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The Daily


Searching for Sugar Man is a detective story about a forgotten musician

Detroit, 1968. Mist rises from the river as freighters pass by. Two men walk into a bar called the Sewer. An eerie voice floats toward them, like the smoke that fills the dingy, beer-stained room. They draw closer to its source. The singer's back is turned. He could be anybody -- or nobody at all. >More
 A man romances his alma mater in Liberal Arts

On the topic of liberal education, there's disagreement. Skeptics, including anxious parents, worry that English majors aren't prepared for rewarding careers. Proponents counter that liberal-arts disciplines develop useful professional skills, especially critical thinking. The career debate misses the point. >More
 A family's antics get a little too nutty in 2 Days in New York

Julie Delpy's 2 Days in New York resembles a Woody Allen comedy, but there's more than one kind of Woody Allen comedy. The film combines a couple of classic Allen approaches: the thoughtful, character-based humor of Annie Hall and the farce of early, funny movies like Bananas. I'm afraid the combination is unwieldy in 2 Days in New York, which Delpy directed, co-wrote and co-produced. Even so, I laughed a lot. >More
 Argo hatches a crazy plan to spring hostages from Iran

It seems absurd to those of us who associate him with Daredevil, J-Lo and Gigli, but when our backs were turned, Ben Affleck became a Serious Filmmaker. That's not to say he makes Serious Films. He launched his directing career with low-key, character-based genre fare -- tense crime-fiction narratives that were smart, efficient and restrained. >More
 Tim Burton rekindles his creative spark in Frankenweenie

In 1984, Tim Burton, a 25-year-old Disney animator, made a 29-minute live-action film called Frankenweenie. In this lively tale, a schoolboy named Victor Frankenstein (Barret Oliver) revives his beloved dog, Sparky, who's been killed by a car. >More
 Neil Young Journeys needs a bit more direction

Rock concert movies are a distinctly mixed bag. Filmmakers long ago realized that they can't convey anything like the near-religious experience of a great show, and better rock films come at the issue sideways. Consider Woodstock, which conveys in such marvelous detail that festival's ups and downs. >More
 Your Sister's Sister is as funny and complex as a real-life love story

I love Your Sister's Sister a lot. What is it about this tense, amusing, sexy film? I recall two scenes. One is near the end. A character named Jack (Mark Duplass), who is a schlub, delivers a beautiful speech. Like the rest of the film, it's heartfelt and tinged with irony. >More
 Take This Waltz is an unwitting parody of itself

In the Seinfeld episode "The Frogger," Jerry breaks up with his girlfriend in a montage that wickedly satirizes breakup clichés. It's really funny. There is a similar breakup montage in the romantic drama Take This Waltz. I regret to inform you that we're not supposed to think it's funny, even though writer-director Sarah Polley likewise employs abrupt emotional shifts and snippets of random-yet-fraught dialogue. >More
 The Master is much more than a Scientology saga

Is The Master -- Paul Thomas Anderson's hauntingly intimate epic -- about Scientology? Many people have been focusing on this question, hoping perhaps for a searing, roman à clef takedown of L. Ron Hubbard's movement. It's easy to deduce the inspiration for Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the film's magnetic author-philosopher-guru character. >More
 A con man poses as a missing teen in The Imposter

I complain a lot about contemporary documentaries. That's because too many documentarians keep making the same distracting mistakes. They condescend to their subjects. They use cutesy animations. They stage reenactments. Reenactments bother me the most. >More
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