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Fresh Air

Hollywood Offers Up A Bevy Of Superheroes In 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'

Friday, May 01, 2015

Reviewer David Edelstein says Joss Whedon's new film plays like "a strategic set-up for a Hollywood franchise." Viewers will be blitzed by sound and fury — and a certain amount of "gobbledegook."

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'Far From The Madding Crowd': Counterprogramming Writ Victorian

Friday, May 01, 2015

NPR film critic Bob Mondello reviews the new movie version of Thomas Hardy's Victorian romance, Far From The Madding Crowd.

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Morning Edition

Avenger's Sequel: Overloads On Action, Plot Is Weak

Friday, May 01, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron is proficient at delivering superhero thrills for those who need them. While this movie may be effective moment to moment, very little of it lingers in the mind afterwards.

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Bigger And Louder Than Ever, Can The Avengers Still Satisfy?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Avengers: Age Of Ultron continues the march of the Marvel Cinematic Universe toward more and more and more of everything. But that's not the same thing as making the movies better.

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In 'Marie's Story,' A Tale Of Teaching And Faith

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A new French film about a girl born blind and deaf speaks not only to the questions of how she learns, but of her encounters with faith and loss.

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Revisiting The Melodrama Of 'Far From The Madding Crowd'

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Carey Mulligan plays the role once occupied by Julie Christie, but her very different take may be too controlled for its own good.

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Fresh Air

Deception And Suspense By The Sea In The Iranian Mystery 'About Elly'

Friday, April 24, 2015

Recently released in the U.S., Asghar Farhadi's 2009 film follows a teacher invited on a beach trip by the mother of one of her students. David Edelstein calls the film "Hitchockian" in its suspense.

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'24 Days' Retells A Brutal Crime With Little Explanation

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The docudrama 24 Days doesn't try to explain the thinking of those who abducted and killed a Jewish Parisian. Instead, it considers what can be known about the motives of others.

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Life Goes On (And On) In 'The Age Of Adaline'

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The conceptually intriguing story of a woman who doesn't age is let down by the (ironically?) lifeless way it presents the many, many years she has to work with.

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'Tangerines': Enemies On Neutral Territory In A Time Of War

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The surprise Oscar nominee for Outstanding Foreign Film tries to speak to common humanity even in situations of high conflict, but it struggles to make its themes feel real.

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All Things Considered

A Tart Take On Bitter Realities In 'Tangerines'

Friday, April 17, 2015

NPR's Bob Mondello reviews Tangerines, an unconventional war drama that was this year's Estonian nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.

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The Challenges Of War At A Distance

Friday, April 17, 2015

The new film Good Kill is a little too blunt in its treatment of drone warfare, but strong work from Ethan Hawke as a troubled pilot helps it along.

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Fresh Air

In 'True Story,' A Shamed Journalist Interviews A Fugitive Who Stole His Identity

Friday, April 17, 2015

In 2001, Michael Finkel was fired for making up a story. Then he learns that a suspected murderer is posing as him, so he gets to know him. The best word for the drama is "dumb," says David Edelstein.

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Morning Edition

Awkward At Times But 'Child 44' Can Hold Audiences' Attention

Friday, April 17, 2015

It's taken 7 years for the best-selling literary thriller Child 44 to make it to the screen. It's set in the Soviet Union in the last days of Josef Stalin and stars Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace.

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The Internet Of Spooky Things Is Alive In 'Unfriended'

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's a tradition for horror films to find teenagers where they live, so it makes sense that Unfriended would find them saying nasty things to and about each other online.

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Two Unmoored Souls Too Gloomily Drawn In 'Felix And Meira'

Thursday, April 16, 2015

To its credit, this story of an Orthodox Jewish woman struggling with her faith doesn't shortchange all it offers. But her encounter with a man who might offer a different future doesn't satisfy.

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'Monkey Kingdom' Is Best When It's All Monkeys All The Time

Thursday, April 16, 2015

There's some too-cute narration and some suspiciously convenient footage in this sort-of documentary from Disneynature, but when the monkeys are at their best, they're quite charming.

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Fresh Air

In 'Clouds Of Sils Maria,' An Actress Faces Past, Present And Future In An Instant

Friday, April 10, 2015

Juliette Binoche plays an aging movie star who's about to appear in a play opposite an infamous young Hollywood actress. It's a hall of mirrors that sounds convoluted in the telling, but plays easily.

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Morning Edition

'Ex Machina': Standout Sci-Fi Film About Artificial Intelligence

Friday, April 10, 2015

Ex Machina is a smart film that's both futuristic and completely plausible. It's capable of thinking big thoughts and providing pulp thrills. It's written and directed by Alex Garland.

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'The Sisterhood Of Night' Wonders What These Girls Are Up To

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Ella Taylor says this heartfelt first feature appears at the beginning to be trafficking in cliches about teenage girls, but it ultimately asks questions about secrecy and the growth of public fear.

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