HOW TO ALIENATE NO ONE BUT THE SOURCE MATERIAL'S FANS

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By some bizarre alchemy, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Toby Young’s 2001 acid-penned letter to New York media based on his experiences at Vanity Fair, has been translated to the screen as a Judd Apatow romantic comedy crossed with The Devil Wears Prada. Completely fictionalizing Young’s memoir, How to Lose Friends now presents [&hellip
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READY TO ROLL

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Guy Ritchie didn’t make the mistake of putting his wife Madonna in RocknRolla; but his latest gangster film queers a sense of Macho to match Madonna’s sense of Slut. Hopefully, Ritchie’s fantasy won’t roll back human progress; but this time it’s shaped an unexpectedly enjoyable movie. RocknRolla joins badass folderol to bad-boy (adolescent) distress. Ritchie’s [&hellip
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HEARTLESS DARKNESS

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Paul Newman’s passing casts a shadow over Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe’s performances in Body of Lies. This spy/mercenary flick feels like a eulogy-a slick, cynical death knell-for Newman’s ideal: the morally charismatic movie star. As CIA field agent Roger Ferris and his Langley, Va., boss Ed Hoffman, DiCaprio and Crowe shed the recognizable moral [&hellip
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ASHES TO ASHES

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When I interviewed director Wong Kar Wai and cinematographer Christopher Doyle at the Apple Store’s event, “Music in the Films of Wong Kar Wai,” in Soho, it was Doyle who gave the best justification for this week’s release of re-mastered and re-scored Ashes of Time Redux. “I don’t think of it as a remaster,” Doyle [&hellip
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WELCOME TO THE WEDDING PARTY

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Two-thirds into Rachel Getting Married, after Kym (Anne Hathaway) leaves rehab to participate in her sister’s wedding, her arrival stirs up tensions and memories. There are so many characters, unsettled relationships and unpredictable situations that a viewer’s head spins delightedly. Director Jonathan Demme sustains this feat of whirling prestidigitation with rambunctious style. He and cinematographer [&hellip
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MOMMA, DON'T LET YOUR BABIES GROW UP TO BE HIPSTERS

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In common NYC parlance, being called a hipster implies you’re a cynical and obnoxious indie devotee. With that in mind-and in the spirit of toothless gunk like Lou Adler’s Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (now out on DVD) and Allan Moyle’s Times Square (1980)-comes Peter Sollett’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, a romantic comedy [&hellip
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KILLER OF DREAMS

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“I’M SO SICK of this shit!” sobs Ballast‘s woebegone, downtrodden black single parent, a mother who loses her job scrubbing urinals after drug dealers beat her. Her exasperation is a point well taken. Ballast (another Frozen River, wallowing in the miseries of the underclass) is designed to provoke bourgeois moviegoers’ pity. Director-writer Lance Hammer shows [&hellip
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BLOW-OUT AND HOLD-UP ON 72ND

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Taking a break from the General Assembly proceedings, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice serviced her trademark bob at a West 72nd Street salon this weekend–around the same time that a nearby bank was getting robbed. Rice had an appointment at Salon at Royal Mountain, an exclusive outfit that caters by referral only to celebrities and [&hellip
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SAVING PRIVATE CONFLICTS

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When a filmmaker uses familiar images and common history to express ideas, this style-this pop idiom-opens up a breadth and depth of meaning. That’s why Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan became the standard-setting war movie of the past quarter-century and why Spike Lee couldn’t get it out of his head when doing Miracle at St. Anna. [&hellip
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OLD YELLER

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At long last, “The Dakota Fanning Rape Movie” has arrived in theaters. And, as anyone could have predicted about a movie that generated so much negative buzz for its depiction of the rape of a young girl in rural Alabama during the 1950s, Hounddog is entirely underwhelming. Revolving around dank-haired Lewellen (Fanning), Hounddog is one [&hellip
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