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From his humble beginnings as a supporting player in the third (and arguably best) Wallace and Gromit short, A Close Shave, the Aardman Animations creation Shaun the Sheep has become his own stop-motion franchise, one that encompasses a TV series, a spin-off TV series (Timmy Time, starring Shaun’s wooly cousin, Timmy), a merchandising line and, now, a big-screen feature. Like his former canine co-star, Shaun is a silent creature, and the other characters in his first feature follow his example. That includes his sheep family (including young Timmy), as well as the farmer that tends to Shuan and his flock. That makes the boringly, but accurately, titled Shaun the Sheep Movie the rare contemporary kids’ movie that isn’t filled with celebrity voices delivering inspired and/or insipid laugh lines.

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The Iranian-born, London-based screenwriter Hossein Amini (his credits include Snow White and the Huntsman and Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive) adds “director” to his resume with The Two Faces of January, a ’50s-era psychological thriller based on one of the lesser-known thrillers penned by Patricia Highsmith (author of The Talented Mr. Ripley among others). The movie, which is currently available on VOD and opens in theaters on Friday, stars Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst as a married couple who get in hot water while vacationing in Greece and Oscar Isaac as the low-level street criminal who lends them a hand…mainly so that he can cozy up to Dunst. I spoke with Amini before sitting down to talk with Mortensen for a Q&A that’s posted over on Yahoo Movies and you can read some excerpts from our conversation below.

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Snow White and the Huntsman puts a new spin on the old fairy tale and winds up being one of the summer’s most enjoyable surprises.  Check out my review over a TWoP by following the link below.

Snow White and the Huntsman Review
I Want My DVD
TV on DVD
Game of Thrones Best Moments
Game of Thrones Judging the New Characters

Hey, anyone remember 2010’s Clash of the Titans?  No?  Can’t blame you; it’s completely forgettable.  But Hollywood went ahead and made a sequel anyway and–surprise!–it’s just as boring as the first.  I review that film and the much buzzed-about doc Bully over at TWoP this week.  Follow the links below.

Wrath of the Titans Review
Bully and Goon Reviews
I Want My VOD
I Want My DVD
How Are These Actors Still Working?
Community Recap
TV on DVD
Amazing Race and Survivor Update
Why We Love Mad Men

As of this week, your trusty NYC Film Critic became the lead movies writer and general editor for the snark-tastic website Television Without Pity.  I’ll be posting daily reviews, interviews and other posts to the site, so drop by early and often.  My first batch of posts include a review of Super 8, the new J.J. Abrams small-town sci-fi picture, a piece about which reveals of alien monsters are the most effective and finally, a round-up listing which digital tweaks we’d make to recent movies in the wake of The Hangover Part II tattoo incident.

So what does this mean for this particular site?  Well, less original content for starters.  I may still post a few reviews now and then, but the bulk of my posting will be over at TWoP going forward.  I’ll make sure to provide regular links to that content here though, so it won’t be going entirely dormant.  But go ahead and update your bookmarks to include TWoP’s The Moviefile blog.  Look forward to seeing you all in my new digs!

With Sucker Punch, geek auteur Zack Snyder delivers his first “original” vision and, perhaps not surprisingly, it feels a heck of a lot like a lot of other movies, comic books and video games.  Read my review of this odd misfire over at Film Journal International, where you can also re-visit my review of his previous film, Watchmen and this interview I had with the very personable director around the time of his breakthrough feature, 300.

In a strong year for animated films, Sylvain Chomet’s beautiful adaptation of an unproduced Jacques Tati script may be the best of the bunch.  Read my review over at Film Journal and see the movie when it starts unrolling in limited release on December 24.

The New York Film Critics Online, of which I am a member, met today to single out the best 2010 had to offer.  To no one’s great surprise, The Social Network took home the big three awards–Screenplay, Director and Picture.  But we did spread the wealth around a little, handing Actor to James Franco for his terrific turn in 127 Hours, Actress to Natalie Portman for her poised work in Black Swan (although, to be honest, I was pulling for Blue Valentine‘s Michelle Williams or Another Year‘s Lesley Manville) and Breakthrough Performer to Noomi Rapace, the best thing about the film versions of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.  The win I was most thrilled about?  Exit Through the Gift Shop‘s squeaker victory in the Documentary category.  The win I was least thrilled about?  John Wells as Debut Director for his solid, but unremarkable drama The Company Men.  Read the full list of winners–as well as NYFCO’s collective Top 10 of 2010 list (not to be confused with my own list, which I hope to post here within the next two weeks)–after the jump.

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Denzel Washington and Chris Pine are blue-collar heroes riding the rails on the heels of a runaway train in Tony Scott’s latest macho action blockbuster UnstoppableRead my review at Film Journal.

Samson and Delilah
Written and Directed by Warwick Thornton
Starring Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibson
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I love great dialogue as much as the next critic, but it seems to me that American movies have gotten awfully talky recently, as if too many filmmakers have simply forgotten that age-old aphorism about one image being worth a thousand pithy exchanges.  That’s especially true with the recent spate of movie romances—both of the comic and dramatic variety—where the couple that’s meant to be falling in love or that’s already in love talks endlessly at each other about their feelings without ever seeming to share one quiet moment of genuine affection.  (I suppose I have to blame my all-time favorite movie, Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, for that—Alvy and Annie do talk up a storm in that film, but their conversations are somehow just as intimate and affectionate as silence would be.)

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