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Sam Adams

3D brings out the glory of “Cane Toads,” warts and all. (photo)

3D brings out the glory of “Cane Toads,” warts and all.

Reviewed at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. “Welcome to Avatoad,” “Cane Toads: The Conquest” director Mark Lewis told the audience at Park City’s Eccles Theater on Tuesday night, not only providing weary copy editors the world over with a readymade headline, but neatly summarizing the mild absurdity of the film’s existence. A sequel to his […]

Fanning, Stewart grow up fast in “The Runaways,” if not unpredictably. (photo)

Fanning, Stewart grow up fast in “The Runaways,” if not unpredictably.

Reviewed at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Coming-of-age movies are Sundance’s stock in trade, but few announce themselves as boldly, and broadly, as “The Runaways,” whose first shot is a splotch of menstrual blood hitting the pavement. Said splotch emanates from Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning), a suburban California teenager with a burgeoning David Bowie obsession […]

“HappyThankYouMorePlease,” no thanks. (photo)

“HappyThankYouMorePlease,” no thanks.

Reviewed at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Film Festival’s self-hype this year is full of words like “rebel,” “revolt,” and “rebirth,” but innocuous romantic comedies like “HappyThankYouMorePlease” are presumably not what they have in mind. The writing and directing debut of Josh Radnor, best known as “How I Met Your Mother”‘s Ted Mosby, […]

Drifting Out of Focus (photo)

Drifting Out of Focus

Joel and Ethan Coen have an almost chronic aversion to being taken seriously. Their darkest movies are nevertheless laced with black humor, and in interviews, they tend to rebuff the idea that their work is about anything other than what appears on the surface. Even to the actors who have worked with them, their intentions […]

When Moore is Less (photo)

When Moore is Less

In “Capitalism: A Love Story,” Michael Moore takes on his biggest target yet, and his most elusive. Buttonholing reluctant CEOs is one thing; pinning down an abstract principle quite another. With “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Moore’s seventh documentary completes a loosely affiliated conspiracy trilogy whose films rely on emotional logic and rhetorical sleight […]

Failure to Connect (photo)

Failure to Connect

As the stars walked the red carpet for the Toronto premiere of “Jennifer’s Body,” there were fans screaming “Megan!” and “Adam!” and one, just off to the side, holding up a picture of screenwriter Diablo Cody affixed to a piece of cardboard and illuminated like a medieval manuscript. Even during this conclave of international cineastes, […]

Destroying the World to Save It (photo)

Destroying the World to Save It

Is it too late for “9” to be the action movie of the summer? Shane Acker’s dystopian fable shares a subject with the latest entries in the “Terminator” and “Transformers” franchises (not to mention “Battlestar Galactica”), but his direction is a model of clarity and grace, and his animated, inhuman protagonists are more life-like and […]

A Combustible Mix (photo)

A Combustible Mix

It’s fitting that Mike Judge’s last two movies have been released over Labor Day weekend, since he’s one of few American filmmakers actively concerned with the world of work. Workplace dramas have dominated TV for years, effectively replacing shows that revolved around the nuclear family; none of the overachievers on “ER” or “Law & Order” […]