Jennie Yabroff

Stories by Jennie Yabroff

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    Danish Director Imagines 'A Better World'

    When Danish director Susanne Bier delivered her acceptance speech at this year’s Golden Globe Awards, she left the audience speechless. Literally. Accepting her award for best foreign-language film from Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson, Bier nervously joked that her movie features “people who speak like they have potatoes shoved down their throats.” Dead silence. After several awkward seconds, the director hastily wrapped up her speech.
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    Autism Finds Its Voice

    Four new friends sit around a table at an outdoor café in Helsinki, typing on handheld devices. Shyly, Tracy sends Henna a message asking if she might like to visit him. Avoiding eye contact, Henna types back that she will need to ask her mother. The scene could be that of any group of teenagers, awkward and bashful, more comfortable texting than engaging in face-to-face conversation. The difference is that the typists range from young adults to middle-aged. And all of them are autistic.
  • Movies: Jim Carrey in 'I Love You Phillip Morris'

    The film, based on the true story of a Texas con man who escaped from jail four times to be with the man he loved, can’t decide whether it’s a jaunty farce or a serious character study.
  • Movies: 'Another Year' Cure For Commitment Phobias

    Tom and Gerri are happily married. How you take that statement—with a disinterested shrug or a disbelieving sneer—probably predicts how you’ll react to this utterly ordinary, yet quite extraordinary film.
  • Movies: Colin Farrell in 'The Way Back'

    You would think a movie inspired by the true-ish story of gulag escapees who walked from Siberia to India would be, if nothing else, emotionally exhausting. But 'The Way Back' is a placid, almost pleasant film, so reluctant to offend that it fails to engage.
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    Anne Hathaway's Breasts Are Way Distracting

    Increasingly, nudity has become a self-congratulatory indication of European-style seriousness, an interruption of the narrative to remind the audience we are watching A Work of Art.
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    Meatloaf Is Sexier Than You Think

    "The Essential New York Times Cookbook," a nearly 1,000-page, bright-red doorstop, proves that when it comes to what we eat, there’s no such thing as invention, merely reinterpretation.
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    The Immigrant Experience Gone Wrong

    Yosef Woldemariam came to America from Ethiopia by way of Sudan, first walking through war-ravaged villages to a port town, then stowing away on a ship in a packing crate.
  • 'The Freebie': One-Night Standoff

    Everything is perfect in Annie and Darren’s marriage, except they can’t remember the last time they had sex. Rather than questioning whether their union is in fact as flawless as they think, they conclude that sex with other people will be the key to marital bliss. In a way, they’re right: the destabilizing effect of discussing the proposition, in a joking/not joking way, instantly spices up the relationship. What happens next? You’ll have to see "The Freebie" to find out.
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    When Is a Biopic Not Just a Biopic?

    The movie "Howl" opens in black and white with a bespectacled poet adjusting his glasses and preparing to read. In the audience, college kids drink wine from glass jugs and blow cigarette smoke dramatically skyward. The poet begins. “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.”
  • 'The Romantics' Is All Style, No Substance

    'The Romantics' is a very pretty movie that has no idea how silly it is. As a portrait of a group of Ivy League pals coming together for a wedding straight out of WASP heaven, it could not be more appealing: the clothes, the sets, and even the mist-shrouded landscape are J.Crew-perfect.
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    The Frida Fighters

    When it comes to forgery scandals, this one is the grandma of them all.
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    Jonathan Franzen, the Writer We Love to Hate

    So far, critics have been careful to review "Freedom" and not Franzen, almost uniformly praising the novel without letting their feelings about the seemingly insufferably self-important writer color their views. Will readers be as generous?
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    'Eat Pray Love' and the Too-Talky Romantic Comedy

    Film is a visual medium, and the best directors exploit it to tell their stories with an economy of words. But with several recent movies, including the new "Eat Pray Love," the art of dramatization has been jettisoned in favor of hyperverbalization.
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    'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' vs. Old Critics

    "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" opens this week, but apparently you needn't have seen the film to take part in the debate online: is this a movie for everyone, or is it just for audiences roughly the same age as the characters in it?
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    'Cairo Time': Patricia Clarkson’s Sexy Chaperone

    The new movie tells the tale of one woman’s jaunt to the Middle East—with, of course, a spicy local named Tareq serving as her requisite Middle Eastern chaperone. But isn’t Clarkson too fearless to be playing the ninny-esque lady abroad?
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    The Pat Tillman Myth

    Watch just a few seconds of the footage the major news outlets ran nearly nonstop in the weeks following Pat Tillman’s death and you’ll get a crash course in Mythmaking 101.
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    Memoirs: Conversation With Clegg and Strauss

    Many first-time memoirists are motivated by self-serving desires: to make the world notice them or to make the world like them. Neither can be said of Bill Clegg or Darin Strauss. Both were already successful—Clegg as a literary agent, Strauss as a novelist—when they decided to write memoirs. Rather than polishing their images, their books explore the darkest moments of the writers’ lives.
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    Movie Review: 'Life During Wartime'

    With themes including incest, pedophilia, and suicide, Todd Solondz’s films aren’t exactly the kind you give "two enthusiastic thumbs up" to. So what does it say about someone who not only likes his movies but also likes his least sympathetic character most of all?
  • Hail Kael!

    In her reviews, Pauline Kael can come across as a bit of a bully and a snob—you imagine her voice as either shouting or cackling with derision. Which is why it's such a treat—and a shock—to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her essay "Why Are Movies So Bad? Or, the Numbers" by watching this 1982 conversation between Kael and Canadian interviewer Brian Linehan.
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    Movie Review: 'Dinner for Schmucks'

    The movie is called "Dinner for Schmucks", so naturally the climax happens at a dinner. Steve Carell plays Barry, a schmo (yes, you need "Joys of Yiddish" to read this story) who makes dioramas featuring dead, but cute, mice.
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    Finally, a Satire of Those Ridiculous Book Trailers

    It's unclear if the trailer for Gary Shteyngart's 'Super Sad True Love Story' will sell any more books than any of the straightfaced, acoustic-guitar-backed trailers that have come to define the genre, but it’s a hell of a lot more fun to watch.
  • Winnebago Man's New Viral Video

    Jack Rebney is a very angry man. At least he was a very angry man during the two sweltering August weeks 22 years ago when he tried to film a promotional video for Winnebago motor homes. Unbeknownst to him at the time, his crew kept the camera rolling for his outbursts and edited together a short video of his explosions.
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    Indie Film or Jerry Springer?

    Two hot lesbians face serious relationship drama when one starts sleeping with the couple’s baby daddy. A sex-starved middle-aged housewife seduces her son’s 20-something friend. A horny dad gets it on with his teen daughter’s cosmetician on her massage table. Now, you tell us: does this sound like an episode of Jerry Springer, or a weekend at the art-house cinema?
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    This New Pat Tillman Documentary Will Make McChrystal's Retirement Less Pleasant

    Sick of reading about Stanley McChrystal yet? Brace yourself. The newly retired general won't be getting in many relaxing golf games or afternoon naps anytime soon—at least not if a new documentary about the death the professional football player turned Army ranger Pat Tillman has any say about it.

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