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The Paperboy (2012)

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Thumbnails 7/31/15

How we process movies in 2015; Top Ten Pixar Movies; Christopher McQuarrie on Minnelli and more; Dangers of auteur TV; Dorothy Arzner retrospective at UCLA.

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Thumbnails 10/30/14

David Lowery on "Force Majeure"; Rick Perlstein on "Life Itself"; Jacqueline Keeler responds to Matthew McConaughey; Beatrice Welles on "The Other Side of the Wind"; Brandy Burre on "Actress."

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Thumbnails 3/6/14

Why DiCaprio doesn't get lucky at the Oscars; Atheism in Hollywood; Famous rejection letters; Wes Anderson as an advertiser; Auteur theory and Kent Jones.

Roger Ebert

National Society of Film Critics falls for "Amour"

Michael Haneke's "Amour," which won the Palme d'Or last May at Cannes, was voted Saturday the best film of 2012 by the prestigious National Society of Film Critics. The award, coming on the eve of voting for the 2013 Academy Awards, confirms "Amour" as a Best Foreign Film frontrunner. Other NSFC winners will also draw welcome attention.

Festivals & Awards

Raunchy comedy, brutal sex, bloody violence

Big stars were out to shine this morning in Cannes, when "The Paperboy" by Lee Daniels premiered in competition, with a cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, David Oyelowo, John Cusack, and Grammy Award-winning R&B singer Macy Gray. Daniels had a massive hit with his previous film "Precious," which premiered here in 2009 and went on to earn six Oscar nominations with two wins, and countless other awards worldwide.

A director with that kind of success in his recent past has got to have a lot of hopes and fears riding on his next film. Daniels certainly had star power in his corner on "The Paperboy," but the film got a mixed reaction this morning in the Palais, and I'm not sure it's headed for a repeat of the acclaim that "Precious" experienced.

"The Paperboy" is adapted by Pete Dexter and Daniels from Dexter's novel of the same title. The film reportedly takes a few deviations from the source novel (which I haven't read) to result in pretty much a whole new story. There are many shifts of tone, making the film simultaneously a comedy, a mystery/thriller, and a Southern gothic potboiler. It's amusing and frustrating; hilarious and tense; awkward in its construction yet featuring bursts of gripping acting.