed, as Orson Welles did with Citizen Kane. Xavier Dolan, born in 1989 and already with five features as a director, is less protean in his talent, less wise, less articulate, than wunderkind Welles. But there’s something urgent going on with this French-Canadian director, and youth has a […]

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Film Review: ‘Jimmy’s Hall’

6 August, 2015 (10:02) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

As political filmmakers go, Ken Loach makes the admirably committed John Sayles look like a tenderfoot. Now in his sixth decade of filmmaking, the British director shows no signs of softening his stance, even amid recent rumors of a possible retirement. A dedicated social-concern standard-bearer in his films and a strident activist in his life, […]

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Film Review: ‘The Look of Silence’

6 August, 2015 (09:58) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2013 documentary The Act of Killing earned an Oscar nomination and a raft of astonished reviews. There were skeptics, however, who questioned the film’s nausea-inducing strategy of encouraging the mass murderers of Indonesia’s mid-1960s genocide to proudly re-enact their atrocities for the camera. That’s a point worth raising, but with the release of The […]

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Film Review: ‘The Wanted 18’

6 August, 2015 (09:50) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Taken separately, there is nothing wrong with political documentaries, animation, or talking animals. Put them together, and you have my kryptonite. So my lack of enthusiasm for The Wanted 18 can be taken with that in mind, especially if you like all of the above. The very slim 75-minute film is based on an incident […]

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Film Review: ‘Boulevard’

30 July, 2015 (02:30) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

It only takes a quick scan of Robin Williams’ filmography to see how unusual his movie career really was. He cashed in his Mork-fame with Robert Altman’s fantastically weird Popeye and a winning lead role in a literary fantasia, The World According to Garp. Every time he scored huge with pure comedy, à la Mrs. […]

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Film Review: ‘Our Man in Tehran’

30 July, 2015 (02:17) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Shouldn’t the documentary come first, followed by a fictionalized feature “inspired by true events”? Not in this case. Ben Affleck’s Argo introduced many viewers to the Mission: Improbable that sprung six U.S. diplomats out of Iran after the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy. Argo was a Hollywood entertainment all the way, even copping the […]

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Film Review: ‘Court’

30 July, 2015 (02:00) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The movie is simply called Court, and the generalized title is as potent here as it is with Kafka’s nightmare novel The Trial. The storyline follows the process of a specific case in India, but the movie’s reach is big enough to imply that an entire legal apparatus is under indictment. In the early going, […]

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Film Review: ‘Do I Sound Gay?’

23 July, 2015 (03:28) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

David Thorpe tells us he got the idea for his documentary when he was riding a train from his home in New York to Fire Island. Surrounded by gay men, Thorpe was struck by the sound of the voices he heard around him. Being gay himself, he wondered: “Do I really sound like that?” He […]

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