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2 items from 2016

Brie Larson Wins Best Actress Oscar for ‘Room’

28 February 2016 9:09 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Brie Larson’s “Room” journey began in Colorado at the 42nd annual Telluride Film Festival and culminated Sunday night with an Oscar for best actress. Indeed, Larson even took a moment to thank the fest, along with the Toronto Film Festival (where “Room” won the audience award), for kick-starting the film’s course.

“The thing that I love about movie-making is how many people it takes to make it,” Larson said moments after Eddie Redmayne opened the envelope and announced her name to the Dolby Theatre audience. “Thank you to the moviegoers.”

Cate Blanchett (“Carol”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”), Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”) and Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”) also competed in the category.

Larson has been a dominant force ever since the first baubles were handed out, starting with a National Board of Review prize to kick things off in December. She picked up awards from critics groups across the country, including those from Chicago, »

- Kristopher Tapley

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Film Review: ‘The Little Gangster’

2 February 2016 12:56 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

A clever Dutch family comedy, “The Little Gangster” finds our grade-school hero managing to escape constant bullying by convincing his classmates — and an entire neighborhood — that his milquetoast father is in fact a Mafia don. Those who expect kid pics to have a constructive message might take exception to this one’s apparent takeaway that a little intimidation can be a good thing, so long as you really mean no harm (and target only actual bullies). For everyone else, Arne Toonen’s slick feature will go down easy as an entertaining, neatly plotted comedy that could tempt limited offshore specialty sales and remake bids.

Motherless Rikkie Boskamp (Thor Braun) wishes he had a “cool” father — certainly not one like bespectacled accountant Paul (Henry van Loon), who seems permanently depressed and distracted. Paul is so passive that even his status as a grieving widower doesn’t spare him co-workers’ cruel practical jokes. »

- Dennis Harvey

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