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Skyfall: Hey kids, let's put on a show!

"Skyfall" is a theatrical film in the same way that its director, Sam Mendes, is a theatrical filmmaker. That is, its approach to organizing space for an audience (the camera lens) is noticeably stagey. I mean that in a "value-neutral"…

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Robert Zemeckis returns to reality

I packed my bags last night, pre-flight Zero hour, 9 a.m. And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then. -- Elton John & Bernie Taupin, "Rocket Man" (1972) Cinema, for me, has always been something like music composed…

May contain spoilers

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Technical Difficulties

Hi folks: Our software just deleted a handful of recent comments when I approved them. I'm trying to find out if there's a way to retrieve them (they're not in the spam filter), but if you've made a comment in…

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David Lynch: "Sammy. I never talk about themes."

I sure do miss David Lynch movies. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago, when he appeared as Jack Dall, the CBS late-night talk show producer and relative of his FBI man Gordon Cole, on a couple episodes…

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Movie culture: The Dead, the Deader and the Deadest

Oh my. Here we go again with all the deathiness. Movie criticism keeps dying deader and deader. Film itself has keeled over and given up the ghost. Cinema ist kaput, and at the end of last month "movie culture" was…

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Viewer's guide: The keycard to Room 237?!

Is "Room 237" some kind of crazy joke? Rick Ascher's much-discussed "subjective documentary" features five people who present their theories/interpretations of the "hidden meanings" they say they've found in the rooms and corridors of Stanley Kubrick's Overlook Hotel, the setting…

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Argo: A Hollywood ending

The story of Ben Affleck's "Argo" concerns the real-life rescue of six fugitive American embassy employees from Ayatollah "Salman Rushdie Fatwa" Khomeini's Iran in 1980. The Canadian ambassador, Ken Taylor, hid them in his home until they were smuggled out…

May contain spoilers

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Wally Pfister, The Avengers & the ethics of composition

Maybe it's a DC vs. Marvel thing. But it's all over the Internet: Wally Pfister, ASC, BSC, the Oscar-winning cinematographer best-known for his work with director Christopher Nolan (the "Dark Knight" movies, "The Prestige," "Inception") took a swipe at rival…

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"How it feels is how it works."

Everything reminds me of movies. And movies remind me of everything. My life has been divided into roughly three states of consciousness: the time I've spent awake; the time I've spent asleep (and dreaming); the time I've spent in-between, in…

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Crimes of Bush: Bugliosi's case for murder

Everybody knows that murder has no statute of limitations. So although it may seem a little late to bring criminal charges against George W. Bush for his conduct in office, the evidence against him is is overwhelming and undisputed. The…