Homo Panic! at the Cinema

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Convenient Political Correctness is what stunts Sacha Baron Cohen’s humor and keeps him from being a great comic artist. It’s why his 2007 film Borat ultimately was worthless. Because Borat catered to liberal/conservative partisanship, even GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination) came to expect that Baron Cohen’s latest film, the homophobia charade Bruno, [&hellip
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Love in the Time of Cinema

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Cinephilia has been so distorted in contemporary movie culture that it has led to the repugnant Chilean film Tony Manero—a Cannes Film Festival selection that was also widely praised at last fall’s New York Film Festival. In Tony Manero, a middle-aged plebian named Raúl Peralta Paredes O (played by Alfredo Castro) is so infatuated with [&hellip
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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

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Why waste spleen on Michael Bay? He’s a real visionary—perhaps mindless in some ways (he’s never bothered filming a good script), but Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is more proof he has a great eye for scale and a gift for visceral amazement. Bay’s ability to shoot spectacle makes the Ridley-Tony-Jake Scott family look like [&hellip
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The Hurt Locker

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Although Brian De Palma lost his artistic bearings on the anti–Iraq War bandwagon, director Kathryn Bigelow found her perfect subject. That’s the difference between De Palma’s confused, preachy Redacted and Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. Bigelow (working from a script by Mark Boal) stays focused on the personalities of soldiers during Bravo company’s last 39 days [&hellip
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Woody’s Wet Dream

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Ten years after his great expectoration of bile in Deconstructing Harry, Woody Allen comes up with Whatever Works—the most shameless, cynically titled Hollywood con job since the days of Billy Wilder. Having lost his originality, Allen here reboots the acerbic Deconstructing Harry by mixing in the rancid, misogynistic Mighty Aphrodite. It’s another of his old-goat/young-girl [&hellip
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The Taking of Pelham 123

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Tony Scott’s films start from the premise that Americans are bored—and secretly resentful—of their lives. He specializes in violent, fragmented spectacle that feeds this boredom by drowning out subtlety and complexity. Yet, he’s the good Scott; brother Ridley is merely a pretentious window-dresser of big themes. Tony’s best movies (Spy Games, Domino) match hyperactive style [&hellip
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Tetro

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Something’s wrong when a Francis Coppola movie inspires equal dread and anticipation. Coppola doesn’t just defy popular appeal, he snubs it. His Tetro is not about the discovery of Tetracycline antibiotics—and that’s the problem. Coppola creeps around his true subject: masculine camaraderie as learned through psychic and genetic history (c.f. his best films, The Godfather [&hellip
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Land of the Lost

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Between two pitiful Today Show bookend scenes (both featuring Matt Lauer confirming Tom Cruise’s accusation “You’re glib, Matt. You’re glib!”), Land of the Lost sheds its TV-formula origins as a 1970s network series and becomes glib fun. Will Ferrell plays scientist Rick Marshall, who explores “tears in time, quantum paleontology.” Inventing the “Techyon amplifier,” Marshall’s [&hellip
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Away We Go

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Likable TV actors Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski stress their charm to the limit in Away We Go. As Verona and Burt, an unmarried, mixed-race couple expecting their first child, Rudolph’s warm coloring and freckly, smiling placidity contrasts Krasinki’s lanky, unfazed, big-boy goofiness. They represent an Obama-era ideal, born of the media’s predominant middle-class tenets: [&hellip
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The Way of Pixarism

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Pixar rules pop media like nothing since mid-20th century General Motors held sway as the preeminent American corporation (and the bane of grassroots individualism). Every Pixar film—including the new Up, gushed over by Cannes Film Festival shills—is greeted with nearly patriotic fervor. This absurdity clarifies contemporary news media’s unprincipled collusion with Hollywood capitalism
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