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Silicon Valley Screening

Kara Swisher, Mike Judge, Alec Berg, Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Zach Woods and Matt Ross - HBO Presents The Season Two Screening of Silicon Valley With Mike Judge and Alec Berg at The Village - San Francisco, California, United States - Thursday 9th April 2015

Mike Judge and Alec Berg
Mike Judge
Mike Judge, Kumail Nanjiani, Thomas Middleditch, Zach Woods, Martin Starr and Alec Berg
Mike Judge, Kara Swisher and Alec Berg
Mike Judge and Matt Ross

Turn the River Review


Excellent
A jumpy forger asks an attractive pool hustler acquaintance, "What are you doing in town?" Without missing a beat, she replies, "Trying to get out." It's an apt summary of the entire plot of Turn the River, a stark, barebones genre piece redolent of rosin, racks, and eight balls, where the winning of a hustle bet of $50,000 doesn't signify triumph but escape.

Chris Eigeman makes an impressive debut as writer/director of Turn the River, ably abetted by an intense, edgy star turn from Famke Janssen as a pool hustler who wants to grab her abused son away from his weak, alcoholic father and get the hell out of town fast.

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Face/off Review


Excellent
It's hard to remember the whooshing sighs of disappointment from his fans that greeted John Woo in 1996 when, after so many half-steps and mis-starts, he made his big Hollywood debut with the stolen-nuke thriller Broken Arrow. Having left the Hong Kong business on a high with 1992's psychotic near-parody Hard Boiled, Woo did a Jean-Claude Van Damme flick -- 1993's Hard Target, which was heavily botched by studio interference but still contained some brilliant work -- before deciding to go seriously Hollywood. For Broken Arrow, he toned down his trademark mix of ultra-violent flourishes and teary-eyed humanism to concentrate on doing a by-the-book mid-'90s action flick that was generic in the extreme but raked in the money. The next year, though, Woo proved it had all just been an extraordinarily canny maneuver to allow him to make Face/Off, possibly the greatest, and definitely the most exuberant, action film to come out of the studio system in that decade.

A schizoid doppelganger mind-bender wrapped around your standard ticking-bomb scenario (it's hidden somewhere in Los Angeles and could take out the whole basin if detonated -- or something), Face/Off is an utterly lunatic film in the best possible way. Originally a futuristic thriller, the script was retooled for a modern-day setting, keeping several of its sci-fi elements but focusing more intently on its personality-shifting aspects which seemed to come straight out of Woo's international breakthrough, The Killer. An FBI agent, Sean Archer (John Travolta) has been hunting jet-set super-criminal Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) for years. For Archer, it's gone beyond personal to haunted obsession, particularly after Troy tried to shoot Archer but missed and killed his son instead. After a gonzo opening sequence involving a Humvee/private jet showdown on a runway and about ten thousand expended rounds (mostly fired by people flying sideways in slo-mo, of course), Archer's team brings down Troy.

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Big Love: Season One Review


Good
In its first season, Big Love was often summarily referred to as "the polygamy show." True enough, but as with many of HBO's finer offerings, it offers more than meets the eye. And the expectations. While Big Love doesn't deliver the consistency or tension many HBO fans enjoy in The Sopranos, there's enough in this bizarre drama to support a solid DVD-viewing addiction.

From the first notes of The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" ringing under an otherworldly opening credit sequence, Big Love hints at a combination of somber connection and sincere personal adoration. At the center is Bill Henrickson (Bill Pullman), an ambitious home superstore owner who lives a clean, Utah Mormon life... along with his three wives and gaggle of kids.

Continue reading: Big Love: Season One Review

The Aviator Review


Excellent
The mythology of Howard Hughes is quite possibly bigger than the man could ever live up to. Already the subject of a handful of movies and over 100 books, the particulars of the Hughes legend are widely known. But leave it to Martin Scorsese to spin the eccentric's life into a more coherent -- if sprawling -- mass.

As its title would imply, The Aviator focuses Hughes through the lens of the airplane, his greatest passion in the world. Hughes is known for many things -- business, movies, his women, hypochondria, political scandal (the lattermost is barely touched in this film) -- but it's his love of and scientific advances with aircraft that have had the most lasting effects on society.

