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A Walk Among the Tombstones

Fans of the hardboiled detective, rejoice. Screenwriter-director Scott Frank and actor Liam Neeson, adapting the splendid work of crime novelist Lawrence Block, have brought a…

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The Zero Theorem

Terry Gilliam's first science fiction film since "12 Monkeys" is an inventively designed but oddly inert satire on technology, God and the future of humankind.

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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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Should I change trajectory and go into film?

From Corbin:

I am writing you for advice. At 21, I have reached the point where society demands that I perpetuate the status quo and decide what to do with myself. I’m not asking you to evaluate particular aspects of my “life plan”, help me advance my career, or anything of that nature. I was hoping you would be able to provide some perspective. As someone who has far more life experience and whose opinion I respect, you were the obvious choice for the outlet of my existential crisis (not to mention, your affinity for Thoreau). In respect of your time, I will be very brief.

Throughout college I have been markedly pre-professional in my studies. As I prepare to graduate in a year, I am admittedly surprised to find myself dissatisfied with the outlook of my post-collegiate trajectory. I believe I can certainly continue down the professional assembly line and lead a valuable and contributory life. However, at every stage I continue to question my decisions and quietly aspire for a more artistic lifestyle (i.e. film production). Of course, this pursuit is impractical, risky, uncertain, and requires a certain amount of self-assuredness and, well, guts. This is all very cliché, and I know it. Additionally, my “dilemma” is largely due to an incredibly privileged situation (college educated, socioeconomic stability, etc.) and a rather narcissistic point of view. Nonetheless, I can’t seem to calm my anxieties about how I will assign value to my life in the future, ideally in a life that I enjoy. Even this email has been an exercise in examining my personal values and priorities. Do you have any thoughts or insights to offer? I hope you are having a nice weekend. Thank you for your time.

Ebert: You seem to have a firm grasp of the realities. A conventional career will give you stable employment (in theory). A career in film offers poverty for sure, followed by the possibility of great personal and career satisfaction and of course financial success. A conventional career can offer the same. It all depends on what you bring to it.

Most people who choose to make films have a hell of a hard time of it. However, in this digital age the price of admission is lower. Look at a film named "Tiny Furniture." Never mind what you think of it; it cost less than $20,000. The key is: Do you have the ideas and abilities?

I can't say what you should do. But I must observe that your message reads as if you've already made up your mind.

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