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The Maze Runner

What’s intriguing about “The Maze Runner”–for a long time, at least–is the way it tells us a story we think we’ve heard countless times before…

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20,000 Days on Earth

In his music, he routinely celebrates/deconstructs his public persona: brutalizer, coward, agnostic, and wannabe deity. "20,000 Days on Earth" is accordingly not a biography, but…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Cannes Flashback: The Festival Comes Into Focus

Selections from Roger Ebert's Cannes coverage…

Flashback #5: The Festival Comes Into Focus

It was halfway into the second week of Roger's fifth year at Cannes that the critic felt he had finally got "the festival into focus." This magnificent essay written at the 1980 festival details how "unreality is the only reality" on the Riviera, epitomized by the phony press credentials issued out by Roger's beloved friend, Billy "Silver Dollar" Baxter. "Baxter’s credentials have become widely respected and observed at Cannes simply because they look good: They have no official validity at all but you wear them around your neck on a chain and you look important at a festival where appearances are everything. Baxter has figured out the rules of festival gamesmanship and has simply bypassed them. It is a stroke of simple genius."



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