A Teen Runs Away and Falls in Love

With 1 Out of 7, writer/director York Shackleton takes a compelling idea, a teenage runaway getting by on the streets of Portland, and allows it to become the victim of his own artistic impulses. Here is an oversimplified, overwrought, painfully contrived film thatís not only tremendously implausible but also provides no real insight into a very serious and very common problem. The story exists primarily as a vehicle for (1) a soppy teenage romance, and (2) a melodramatic mother/daughter relationship.
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You Really Don't Want to Know How It Ends

For the first hour and a half or so, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a tense, genuinely frightening thriller with top-notch performances and compelling thematic subtexts. When it reaches its final twenty or so minutes, it inexplicably shifts gears, devolving into a science fiction monster movie the story wasnít built to support.
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What Changes Have a Decade Made?

Because I was homeschooled my senior year of high school, reunions have not been and never will be in the cards for me. Does this leave me ill prepared to review 10 Years, an ensemble comedy/drama set, as the title suggests, during a ten-year high school reunion? To an extent, I suppose it does; the experience of stepping back onto academic soil and being in the same space as former friends/enemies/acquaintances/teachers/crushes is unknown to me.
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It's All About the Date, and Nothing Else

11-11-11 is a horror movie about a writer plagued by ominous visions, supernatural encounters, and repeated exposure to the number eleven. This would include the date the story leads up to, and how fortuitous that the film was actually given a November 11, 2011 release date. Remember the 2006 remake of The Omen and its June 6 release date, which we all know was a marketing ploy to have the month, date, and year exactly match the demonic number 666?
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Integrity Was a Luxury Northup Couldnít Afford

Solomon Northup was a freeborn, educated, prosperous African American from Saratoga Springs, New York. Known for his violin playing, he had a wife, a successful cook named Anne, and three children, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Alonzo. In 1841, Northup was kidnapped by two white men claiming to be entertainers and sold into slavery, which was still legal in parts of the country, most notably in the south, where the demand for slaves was high.
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Heroes Often Fail

I think there is inherent in mountain climbers and outdoor thrill seekers a certain degree of arrogance. To subject yourself to extreme environmental conditions and believe that you're capable of taking them on requires a great deal of confidence, if not something of a superiority complex. I say this as someone who has never scaled a mountain and has absolutely no intention of ever doing so; perhaps it's coming from a place of jealousy, since being unwilling to take a risk has not allowed me to live life to the fullest.
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Never Assume a Dead Man's Identity

There are scenes in 13 that successfully elicit a terrifying visceral thrill. There can be no other reaction to a plot that centers on underground Russian roulette and numerous shots that consist of imprisoned men holding guns to each otherís heads. Iíve never fired or even held a gun in my life, and yet the movies have made me aware of that moment just before the trigger is pulled Ė that solitary, agonizingly tense moment when time seems to stop and absolutely nothing else in the world exists apart from you and your target. What will happen next? Only one way to find out.
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Hotel Hell

In a haunted hotel story, it always starts with a warning: Donít stay in that one room. Itís haunted. Itís evil. Thatís the way 1408 starts, and inevitably, it will lead to a series of nightmarish supernatural occurrences. We expect all this. What isnít quite as expected, which is exactly why the film works so well, is not bombarding the audience with clichťd images of ghosts and monsters. Instead, the film gets under your skin with uncomfortable subtleties.
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Pregnancy as a Shortcut to Independence

In 2008, Massachusettsí Gloucester High School drew international attention when it was reported that seventeen of its students had become pregnant during the school year. Because of a statement made by Principal Joseph Sullivan in an interview with Time magazine, word spread through the media that the girls had made a pact with one another to intentionally get pregnant. One student, Lindsey Oliver, refuted this during an appearance on Good Morning America: ďThere was definitely no pact. There was a group of girls already pregnant that decided they were going to help each other to finish school and raise their kids together.Ē
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Coping with a French Invasion

When we last left Marion (Julie Delpy) in 2 Days in Paris, she and her boyfriend, Jack (the Adam Goldberg character), were gradually coming to the realization that they werenít compatible. This was during a two-day trip to Marionís hometown of Paris, where Jack, an American, was in the thick of life-altering culture shock. Although the film ended with the two of them in an embrace, there was the inescapable sense that they would not make it as a couple. And indeed, 2 Days in New York begins with Marion telling the audience, via a simplistic fairytale-like voiceover narration and a crude puppet theater, that she and Jack had split up Ė but not before Jack fathered her son.
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