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Review: Stars in Shorts

By GERALD PEARY  |  September 25, 2012
2.0 2.0 Stars

There are big names galore in this amalgam of short films — Judi Dench, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh, etc. — and the celebs are having a holiday good time, even when the stories aren't particularly distinguished. Branagh is a nefarious cultist after children's souls in an overcooked sci-fi tale, and Dench is a old Brit bird discovering computer dating and a choirmaster: low-level Barbara Pym with social networking. Firth unravels with aplomb as Knightley's batty downstairs neighbor, and Lily Tomlin is genuinely funny as an impatient dowager stuck in a funeral line. The only challenging stuff emanates from the always impolitic Neil Labute. He directs one short about a guy's talky mistress (Julia Stiles) and silent wife meeting for lunch, an overt updating of August Strindberg's The Stronger. Best of show is a three-hander, also from Labute, involving a divorced guy, a female teacher (Sarah Paulson), and a too-precocious boy — it has a wallop of a gross-out ending.

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  Topics: Reviews , Colin Firth, Judi Dench, Short Films,  More more >
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