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James Rocchi

Cannes Review: “The Tree.” (photo)

Cannes Review: “The Tree.”

Reviewed at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. During Julie Bertuccelli’s “The Tree,” closing this year’s Cannes Film Festival out of competition, I started mentally tracing back the chain of decisions that landed the film on-screen before me — in no small part because that process was far more engaging and diverting than anything playing out […]

Cannes Review: “Fair Game.” (photo)

Cannes Review: “Fair Game.”

Reviewed at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. As has been said of robbery, so it is for espionage: You can do a lot more with a fountain pen than with a gun. “Fair Game” tells the story of Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) and Joe Wilson (Sean Penn), a Washington couple like any other — kids, […]

Cannes Review: “Tamara Drewe.” (photo)

Cannes Review: “Tamara Drewe.”

Reviewed at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Sassy, slick, slight and speedy, Stephen Frears’ “Tamara Drewe” explores the same territory as Woody Allen’s similarly out-of-competition “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” — the heart is capricious, and fate is cruel — while skewering both urban pretentions and rural rumor-mongering. Frears’ adaptation of Posy Simmonds’ […]

“Twelve,” i.e. “Poor Little Rich Kids, Waanh-Waaaaanh” (photo)

“Twelve,” i.e. “Poor Little Rich Kids, Waanh-Waaaaanh”

Reviewed at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Joel Schumacher (“Batman and Robin,” “The Lost Boys”), “Twelve” is unquestionably the funniest film at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival; if only it had been made with that intention. “Twelve”‘s ham-handed ineptitude is part of the joke — on Schumacher, on audiences and on any distributor […]

Alan Tudyk’s Touch of “Evil” (photo)

Alan Tudyk’s Touch of “Evil”

Long-limbed and deadpan, Alan Tudyk has pulled off the neat trick of making an impression in broad, goofy comedy parts (“Dodgeball,” “Death at a Funeral”) and shining in the confines of genre material (most notably the Joss Whedon’s “Serenity” and “Dollhouse”). This year at Sundance, he gets to combine the two with his work in […]

The bleak poetry of “Winter’s Bone.” (photo)

The bleak poetry of “Winter’s Bone.”

Reviewed at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Screening in the U.S. dramatic competition at Sundance 2010, “Winter’s Bone” brings to mind a number of prior Sundance highlights. Like “Frozen River,” it depicts a woman driven to hard choices by hard circumstances; like “Brick,” it sets a teen protagonist into a thoroughly modern set of problems […]

“HOWL” loud, but unclear. (photo)

“HOWL” loud, but unclear.

Reviewed at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Opening Sundance 2010 (and looking for distribution), “HOWL” is a film full of contradictions, wave upon wave of contrast and complication crashing over each other with undeniable power and, occasionally, incomprehensible purpose. Directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman interlace three separate moments surrounding Allen Ginsberg’s seminal (in every […]