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    "A fast, complex, exhilarating roadster ride through history and time.... Kino is an intoxicating Euro-brew, written with enormous skill and dedication." — Frederick Barthelme

    "Jürgen Fauth's deft mashup of genre and historical period is both a full-throttle literary thriller of ideas and a contemplative examination of film and fascism. Kino is a debut of great intellectual  force."– Teddy Wayne

    "A surprising alternative history. Kino brings the golden age of German cinema to light with loving, sometimes gritty, detail and great precision." – Neal Pollack, author of Jewball.

    "A delirious melange of conspiracy, magic, sex, history, bad behavior, and cinema, Kino is a stellar entertainment, and Jürgen Fauth is a writer of rare, sinister imagination." – Owen King, author of Reenactment

    "A light-hearted romp that leads straight into darkness and back through the shadows on the wall."– Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

    "Movie nuts arise! A happy and felicitous debut."– Terese Svoboda

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Catching Up

With The Wire finally out of the way — none of the screeners piling up by the door could possibly compete — I’ll try and quickly catch up with some of the bat-free movies I’ve seen over the last few weeks.

Charlie Bartlett
Warm and funny coming-of-teenage tale about a wealthy kid (Anton Yelchin) who dispenses wisdom and prescription drugs in the public school bathroom and falls for the principal’s daughter (Kat Dennings). Scenes, situations, and jokes seem to have been lifted from Rushmore in their entirety, but Charlie Bartlett’s wry tone owes at least as much to Harold and Maude, which is referenced in a hilarious rendering of “If You Want to Sing Out”. With Hope Davis and Robert Downey Jr.  Jon Poll, 2007. ***

Romance & Cigarettes
I was with John Turturro’s mainly silly, occasionally transcendent musical about a suburban marriage threatened by the man’s flaming passion for a filthy-mouthed red head (Kate Winslet) until the final maudlin twist ruined it for me. With James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Steve Buscemi, Mandy Moore, Christopher Walken, Barbara Sukowa, and Mary-Louise Parker. John Turturro, 2005. **

Cute but overpraised. The wordless first act and the robots’ weightless space dance reach moments of poetry, but when the plot takes over, the movie flattens out into predictable kid’s fare. The puffy, grub-like humans are painful to look at. Andrew Stanton, 2008. ***

Did low expectations and the unsuspected pleasure of sneaking into this movie on our way out of Wall-E warp my judgment? Possibly — but I thoroughly enjoyed Hancock’s antics, Jason Bateman’s schmuck shtick, and the revelation of Charlize Theron’s secret — even if I forgot all about it half an hour later. Peter Berg, 2008. ***

Mad Detective (Sun taam)
The title’s the pitch: this time around, Johnny To’s hero is an investigator who, when he goes off his meds, can see people’s “inner personalities.” With his usual economy and panache, To cleverly uses the possibilities of this damaged character for a witty & involving crime story.  Johnny To, 2007. ***

Hotel America (Hôtel des Amériques)
First of the four films in a new André Téchiné (The Witnesses, Strayed, Changing Times) box set we’re very excited about. Set in Biarritz, Hotel America is about a lone woman with a history (Catherine Deneuve) and her amour fou for the shady, needy operator of a bed and breakfast. André Téchiné, 1981. ***

The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Never more than a passing fan of the series, I was nonetheless glad to see David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson on the big screen again. Unlike most critics, I found the film’s modesty admirable — no globe-spanning alien conspiracies here, just a solid, creepy thriller plot and enjoyable interaction between Mulder and Scully. I wasn’t particularly bothered by the admittedly heavy-handed thematic overlay, and while it’s true that most of the film plays like a supersized TV episode, it earned its right to be a movie in the final scenes. Chris Carter, 2008. ***

The Wedding Director (Il Regista di matrimoni)
After a run-in with the law, a famous director ends up in Sicily, where an impoverished Prince hires him to film the wedding of his daughter. At least I think that’s what happens in this intriguing, multi-layered, and surreal movie that felt like the sun-bathed love-child of Lynch and Fellini. Anything that ends in fireworks and features Italian ingenues as beautiful as Donatella Finocchiaro is ok by me. Marco Bellocchio, 2006. ***

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Joss Whedon, 2008. ****
Fear(s) of the Dark (Peur(s) du noir). Blutch et al, 2007. About.com review coming soon. **
In Search of a Midnight Kiss. Alex Holdridge, 2007. About.com review in the works. ***
Dreams with Sharp Teeth. Erik Nelson, 2008. ***
Charly. Isild LeBesco, 2007. ***
Charly Wilson’s War. Mike Nichols, 2007. **
Grosse Pointe Blank. George Armitage, 1997. ***
The Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite). Faith Akin, 2007. ****
Battlestar Galactica, Season 4 (half). ****

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