<em>Holy Motors</em>: Denis Lavant
Holy Motors: Denis Lavant
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RICHARD T. JAMESON's Ten Best
Zero Dark Thirty
Lincoln
Django Unchained
Once upon a Time in Anatolia
The Turin Horse
Silver Linings Playbook
Moonrise Kingdom
The Sessions

Cosmopolis
The Deep Blue Sea

KATHLEEN MURPHY's Ten Best
Zero Dark Thirty
Lincoln
The Master
Amour
Holy Motors
Django Unchained
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
The Deep Blue Sea
Cosmopolis

(movies.MSN.com No. 5)
At the beginning of Leos Carax's mysterious Holy Motors, a modern-day Lon Chaney named Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant) walks through a hotel wall into a crowded movie theater. Thereafter, he's chauffeured by an elegant older woman (Edith Scob, iconic star of Franju's Eyes Without a Face) to a series of "appointments"/performances. Within the fertile womb of his silver limousine, M. Oscar applies elaborate disguises, metamorphosing into one cinematic lead after another: ancient crone, sexual gymnast in a motion-capture suit, gangster, sewer-dwelling grotesque, et al. A quicksilver chameleon, Lavant uses up—and is used up by—movie genres like sci-fi, musical, poetic horror, Lynchian surrealism. At working day's end, even Pixar's Cars is playfully referenced: stabled limousines—the holy machines that project M. Oscar and his colleagues—sleepily worry about their futures in a digital age. Carax follows Quentin Tarantino's lead by "sampling" film styles and genres, to conjure metacinematic art that's about nothing but movies. Difference is, Tarantino harvests his reel riches joyously, feeding our appetite for aesthetic and emotional energy. Carax drives us through haunted streets, from energized morning until weary night, one film reality eliding exuberantly into another, until his cinematic imagination—and Holy Motors—runs out of gas. It's as though the very act of making movies, dreaming up and acting out fictions, is an ecstatic process of terrible attrition and entropy, cinema consuming itself through its own forward motion. Dimming into melancholy, Holy Motors pays tribute to a passing art.  –Kat Murphy

(movies.MSN.com No. 9)
In the American South, shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War, an itinerant German dentist (Christoph Walz) who's actually a dauntingly capable bounty killer liberates a slave (Jamie Foxx), makes him his partner, then discovers the younger man—Django by name—is "a natural" with a gun. Their ensuing itinerary, punctuated by the termination of sundry wanted men, eventually focuses on finding and freeing Django's wife (Kerry Richardson) from the crown prince of Mississippi slaveholders (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his Uncle Tom major-domo (Samuel L. Jackson). Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino's full-fledged spaghetti Western, after tapping the eccentric subgenre's style and tropes—and inimitable music scores—to season several previous pictures (notably, Kill Bill). It runs in excess of two-and-a-half hours and falters in assurance and creative élan for maybe two-and-a-half seconds. The QT hallmarks are in play: eruptive violence, dark humor, windily/wittily ruminative monologues, acutely timed lightning shifts of course and tone—and riveting set-pieces, such as a moral-ethical hilltop debate while, in the valley below, a man plows the soil his blood is soon to soak. Tarantino's outrageousness has the audacity of conviction: Django Unchained repatriates the spaghetti Western and imbues it with the crazy integrity of American tall tales. He posits a country in which, one way or another, the watchword is "cash for flesh" and, since just about everybody is traveling under an assumed identity, one must above all stay in character.  –RTJ