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Longtime Star Tribune movie critic resigns following plagiarism allegations

MINNEAPOLIS - Veteran Star Tribune movie critic Colin Covert resigned Monday, Dec. 10, after editors at the Minneapolis newspaper discovered Covert had plagiarized “unique language” used by other critics in at least nine reviews over the past decade.

Covert lifted lines, without attribution, from reviews published by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter and the late New Yorker writer Pauline Kael, one of the most famous film critics of the past century.

A recent email from a reader alerted editors to the situation, according to a Star Tribune story credited to editor Rene Sanchez and managing editor Suki Dardarian. The reader said Covert used the phrase “self-glorifying masochistic mush” in a 2009 review of the film “Nine.” Editors confirmed that Kael wrote those same words in a 1974 review.

After further research, editors found Covert used several other passages from Kael’s writing in his “Nine” review, including “archaic big-musical circus,” “comic-strip craziness” and “stardust is slightly irritating.” The Star Tribune cited eight other Covert reviews that editors discovered contained “unique phrases used previously by (other) writers.”

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