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Dolemite Is My Name

Dolemite is My Name is a typical biopic buoyed by its unrelenting hilarity, its affection for its subject and commitment to the time and place…

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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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30 Minutes on "Not Fade Away"

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The first theatrical feature film written and directed by David Chase, the creator of “The Sopranos,” this is an autobiographical tale about the formation of an artistic sensibility. John Magaro plays Doug Damiano, a northern New Jersey teenager whose father Pat (James Gandolfini) is a hot-tempered Archie Bunker-style reactionary who suffers from psoriasis, and whose mother Antoinette (Molly Price) is a depressive who regularly threatens to kill herself. The movie is narrated by Doug’s sister Evelyn, played by Meg Guzulescu, in the manner of a third-person novel, packing a television season’s worth of incident into an hour and 50 minutes yet somehow never feeling rushed. 

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30 Minutes on: "Crawl"

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When I was a college student in Dallas in the 1980s, my favorite theater was the Big Town, which showed second-run movies for a dollar. It was located in a small, run-down mall that probably hadn’t been thriving for 10 years. By the time I started going there, there were potholes and canyon-sized cracks in the parking lot that were never going to be fixed, so you just made a mental note to drive around them. Most of the storefronts were boarded up, and the handful of spaces that were occupied were Mom and Pop businesses. There were people in the parking lot on the way in selling churros and pralines and BBQ they’d cooked in the backs of pickup trucks. One time a chicken got loose and ran through the mall. Kids chased it like it was Rocky Balboa in a training montage.

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