Rooney Mara says yes to everything in this exclusive clip from 'Carol'
Credit: The Weinstein Company

Rooney Mara says yes to everything in this exclusive clip from 'Carol'

Todd Haynes is a chameleon as a filmmaker. Anyone who can make "Safe," "Velvet Goldmine," and "Far From Heaven" demands respect for just how nimble and gifted they are, and his latest film, "Carol," is another home run for him.

Adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel, "Carol" tells the story of a young woman named Therese Belivet, played by Rooney Mara, who meets an older customer, the preposterously elegant Carol Aird, played by Cate Blanchett. To say more about how things unfold from there would spoil the fun, but we have an exclusive clip from the film today for you.

Highsmith is one of my favorite authors, and I particularly love that she looked at the world in a way no one else did. Who else would have written a whole series of novels in which Tom Ripley was the lead? Who else could have come up with the deliciously sinister "Strangers On A Train"? She wrote about characters with a psychological sophistication, and Phyllis Nagy's remarkable adaptation of "The Price Of Salt" is just the latest example of how incredibly modern Highsmith's work still feels when treated with the right respect by the right filmmakers.

Impeccably photographed by Ed Lachman, "Carol" is a tactile pleasure, and it's that combination of fantastic performances, a ridiculously strong script, and filmmakers who are at the absolute top of their game that makes this such an impressive finished product.

"Carol" is in theaters now.

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Review: JJ Abrams breathes new life into 'Star Wars' with 'The Force Awakens'
Credit: Lucasfilm
A+

Review: JJ Abrams breathes new life into 'Star Wars' with 'The Force Awakens'

This is our spoiler-free review of the film, so don't worry

At one point before the premiere last night, I heard an ardent fan say that it is impossible to review a movie like "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." I understand what he means, particularly because he's coming to it as a fan first and foremost, but that's obviously not true. While I am a first-generation "Star Wars" freak, chemically transformed by the experience of seeing the first film in 1977, I am also a working film critic, and at heart, "The Force Awakens" is indeed "just" a movie.

It's a very good movie, I'd say, and should entertain audiences both deeply and casually invested in the ongoing saga of the Skywalker family. Made with a profound sense of passion and respect by an entire generation of filmmakers and performers who were influenced by the original films, this is a deeply affectionate film, and that affection, that honestly felt love, is what is going to make all the difference for viewers.

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Wait a minute... who played the voice of BB-8 in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'?
Credit: Lucasfilm

Wait a minute... who played the voice of BB-8 in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'?

This is not what I would have expected

One of the things I've noticed is that people never sit for the credits at a premiere, and that was doubly true last night at "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." I think everyone was probably worried about getting their checked phones back and getting over to the party. I have been a credits reader since I was a kid, though, and honestly, half the time I'm not even sure why. I just read the credits and occasionally find little bits of gold there.

For example, it's kind of astonishing to me that there were 5500 people at the screening last night, and no one has published anything today about my favorite credit: "BB-8 Vocal Consultant." I had to reach out to the person whose name jumped out at me because, until now, I hadn't heard a single thing about them or their involvement with this film.

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Either I was dreaming or I went to the premiere of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'
Credit: Walt Disney Company/Lucasfilm

Either I was dreaming or I went to the premiere of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

The Force is back and it's never going away again

"Star Wars" is back, and it's never going away again.

When "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" was released, there was no way in hell I would have expected an invitation to their premiere. After all, I had spent the entire production of the film publishing spoilers, including a review of the script that was published in November of '98. I was The Mighty Moriarty, part of Ain't It Cool News, part of the new unstoppable culture of spoilers, and I knew Lucasfilm wanted nothing to do with me.

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Review: Chris Hemsworth seems beached by the phony 'In The Heart Of The Sea'
Credit: Warner Bros.
C

Review: Chris Hemsworth seems beached by the phony 'In The Heart Of The Sea'

For a true story, this one's not really concerned much with fact

One of my favorite films in Ron Howard's long career as a director was "Rush," and part of what I loved about it was how it didn't really feel like a Ron Howard film. There was something audacious and rude and hilarious about the film's unlikable set of main characters.

Howard is the perfect studio filmmaker because his work is rarely dangerous or challenging. He makes professional movies with good casts that tend to be good but rarely great. There are a number of Ron Howard films that I like, and a I few that I really like. "Apollo 13." "Frost/Nixon." "Parenthood." "Rush." "Night Shift." "Splash." I like that he's spent his career trying different things. He's capable of putting some of the best technical artists in the business together, and he always seems to give himself to his movies 100%. When I'm not a fan of a film he's made, it's inevitably because I just plain don't like the script he shot. When "A Beautiful Mind" comes up, it's the script that makes me crazy. When I say I don't like "The Dilemma" or Backdraft," it's because I think they're shambles as screenplays.

