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July 2010

The Granny Diaries

Lola (2010)

Swift Productions/Tribeca Film Festival

Two years ago I watched Brillante Mendoza's "Foster Child" at Edinburgh, an experience that could not have been more bracing if the director had turned up and slapped me in person. This year his "Lola" had a similar effect. Mr. Mendoza's welding of documentary staging and local color onto angry agitprop is a style which looks like no style at all — until the bruises start to rise. He is the master of the confrontational whisper.

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Mother Courage

Winter's Bone (2010)

Sebastian Mlynarski/Roadside Attractions

Deep in the Ozarks, where it seems betrayal of your neighbor is the worst crime of all and most justice is natural justice, teenager Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) needs to find her missing father before her family and two young siblings are evicted from their home. Determined to discover what's happened to him, Ree starts asking pointed questions of her in-laws and won't take no for an answer.

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Lying in a Pool of Bad Blood

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

Kimberley French/Summit Entertainment

David Slade takes over “The Twilight Saga” directorial reigns for “Eclipse,” the third installment; and the “Hard Candy” filmmaker gives it his directorial all. Sprucing things up with an indie-rock infused soundtrack, grittier bone-crunching violence and several moody, naturalistic visual compositions, Mr. Slade demonstrates a firm belief in the narrative’s potential to rise above its simplistic, potboiler origins. Such faith must be commended, no matter how blind.

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