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  • August 09, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Get Carter (1971)

    Oh, for the days when they made blunt and brutal noir thrillers with names like Get Carter (1971; 2:30 + 7 pm) and Point Blank (1967; 5 + 9:30 pm). In the former, directed by Mike Hodges, Michael Caine stars as the title British hood who suspects foul play in his brother's death and scours the grimy streets of Newcastle in search of remorseless payback.

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  • August 01, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Is Hollywood being outclassed by foreign filmmakers in what it has always done best - kicking ass? So one might conclude from the films showcased in the Brattle Theatre's "International Asskicking! Repertory Series," starting Thursday, August 2. In Pierre Morel's District B13 (2004; 3:30 + 7:30 pm), the Paris of the future has been walled-off, Escape from New York-style, and left to the criminals.

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  • July 15, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    In a sense, Bill and Turner Ross' Tchoupitoulas could be considered the documentary counterpart to Benh Zeitlin's highly touted, dreamlike fiction Beasts of the Southern Wild. In both films children venture into the wilds of Louisiana, one urban the other rural, with otherworldly results - and both films are strikingly sui generis in their spirit and style.

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  • July 04, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Having whetted your appetite for extreme, gory violence taking place in a domestic setting with House of 1000 Corpses this past weekend you might want to advance to another version of the same scenario but with a metaphysical, postmodernist twist. Drew Goddard's The Cabin in the Woods contains allusions to virtually every gruesome thriller ever made, deconstructs the whole genre, and tosses in a mind-boggling twist as well.

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  • July 02, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Sanjiban (2012)

    The avant-garde shorts in the Balagan program Reflection/Refraction play with the title concepts in unexpected and illuminating ways. They include Stephen Broomer's Memory Worked by Mirrors (2011), in which a mirrors reflecting the filmmaker's childhood home metamorphose into a "mysterious portal;" Shambhavi Kaul's Place for Landing (2010), in which a child is drawn into a kaleidoscopic world of shifting reflections; and Ben Pender-Cudlip's Sanjiban (2012), which records the jubilant last days of the late teacher/filmmaker Sanjiban Sellew.

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  • June 21, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    The late frontman for Boston band Morphine gets a reverent and moving memorial in Robert Bralver and David Ferino's documentary Cure For Pain: The Mark Sandman Story (2011). Employing interviews, concert footage, and home movies, the film provides an in-depth look at the life and career of the singer/bassist/songwriter and Boston-scene visionary who died on stage in 1999 at the age of 46, and offers a glimpse into what made his music unique, compelling, and influential.

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  • June 19, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    It's All Relative [winner in the 2011 24 Hour Film Race]

    In an era in which the average film costs about $100 million and takes years to make, the 24 Hour Film Race reduces the process to its basics, and then some. Teams were given 24 hours (from May 18-19) to write, produce, shoot, and edit a complete film after being assigned some obligatory parameters, including a requisite theme, prop, and action.

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  • June 10, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Valley Girl

    At last it can be said - Nicolas Cage: Greatest American Actor. To back up those immortal words, the Brattle presents a retrospective of his most memorable performances, which, given the crazy shit he's done on screen, should be good. It starts tonight with Martha Coolidge's Valley Girl (1983; Monday, June 11 @ 7:30 pm, Tuesday, June 12 @ 5:30 + 9:30 pm), his first leading role, in which he plays a punk wooing the title girl.

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  • June 06, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Imitation is the sincerest form of fanboy flattery, hence the rationale of Star Wars: Uncut, a project that divided up the original film into 15 second segments and distributed them to deserving devotees, inviting them to remake the scenes as they saw fit. It's a kind of Exquisite Corpse with droids and light sabers.

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  • June 03, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Sometimes two good causes, like housing for the poor and environmental protection, can come into conflict. That sounds like what happens in Bay of All Saints, a documentary about impoverished people in Bahia, Brazil who live in palafitas, hovels on stilts built above the sea of garbage amassing in the bay.

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  • June 01, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    How did it come about that immigrants, who made our nation what it is, are now being demonized by cynical demagogues for political gain? A much needed corrective to this propaganda is The Young Writers And Leaders Project, a Portland, Maine, community-service program which has been instrumental in producing The Whole World Waiting, David Meiklejohn's compilation of short films about the lives, disappointments, triumphs and dreams of 15 local teenaged immigrants (see Deirdre Fulton's review on page 29).

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  • May 31, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    There is no describing the films of Guy Maddin. You just have to take the plunge. His latest, Keyhole, might be a good place for the uninitiated to start; it definitely is something that his fans must see. In it, Jason Patric plays Ulysses, a mobster who must search for his beleaguered and apparently dead wife Hyacinth (Isabella Rossellini) hidden somewhere in the labyrinthine family home.

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  • May 29, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    The advance word on Wes Anderson's new movie Moonrise Kingdom (of which there's a free preview screening on Thursday, May 31 @ 8 pm) is very positive, but in some ways his best film might be his first - the sunny and absurd Bottle Rocket (1996; Wednesday, May 30 @ 10 pm + Thursday, May 31 @ 5:30 pm), which was also the film that established, for better and worse, the brothers Owen and Luke Wilson.

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  • May 27, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Lolita (1962)

    The ongoing "Reunion Weekend" series at the Brattle Theatre might convince you that they really don't make them the way they used to. Fifty years ago, instead of lining up to see The Avengers, you could see films by two of the greatest directors of all time. Like Orson Welles's The Trial (1962; Monday, May 28 @ 1:30 + 7 pm), an adaptation of Franz Kafka's inscrutable black comedy about inescapable bureaucracy and persecution that might be one of the most brilliant uses of architecture - and Anthony Perkins - in a film.

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  • May 20, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    The billions spent warehousing convicts in soul-destroying prisons don't seem to make much of an impact on recidivism or crime rates. Maybe the solution is as simple as the word "om"? Documentarians Andrew Kukura, Jenny Phillips, and Anne Marie Stein's The Dhamma Brothers (2008) takes a look at a program at the Donaldson Correctional Facility in Alabama, where the resident psychologist brought in teachers to instruct volunteers in Vipassana Buddhist meditation.

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