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Film, "How to Train Your Dragon 2": Once Everyone's Got One, It's Just Not as Cool Anymore

"How to Train Your Dragon 2": Once Everyone's Got One, It's Just Not as Cool Anymore

Everyone and her mother has already trained her dragons in How to Train Your Dragon 2, thereby turning this superfluous animated sequel into a hodgepodge of empty platitudes and aerial mayhem. Having transformed his village into a dragon-friendly haven where…
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Film, "Playing for Keeps": Shut It Down, Ladies

"Playing for Keeps": Shut It Down, Ladies

Gerard Butler, playing George, a former soccer great now dodging bill collectors in suburban Virginia, speaks in his natural Scottish accent in the romantic comedy Playing for Keeps. The brogue is remarked upon at least three times, with one character…
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Film, "Chasing Mavericks": Well, the Surfing Is Tremendous

"Chasing Mavericks": Well, the Surfing Is Tremendous

Waves crash and churn with alarming ferocity in Chasing Mavericks. A seamless blend of open-water photography, visual effects, and sound design effectively replicates the massive power of the title's world-famous surf break. But floating atop the explosive breakers, like an…
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Film, "Coriolanus": Another Unnecessary Shakespeare Adaptation

"Coriolanus": Another Unnecessary Shakespeare Adaptation

Updating Shakespeare seems doubly condescending: the implication that we need help relating to the text, and that the text needs to be made relevant. In the case of Ralph Fiennes's adaptation of Coriolanus — a knotty tragedy about a warrior…
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News, The Snitch Mavericks Surf Contest Could Wipe Out -- for Good

Mavericks Surf Contest Could Wipe Out -- for Good

The popular Mavericks surfing contest has had a bad streak. Last year, spectators were injured by violent waves as they watched the event, and this year, one surfer died while another nearly drowned. Now the sponsors of the world-class surfing…
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Film, The real <i>Ugly Truth</i>? Katherine Heigl needs a new role

The real Ugly Truth? Katherine Heigl needs a new role

In the lushly produced but dispiriting new comedy The Ugly Truth, Katherine Heigl stars as Abby Richter, a successful but hopelessly uptight TV producer who is also perpetually single. Ever efficient, Abby does background checks on the men she meets,…
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Film, Fun With Flesh Wounds

Fun With Flesh Wounds

If nothing else, give the makers of Beowulf & Grendel high marks for boldness, and for a certain playful irreverence. It's a good bet that today's moviegoers have all the respect in the world for eighth-century poetry, Norse legend, and…
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Film, <i>Phantom</i> Menace

Phantom Menace

By all accounts, the only living creatures who've never taken in a stage production of The Phantom of the Opera are Osama bin Laden and Uncle Elmer's deaf hound dog Bart -- which means that everyone else on the planet…
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