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'Independence Day: Resurgence' trailer leans heavily on nostalgia for part one
Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Independence Day: Resurgence' trailer leans heavily on nostalgia for part one

Is that enough in what's going to be one of the most competitive summers ever?

When I think of "Independence Day," I don't feel any particular nostalgia for the film. I didn't care for it when it came out, and I think it's aged horribly. However, I do have a fondness for the moment it represents, as that was the beginning of my time online.

You may or may not be aware of my checkered past as a spy with a nom de plume, but if you're unaware, I started my career writing about movies as "Moriarty" over at Ain't It Cool News. In the days before that site was launched, I discovered newsgroups, and the idea that I could spend my time yelling at nerds all over the planet about whether or not Rick Deckard was a replicant seemed earth-shattering to me.

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When will fandom accept that Indiana Jones is NOT James Bond?
Credit: Paramount Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd.

When will fandom accept that Indiana Jones is NOT James Bond?

Another fact stated in public, another round of fansites refusing to accept the truth

Apparently, fandom has a reading comprehension problem.

That's not a particularly nice thing to say, but based on the way people continue to report information about a possible fifth Indiana Jones film, it must be true. It's the only explanation.

Let's look at the facts. When Disney bought Lucasfilm, Indiana Jones was one of the assets that they purchased. But Indy is a very different thing than "Star Wars,' and it always has been. "Star Wars" is more than just a single story, and it's more than a particular set of characters. In recent years, shows like "The Clone Wars" and "Star Wars: Rebels" have shown just how ready the audience is to welcome new characters into their hearts, and that theory will be put to the test in a major way with "The Force Awakens" next week. Will Finn, Rey, and Kylo Ren find themselves embraced by fandom as worthy new additions to the larger saga, or are we due for a tsunami of backlash like we experienced in 1999?

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The first trailer for 'The Legend Of Tarzan' is ambitious and full of eye-candy
Credit: Warner Bros

The first trailer for 'The Legend Of Tarzan' is ambitious and full of eye-candy

Plus Margot Robbie as a redhead? Yowsers!

Warner Bros. has been trying to make a Tarzan movie for years now. Even the Coen Bros. took a shot at it at one point.

While one of the main box-office trends right now has to do with the shared universes built from various intellectual properties like Star Wars or Marvel or Transformers, there's another trend that has to do with updated or revamped versions of public domain properties. Next summer, Warner is betting big on both Tarzan and King Arthur, and in both cases, I'm curious how they plan to make these different than the dozens, if not hundreds, of film versions that have come before.

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Review: Ice-cold revenge, angry bears, and Tom Hardy all terrify in 'The Revenant'
Credit: 20th Century Fox
A-

Review: Ice-cold revenge, angry bears, and Tom Hardy all terrify in 'The Revenant'

This might be the most beautiful film ever made about ugly things

History is written in blood by tooth and claw and gunpowder, and no recent film makes that point with more graphic impact than "The Revenant." Based on a novel that tells the story of Hugh Glass, a fur trapper who was attacked by a bear and then left for dead by the men who were supposed to tend to him, the film is a testament to punishment, both in terms of the story being told onscreen and in terms of what it must have taken to wrestle the film up onto the screen.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has been an expert chronicler of human suffering so far in his career, and it makes his films difficult emotional experiences. I still remember that sinking feeling I got when I saw "Amores Perros" in the theater the first time. I felt it again during "Babel" and again during last year's "Birdman." Innaritu seems to be fascinated by some of the darkest corners of the human heart, and it doesn't matter if the destruction comes from without or within. What matters most to him as a filmmaker is how we pick ourselves up and continue after we have been shattered, and to that end, "The Revenant" feels like the ultimate expression of what he's been chasing in his work so far.

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Review: Jennifer Lawrence gives her all but can't quite make 'Joy' fly
Credit: 20th Century Fox
C+

Review: Jennifer Lawrence gives her all but can't quite make 'Joy' fly

This latest collaboration with her 'Silver Linings' director bites off more than it can chew

David O. Russell's career can be divided right down the middle at this point between the movies he made before the horrible nail-related head injury and the movies he made after it.

Now, I'm not implying he had a head injury, of course. I'm referring to the film that was eventually released as "Accidental Love," which finally snuck onto Blu-ray this year. It's a terrible movie by any metric, and one of the saddest things about it is watching just how flat every attempt at humor falls in it. I am an unrepentant fan of "I Heart Huckabees," the last of the "old" Russell films, but it felt even at the time like he had followed that particular sensibility as far as he possibly could. It was six years until he roared back to life, suddenly transformed into the most reliable "I will get you nominated for an acting Academy Award" director that we have working right now. And of all the actors he's worked with since this reinvention, none have shone quite so brightly as Jennifer Lawrence.

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