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SIDEWAYS
August 27, 2014  | By David Bianculli

Sundance, 7:15 p.m. ET

 

Before directing 2013’s Nebraska and 2011’s The Descendants (set, respectively, in a black-and-white heartland and a deceptively sunny Hawaii), Alexander Payne directed and co-wrote this 2004 twisted road tour of the California wine country. Paul Giamatti was in peak form as a depressed man who accompanies a buddy (Thomas Haden Church) about to be married on a last-adventure trip to some local wineries, and Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh are equally credible, touching, and unpredictable as the women they encounter along the way. Sideways feels more like a Seventies movie than a modern one – and I mean that as the highest sort of compliment. 

 
 
 
 
 
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