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5:08 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

'Stolen': What's Been Taken Is Mostly The Plot

Will (Nicolas Cage) is a former thief who must race to find his daughter before a onetime partner kills her in Stolen.
Millennium Entertainment

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 6:23 pm

Stolen is very different from Pierre Morel's 2008 exploitation megahit Taken: There are six letters in its title, not five. It's set in New Orleans, not Europe. And it stars Nicolas Cage, not Liam Neeson. So any resemblance between these two films about fathers who'll stop at nothing to get their kidnapped offspring back is purely coincidental.

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The Two-Way
4:57 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

The First Amendment: Why The Muhammad Film Is Protected Speech

Protesters carry an American flag pulled down from the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday.
Nasser Nasser AP

The First Amendment guarantee of free speech is in the spotlight this week. If you haven't kept up, a U.S.-produced film depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a less than flattering way has inflamed the Arab world.

In a lot of ways, the story is showing how the sweeping nature of the First Amendment puts the United States at odds with most of the world.

That rift was perhaps most evident when you compare the statements of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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Movie Reviews
4:55 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

'Liberal Arts': A Lesson In Arrested Development

Emotionally stunted Jesse (Josh Radnor) forms a relationship with Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen), a much younger woman, in Liberal Arts.
IFC Films

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 7:08 am

In his first big-screen sitcom, HappyThankYouMorePlease, writer-director-star Josh Radnor emulated Woody Allen. Radnor's second feature, Liberal Arts, is less Allenesque, except for one crucial, and vexing, aspect: It's about an older man's infatuation with a younger woman.

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Movie Reviews
4:44 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

'Master' Actors Deliver Glimpse Into Cult Life

Navy veteran Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix) falls under the influence of cult leader Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in The Master.
Phil Bray The Weinstein Co.

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 12:12 pm

Overheard after a screening of The Master:

"So I guess this is an unfinished print?"

"Nope. This is the one they're rolling out."

And it's true that there are moments, especially toward the end of its meandering 137 minutes, when The Master feels like a series of brainy but disconnected thoughts about 20th-century America. That's how writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson works, and for those who don't insist on coherence or closure in narrative any more than they do in life, it's part of the thrilling madness of his method.

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Movie Reviews
4:30 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Gere Humanizes A Steely One-Percenter In 'Arbitrage'

Robert Miller (Richard Gere) struggles to hide his financial indiscretions from his daughter (Brit Marling) in Arbitrage.
Myles Aronowitz Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 11:55 am

Anyone looking for a moral high ground — or any high ground at all — in Arbitrage will be sorely disappointed. And that's only one of the reasons that Nicholas Jarecki's family-and-finances drama, handsomely photographed by Yorick Le Saux, is so appealingly adult.

At a time when filmmakers might be under some pressure to punish the 1 Percent, Jarecki (who also wrote the script) chooses instead to remind us that making and keeping scads of cash is rarely accomplished by the fainthearted or the foolish.

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