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The Sea of Trees

The Sea of Trees uses depression, cancer and suicide as manipulative devices to tug at heartstrings instead of offering even the slightest insight into the…

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Don't Breathe

Don’t Breathe gets a little less interesting as it proceeds to its inevitable conclusion, but it works so well up to that point that your…

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The Decalogue

On Kieslowski's "The Decalogue," now being released theatrically in restored form and soon on Criterion Blu-ray.

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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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In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood

In the years since Truman Capote published In Cold Blood in 1966, the true crime genre has expanded to fill whole sections of the book stores. Factual accounts of crime were common enough before, but Capote combined in-depth reporting with…

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Annie Hall

Annie Hall

"Annie Hall" contains more intellectual wit and cultural references than any other movie ever to win the Oscar for best picture, and in winning the award in 1977 it edged out "Star Wars," an outcome unthinkable today. The victory marked…

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JFK

JFK

I don't have the slightest idea whether Oliver Stone knows who killed President John F. Kennedy. I have no opinion on the factual accuracy of his 1991 film “JFK.” I don't think that's the point. This is not a film…

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Amadeus

Amadeus

Happy people are pleased by the happiness of others. The miserable are poisoned by envy. They vote with Gore Vidal and David Merrick, both credited with saying, "It is not enough that I succeed. Others must fail." Milos Forman's "Amadeus"…

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The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff

Two men haunt Philip Kaufman's "The Right Stuff" (1983), the story of America's first steps into space. One speaks little, the other hardly at all. The laconic one is Chuck Yeager, generally acknowledged as the best test pilot of all…

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Say Anything

Say Anything

Then first time Lloyd Dobler calls Diane Court to ask her out on a date, he dials all but one digit of her phone number, then looks in the mirror and brushes his hair with his hand before dialing the…

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Laura

Laura

I've seen Otto Preminger's “Laura” three or four times, but the

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My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro

Here is a children's film made for the world we should live in, rather than the one we occupy. A film with no villains. No fight scenes. No evil adults. No fighting between the two kids. No scary monsters. No…

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A Tale of Winter

A Tale of Winter

Eric Rohmer is the romantic philosopher of the French New Wave, the director whose characters make love with words as well as flesh. They are open to sudden flashes of passion, they become infatuated at first sight, but then they…

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Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

I think I can feel Sam Peckinpah's heart beating and head pounding in every frame in ''Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia'' (1974), a film he made during a period of alcoholic fear and trembling. I believe its hero,…

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