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Movies: The 34th Toronto International Film Festival Wraps

“A Serious Man” made me giggle. Out loud. A lot. That’s why it’s my favorite film from the 34th annual Toronto Film Festival, which brought down the curtain on September 19, 2009. From the fabulous Coen Brothers (who, by the way, seemed as nebbishy as ever when Focus Features threw a party for their film at a swanky Prince Albert Avenue restaurant), “Man” features an extraordinary collection of Jewish players and familiar faces, mostly unknown except for TV character actor Richard Kind. Who? [...]

Movies: The Informant!

“The Informant!” is incorrigible. And Matt Damon certainly has a lot do with it, even if his character is based on a true story. [...]

Movies: Flame & Citron

Nazi aggression spread through most of Europe during World War II, even including Denmark, as “Flame & Citron” often intensely exhibits. The title comes from nicknames for real-life spy/assassins: red-haired “Flame,” Bent Faurschou-Hvid (Thure Lindhardt) and Jorgen Haagen Schmith (Mads Mikkelsen), a guy best known for sabotaging cars, “Citron.” He’s portrayed by the actor best known as Daniel Craig’s nasty nemesis in “Casino Royale.” [...]

Movies: Thirst

“Thirst” becomes a bloody good and artsy vampire yarn in the hands of accomplished Korean director/co-writer Park Chan-wook. Regardless, more judicious editing might have turned his 133-minute seat squirmer into a shorter, sleeker thriller. [...]

Movies: Whiteout

Hold on to your hats, kids, here comes “Whiteout,” complete with requisite scares in the dark, extremely bitter temperatures, and accompanying gusty winds. Apparently, though, the heroine of the piece, whose gorgeous face somehow stays uncovered through all of the proceedings, is exempt from the elements. [...]

Movies: World’s Greatest Dad

From the not-so-beautiful mind of writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait comes Robin Williams as the “World’s Greatest Dad,” an oddly competent story about family, friendship, and even a little love. [...]

Movies: Extract

So on a list of one to one million of my favorite movies and television shows, “Beavis and Butt-Head” would probably be solidly at the very bottom. And considering that it’s the animated MTV show that made Mike Judge famous, I am always slightly afraid of anything that springs from his fertile mind. He’s the creator of the long-running Fox cartoon “King of the Hill,” too. Eh. But when it comes to live-action films, it seems Judge knows just how to tickle my funnybone. First with “Office Space” and now with “Extract,” his latest film comedy, the guy just cracks me up. [...]

Movies: Post Grad

You won’t need an advanced degree in cinema to recognize that “Post Grad” mostly flunks out right from the get-go. Star Alexis Bledel opens the sophomoric hijinks with a computer video designed to emphasize her strengths and readiness to conquer the business world, as a soon-to-be graduate of a California university. Trouble is, the pretty, if timid Bledel owns neither the acting chops, nor the character chutzpah to convince anyone that her pretentiously named Ryden Malby is as bouncy and capable as she claims. Come to think of it, despite her seven-year run on TV’s “Gilmore Girls,” blue-eyed Bledel does not seem ready to headline a movie comedy, either, even one debuting in the rabid dog days of August. [...]
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