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Nick Pinkerton

Film, "Beware of Mr. Baker": Give the Drummer Some Slack

"Beware of Mr. Baker": Give the Drummer Some Slack

"Bonham had technique, but he couldn't swing a sack of shit," says great drummer and sack of shit Ginger Baker to interviewer Jay Bulger. This is one of many aperçus in Bulger's documentary Beware of Mr. Baker. Baker, who first…
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Film, "Amour": The Letting Go

"Amour": The Letting Go

There are two things that are certain in life. One is that death will come for every one of us. The other is that every film Michael Haneke makes will have a fair shot at the Cannes Palme d'Or. Amour,…
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Film, "Gangster Squad": Just Some Crap, Ma'am

"Gangster Squad": Just Some Crap, Ma'am

Originally slated to open in September 2012, Gangster Squad was delayed when the movie-theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., suddenly made a scene of gunfire in Grauman's Chinese Theatre "inappropriate." Four months later, a turn in the film's plot that relies…
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Film, "Promised Land": The Message Is the Message

"Promised Land": The Message Is the Message

Salesmen are typically depicted in screen drama as the quintessential American phonies. The exceptions — in Barry Levinson's Avalon or Whit Stillman's Barcelona — are buried under a mountain of films proving the rule. That one set of phonies are…
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Film,

"The Collection": Nothing to See Here

A murkily directed bore "dealing" with the subject of serial killers and revenge only to reconfirm to its horror-fanboy audience that both are totally badass, The Collection doesn't have much to recommend it beyond a first-reel bloodbath rivaling Blade and…
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Film, "Dragon": A Clever, Graceful Hong Kong Western

"Dragon": A Clever, Graceful Hong Kong Western

The roaring popular success of Peter Chan's Wu xia in China — renamed Dragon for export — is no mystery: It's an adept genre exercise with rare primal depths. Liu Jin-xi (Donnie Yen), a paper-mill worker and by all accounts…
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Film, Feature The Way We Die Now: Movie Violence Has Never Been Better

The Way We Die Now: Movie Violence Has Never Been Better

Part of the renascent body-count action industry, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning's mere existence might shock many Americans. "There are four Universal Soldier movies?" those shocked Americans would say. They might also be taken aback by the bracing violence that…
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Film, "Red Dawn": North Korea (and Audiences) Go Home Unhappy

"Red Dawn": North Korea (and Audiences) Go Home Unhappy

America has had its national traumas — its Antietams and Pearl Harbors and 9/11s — but what we haven't faced since the Battle of New Orleans is proper ground invasion, a shooting war with a foreign occupying army. Rather than…
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Film, "Anna Karenina": Now with Extra Artifice

"Anna Karenina": Now with Extra Artifice

Joe Wright's dust-blowing new adaptation of Anna Karenina faces a towering mountain of precedent: not only the greatest novel by the man Nabokov called "the greatest Russian writer of prose fiction," but the whole checkered history of Leo Tolstoy at…
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Film, Film Feature The Sky Keeps Falling!: A Short History of the Death of Cinema

The Sky Keeps Falling!: A Short History of the Death of Cinema

That the American cinema is deader than Dillinger is a fact no right-thinking observer unwilling to be laughed out of the room would even think of denying today. To do the current round of think-piece writers one better, we will…
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Film, "Flight": Denzel Washington Sulks and Soars

"Flight": Denzel Washington Sulks and Soars

The yammering about "Oscar gold" and Denzel Washington's potential three-peat will soon reach a deafening pitch, but such noise can only embarrass a fine character study like Flight, whose prevailing tone is a heavy, elemental melancholy. The mood is there…
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Film, "The Man with the Iron Fists": The RZA Gets Good and Weird

"The Man with the Iron Fists": The RZA Gets Good and Weird

As Wu-Tang Clan's principal producer and myth-maker, Robert "RZA" Diggs translated the group's rugged urban background into the language of Wuxia flicks and '70s Marvel Comics. These elements are accounted for in the RZA's first film, the 19th-century-China-set The Man…
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Film, "Cloud Atlas": Centuries of Too Muchness

"Cloud Atlas": Centuries of Too Muchness

The trailer for Cloud Atlas, the gargantuan new movie of David Mitchell's 2004 novel that took two Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer to adapt, looks less like a preview than a whole slate of coming attractions, so many and varied…
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Film, "Sinister": A Creepy-Crawly Horror Show

"Sinister": A Creepy-Crawly Horror Show

In a neat bit of poaching, Sinister uses a premise borrowed from anti-horror pundits — the idea that some images can't be unseen once seen, are poison without antidote — as the basis of a proficient, rattling horror story. Ellison…
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Film, "Here Comes the Boom": Pandering Morality for Dopes

"Here Comes the Boom": Pandering Morality for Dopes

Here Comes the Boom confronts the crisis in our nation's public schools, and multiplexes, for even an affable, saccharine, rudimentary comedy that looks like top of the class today. When impending budget cuts threaten to cancel his school's extracurricular programs,…
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Film, "Taken 2": The World's Most Boring Superdad Fights Again

"Taken 2": The World's Most Boring Superdad Fights Again

The one surefire punchline in Taken 2 is unintended, a bitter laugh. Ex-CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), delivering his trademark crisis-control cell phone coaching to his much-imperiled daughter (Maggie Grace), commands: "I want you to go to the U.S.…
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Film, "Hotel Transylvania": A Comic Dracula Still Kills

"Hotel Transylvania": A Comic Dracula Still Kills

Casting a tapered, vase-slender silhouette and speaking in a Transylvanian accent with a touch of Borscht Belt, Hotel Transylvania's de-fanged Count Dracula is introduced in an 1895-set prologue while serenading his infant daughter. No menacing carnivore, this Nosferatu has sworn…
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Film, "House at the End of the Street": Don't Root for This Underdog

"House at the End of the Street": Don't Root for This Underdog

A proficient suburban thriller that distributor Rogue has left to sell itself through the inducement of Hunger Games' Jennifer Lawrence's presence, House at the End of the Street has at its center the almost-universal experience of teenage mortification at one's…
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Film, "Trouble with the Curve": Still Too Old After All These Years

"Trouble with the Curve": Still Too Old After All These Years

What a strange thing for an actor, when one has been rehearsing one's decline and death for so very long! Eastwood is 82 today; he was wasting away from TB as early as Honkytonk Man (1982), had officially entered his…
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Film, Feature Game Boy: The Bigger, Better Mousetraps of Paul W.S. Anderson

Game Boy: The Bigger, Better Mousetraps of Paul W.S. Anderson

The big movie event of September will be the anticipated latest from a certain filmmaker who signs his films with the surname Anderson and a pair of initials, a prodigious talent who burst onto the scene with a stylish entry…
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