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Good Night, and Good Luck Review


Excellent
One doesn't need much more of a reason to go to the movies than this: Edward R. Murrow taking on Senator Joe McCarthy (at the height of his power), crisp black-and-white cinematography, the clink of ice cubes over scotch, voluptuous clouds of cigarette smoke hanging in the air, a nation's conscience dangling in the balance. So it is with George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck, a film where the mood - just shy of too cool for its own good - sets the scene for Murrow, the patron saint of journalism, to cajole and castigate the audience in a time of complacency. It also has a great jazz soundtrack.

The story of the witch-hunt has endlessly retold, usually laden with the same self-satisfied 20/20 hindsight that afflicts stories of the civil rights movement, and fortunately Clooney and co-writer Grant Heslov see no need to go through it all again. With admirable precision, they've sliced away most all the accoutrements often used to open up the era for the modern viewer, ala Quiz Show. This is a film that takes place almost entirely inside a CBS studio and newsroom, with occasional trips to hallways, elevators, and a network executive's wood-paneled office. Once, they all go out to a bar. It's best in the studio, because that's where we find Murrow - incarnated with almost indecent accuracy by David Strathairn - looking and sounding like as though Rod Serling had decided to rejoin the human race, his manner clipped and astringent, cigarette cocked in one hand like a talisman warding off evil.

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Ed's Next Move Review


Extraordinary
This year's low-budget success story and darling of the festival circuit, Ed's Next Move is one of a handful of recent pictures that is truly deserving of its praise.

The Manhattan-based indie traces a few weeks in the life of urban greenhorn Eddie (Matt Ross), whose titular move is from the wide-open, cheesy state of Wisconsin to the dog-eat-dog world of New York City. Eddie, a genetics researcher and rice breeder, faces the world alone -- a stranger in a strange land. He lives in a cheap motel while he tries to find a non-psychotic roommate, can't get a simple hamburger at a restaurant, and finds his Midwestern sensibilities out of place in the big city.

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Just Visiting Review


OK
In 1993, director Jean-Marie Poiré created a small comedy sensation about two 12th century Frenchmen (played by Jean Reno and popular French comic actor Christian Clavier) who are mistakenly transported to the modern world. The film made nearly $100 million worldwide and was never released theatrically in the US.

It's eight years later, and Poiré has directed another small comedy about two 12th century Frenchmen (hmm, played by Jean Reno and that same popular French guy) who are mistakenly transported to Chicago 2000. Hey, wait a minute!

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Rose Red Review


Grim
Invest six hours in the DVD release of this Steven King miniseries and you'll come out... well, a lot like a guy who wasted four hours and 15 minutes on a crummy Steven King miniseries.

At its heart, the movie is a haunted house flick in the vein of recent films like House on Haunted Hill and Thirteen Ghosts, albeit one that takes a long time to get going, a long time to build up a story, and a long time to get over with. But they had a lot of commercials to sell, so who can fault them, huh?

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The Aviator Review


Excellent

Eschewing every pitfall of the biopic genre and delving deeply into the essence of both Howard Hughes' genius and his slow burn into madness, Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator" is a film of grand scope and masterfully intimate nuance, portraying a wild young mustang of a man who lived a fast life on an epic scale.

Presenting Hughes' view of the world as one in which nothing is impossible and the most momentous, groundbreaking decisions come instantly and instinctively ("What would controlling interest in TWA cost me?"), the film's crux is not the psychosis the man is best known for today, but his gift for sparing no expense to pursue novel visions no one else could see.

"We gotta reshoot 'Hell's Angels' for sound," Hughes decides on a whim in an early scene, after having already spent four years and millions of his own dollars perfecting his first foray into filmmaking -- a World War I epic featuring dozens of biplanes in an ambitious, jaw-dropping dogfight scene, parts of which Hughes shoots from a plane he flies into the fray himself.

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American Psycho Review


Weak

"American Psycho" could be called a personality sketch of a serial killer, but Patrick Bateman doesn't have a personality. His entire existence is a facade.

"There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman," he says in a chillingly apathetic voice over, "But there is no me. I simply am not there."

What is there in this icy, incisive adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' controversial and bloody psychological thriller -- published in the wake of the Reagan-Bush era -- is an extremely black satire of 1980s aggressiveness and indulgence with a succulently twisted wit.

Continue reading: American Psycho Review

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