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Looper: Dig that crazy cloud

I think my very favorite thing in Rian Johnson's "Looper" is a squiggly cloud. It hangs there in the sky above a cornfield and you can't help but notice it. Which is good, because this is a time-travel movie and…

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The Master: What does it all mean?

Or: Once is not enough? "They love it, they don't like it, they like it better a second time, they see it a third time and they reverse their opinion." -- Paul Thomas Anderson on "The Master," in a Toronto…

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The Master: Who are you?

I apologize for the lack of postings the last few weeks. A recent flare-up of heart problems left me with little energy to write. But as the emaciated old man in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" says: "I'm feeling…

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Films on fire: Tony Scott and Christopher Nolan

"A man can be an artist ... in anything, food, whatever. It depends on how good he is at it. Creasey's art is death. He's about to paint his masterpiece." -- Rayburn (Christopher Walken), "Man on Fire" (2004) While I've…

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The great movies (almost) nobody voted for

OK, this is where it really gets interesting. Forget the consensus Top 50 Greatest Movies of All Time; let's get personal. Sight & Sound has now published the top 250 titles in its 2012 international critics poll, the full list…

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Verdant Vertigo: Dreaming in Technicolor

This appreciation is a slightly revised-for-2012 version of an article originally published online at Microsoft Cinemania in 1996. It was just one of several pieces in a package celebrating the 70mm restoration release of "Vertigo" that year. Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo"…

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Lust for revenge

Like all of us, I'm living under a death sentence. Not to sound alarmist, but to quote Woody Allen in "Love and Death": "Isn't all mankind ultimately executed for a crime it never committed? The difference is that all men…

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Greatest Films of All Time: Where's the funny?

The big loser in the 2012 Sight & Sound critics poll is... funny. OK, we know there are no losers, only winners! But, still, with the obvious exceptions of "Citizen Kane" and "Rules of the Game," this decade's consensus choices…

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The best greatest movies ever list

UPDATED (08/01/12): Scroll to the bottom of this entry to see my first impressions of the newly announced critics' and directors' poll results. Vittorio De Sica's "Bicycle Thieves" (1948) topped the first Sight & Sound critics' poll in 1952, only…