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'Mars Needs Moms' Review: Laughs Are Also in Short Supply
William Goss ventured into the latest Zemeckis mo-cap adventure and surmised: "As a purely technical exercise, 'Moms' boasts remarkably immersive environments and well-rendered textures, par for the course from the ImageMovers crew. Alas, all these pixels are in service of eerie character design for the humans and Martians alike."

'Paul' SXSW Review: Funny and Sweet Fan Boy Pandering
Todd Gilchrist reviews the latest Pegg/Frost flick and is torn between the references and the lack of deeper meaning: "'Paul' is a film that seems to too often pander to genre fandom without finding deeper meaning beneath it, or maybe more accurately, celebrates the people who share our affection for nerdy stuff but neglects to provide a meaningful reason why we should feel it in the first place."

'The Lincoln Lawyer' Review: A Film That Offers a Thrilling But Bumpy Ride
Jenni Miller reviews McConaughey's latest. Though the script manages to be "both fairly convoluted and incredibly simple in hindsight, and suffers from several false endings," the film "is an enjoyable thriller buoyed by the unrelenting charisma of McConaughey."

Also check out our full coverage of SXSW -- reviews, interviews and more.

Original Columns

Adventures in B-Movie Land #6: 'Night Train to Terror'
Jacob Hall hops on the train and says it's worse than "bad" -- "To call 'Night Train to Terror' a bad film would be doing it a disservice. It's the worst film. In terms of production quality and such obvious behind-the-scenes greed, there is no better example of the film industry at its nadir than this nightmare."

Top 5 Blu-ray Picks of the Week: 'The Fighter,' 'BMX Bandits'
Of 'BMX,' Peter Martin writes: "There's no way this Australian flick should deliver as much entertainment value as it does, but director Brian Trenchard-Smith ramps up the primary colors and delirious action, with the bonus of teenage Nicole Kidman, showing the assured confidence of a star."

Girls on Film: It Took a Century to Get 'Jane Eyre' Right
Monika Bartyzel digs into the many cinematic incarnations of 'Jane Eyre' and determines: "Fukunaga's version allows Jane Eyre to soar back to the heights Brontë crafted, in a way that could reinvigorate and inform future period pieces, if it finds success."

The Week In Geek: A Chat with 'My Sucky Teen Romance' Director Emily Hagins
John Gholson chats with Hagins about her latest and how it "comes from things in my life, not the romance necessarily, but the convention is based on this convention I go to every Summer (CONvergence), and my friends from that convention are flying down to see the movie.

Framed: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Alison Nastasi tackles the iconic frame from 'E.T.,' noting: "Normally I'd try to explain how a frame was crafted and composed, but here it matters very little. The beauty of this image transcends any kind of outlined explanation. It's one of those unexpected moments where the impossible moon that illuminates their journey, John Williams' sweeping score and the look of awe and excitement we feel transports us to that mythical, captivating space in cinema where anything can happen."

Doc Talk: How Could Documentary Cinema Change for the Better?
Christopher Campbell hits the streets, or the fests, to talk to doc fans about what the format needs to change. "The thing is, there are so many kinds of non-fiction films and so many kinds of doc enthusiasts that we all have very different answers for the following question: what one thing could change for the better for documentaries?"

Original Features

Military Experts Weigh in on 'Battle: Los Angeles'
Todd Gilchrist talks to some experts on the authenticity of the new film: "I think 'Battle: LA' did depict a situation that happened very quickly. It was almost like what happened at Pearl Harbor -- we didn't really expect it and then the attack came and there was all kinds of panic; even the military didn't know how to react that quickly."

Stars in Rewind: Vintage John Goodman Commercial 'Hits You Just Right'
Alison Nastasi digs through old commercials to share a look at actor John Goodman in the '70s, and muses: "If only someone could convince Goodman to do a slap-happy Skin Bracer commercial as Walter from 'The Big Lebowski' -- he would totally tear that thing up."

Scenes We Love: 'Shaun of the Dead'
Marina Zogbi raves about her favorite 'Shaun' scene, where they break into the Winchester, and writes: "Accusations are hurled, hilariously irrelevant -- but rom-com perfect -- dialogue ensues, as do zombie-flick chestnuts ("She's not your mum anymore!"), and, to top it all off, there's a tender moment between Shaun and Liz that enables him to do the unthinkable. It's a fantastic scene from the movie that still defines the ever-proliferating zombie-humor genre."

2011 Miami International Film Festival Wrap-Up
Christopher Campbell hits the Miami film fest and calls 'Small Town Murder Songs' "the best fiction film I saw in Miami, hands down. What's lacking in (unneeded) narrative depth is made up for in a great cast of character actors, led by the underrated and overtly understated Peter Stormare, and a brilliantly invigorating tone that's somehow both subtle and overpowering, the latter mostly the result of the very prominent gospel-march soundtrack by Bruce Peninsula (who are like a wonderful blend of Tom Waits and Arcade Fire)."

Their Best Role: Kurt Russell in 'Big Trouble in Little China'
Though he's played many tough men, Marina Zogbi thinks Kurt Russell's best role is 'Big Trouble' because "Russell channels John Wayne's drawl, stomps around in tight, faded jeans and knee-high boots like a deranged Snake Plissken, and proves himself as deft with physical comedy as with the fast, funny dialogue."

Cinematical Seven: Most Memorable Irish-American Cops
Sharon Knolle hits the police force for St. Patrick's Day, and writes of Dirty Harry: "We'd call him a 'textbook' maverick cop, except Dirty Harry never does anything by the book. Harry answers to a higher power and it sure as hell isn't his bosses, but his own unyielding sense of right and wrong.

'Paul' Director Gred Mottola on Making the Geekiest Alien Movie Ever
Todd Gilchrist chats with the director, who wonders: "it is a very high-concept movie, and it's certainly the most high-concept thing I've ever worked on. So there may be hope for us that people will say, oh, that's a funny idea, meeting an alien and the alien turns out to be kind of just this dude -- that seems funny. Will they show up for it? I don't think anyone has any idea."

Matthew McConaughey on The Smooth-Talking 'Lincoln Lawyer'
Jenni Miller chats with the 'Lincoln' star, who says of the project: "they don't make a lot of these movies any more. They're hard to get made. They're hard to make good, and they're not making as many of them. It's a classic legal thriller, but this one's got a very modern-day pulp [feeling] to it, the killer soundtrack, and again, it's on the streets of L.A., so it's not your granddad's law movie."
categories Columns, Cinematical