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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" doesn't have the electricity of the original, mainly because we've already seen it. Nothing more is really revealed…

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To Be Takei

“To Be Takei” is a conventional documentary that has a surprising emotional heft. A fun, informative exploration of the life of actor, activist and Trekkie…

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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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Cast and Crew

* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.

How many "The Ends" is too many?

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Q. Regarding your review of "The Girlfriend Experience": Prostitutes in movies are never used for what they provide in real life, which is sex. In movies, prostitutes are paid for anything and everything but the thing they actually provide. See: "Pretty Woman," "The Girlfriend Experience" and countless others. Eliot Spitzer or any other man never paid large amounts of money to talk to a woman.

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The effect of effects

I've just been watching "The Thief of Bagdad" (1940), which has probably the most influential special effects of all pre-CGI films. It's going into the Great Movies Collection, not for the effects, of course, but because it is a sublime entertainment on a level with "The Wizard of Oz" or the first "Star Wars." But there are few effects in "Star Wars" (1977) that were not invented for, experimented with, or perfected in "The Thief of Bagdad." And some of them had their genesis in Raoul Walsh's magnificent 1924 silent film of the same name starring Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.

Left: Rex Ingram, as the genie, towers over Sabu, as the thief, in "The Thief of Bagdad." The shot was made by combining real footage of Ingram, close to the camera, and Sabu, several hundred feet away.

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Steven Spielberg's legacy

Steven Spielberg celebrates his 50th birthday today. If he never directed another film, his place in movie history would be secure. It is likely that when all of the movies of the 20th century are seen at a great distance in the future - as if through the wrong end of a telescope - his best will be in the handful that endure and are remembered.

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