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Film, "It's Kind of a Funny Story": Nuthouse as hipster’s paradise

"It's Kind of a Funny Story": Nuthouse as hipster’s paradise

A film seemingly designed to get every New York City honors student face-punched at college, It's Kind of a Funny Story chronicles a privileged Brooklyn high schooler's supercool institutionalized mental-health break. Hot for his best friend's girlfriend, stressed out over…
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Calendar, Night&Day <i>Sugar</i>

Sugar

Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have transformed some of the most clichéd genres with smarts, non-screechy politics, superb acting, and visual beauty. Half Nelson—their 2006 feature debut about a white middle-class basehead who teaches poor African-American kids—is free of Dangerous…
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Film, Sidestepping sports movie clich&eacute;s, <i>Sugar</i> finds the sweet spot

Sidestepping sports movie clichés, Sugar finds the sweet spot

Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have transformed some of the saggiest, most clichéd genres with smarts, nonscreechy politics, superb acting, and visual beauty. Though, on paper, its premise could have easily elicited groans, Half Nelson — their 2006 feature debut…
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Film, Heroes and Zeroes at Sundance '08

Heroes and Zeroes at Sundance '08

Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden's Sugar, which premièred in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival (and was inexplicably shut out at the awards right about baseball as any movie I've ever seen. It gets the hum…
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Film, A Schoolteacher Darkly

A Schoolteacher Darkly

Even curriculum-clutchers might rather leave a child behind than let her learn from Half Nelson's Mr. Dunne (Ryan Gosling), a Brooklyn junior-high teacher whose off-the-cuff history lessons are based — brace yourself, Bushies — on dialectical theory. History is change,…
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