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Down-Underground: WALKABOUT, or Thirteen Ways of Making a National Epic

Like "Wake in Fright," the only other Australian entry at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival, "Walkabout" was directed by an Englishman, Nicolas Roeg. He tells the story of Australia without sentimentality, without rancor. The landscape is not idealized or demonized; neither are those who dwell in it.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • May 8, 2014 2:03 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Down-Underground: WAKE IN FRIGHT is the Best Movie You've Never Seen

Many people associate Australian films with offbeat comedies like "Muriel's Wedding" or "Priscilla: Queen of the Desert." Excellent as such films are, the history of Aussie film-making is much darker than they suggest. Nowhere is this more evident than in a film that most of us might never have had a chance to see: "Wake in Fright."
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • May 2, 2014 1:59 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Stuck in the Middle: 30 Great Films about Middle Age, PART THREE

And so we arrive at the top ten, at which point I must ask myself: did I become a perpetual adolescent because I make lists, or do I make lists because I’m a perpetual adolescent? While I had intended to exorcise my inner fanboy by accepting my age, I find that I have simply repeated patterns already set...
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • April 24, 2014 3:07 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Stuck in the Middle: 30 Great Films about Middle Age, PART TWO

I must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on: here we are with round two of what I consider to be the best movies about middle age. If you’re still with me, you’ve admitted your age, and acceptance is the first step towards…whatever, here’s the list.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • April 22, 2014 4:37 AM
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  • 0 Comments

“No redneck is this creative”: TRUE DETECTIVE and the Horror of Folk Art

Now and then a television series comes along that seems to define its own, unique genre: think of Twin Peaks, The X Files, The Singing Detective. Now think of "True Detective," which might be described as the first Cult Ritual Serial Killer Southern Gothic Weird Procedural.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • February 24, 2014 3:43 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Electronic Meditation: The Musical Synthesis of Tangerine Dream and Michael Mann

While the sound Tangerine Dream pioneered, combining melodic minimalism and taut synthetic rhythms, would become almost a cliché in films and on dancefloors throughout the 1980s, in Mann’s "Thief" their music serves to create an aural environment that is simultaneously meditative and driving, and is a crucial element of the film’s achievement.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • February 18, 2014 10:44 AM
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  • 1 Comment

The Art of Unease: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Inundated with obnoxious reality television, sensationalistic twenty-four hour news coverage, and a film culture that grows louder and brasher by the day, it is all the more remarkable when an actor is able to unsettle us. Philip Seymour Hoffman had this talent in an abundance that verged on the indecent.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • February 3, 2014 1:28 PM
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  • 0 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: Monsters Are a Child's Best Friend

Most responsible parents will tell you that using the television as a surrogate nanny is bad for kids. My own experience as a child would argue against this. My parents knew that they couldn't raise me alone, and the only reliable guides were creatures of the night.
  • By Jed Mayer and Jeffrey Canino
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  • October 31, 2013 9:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Kubrick in Reverse: The Earthly Pull of GRAVITY

Far from being a mere homage to Kubrick's "2001," Cuarón's "Gravity" offers an ingenious and moving revision and critique of its predecessor, one that begins in the stars but returns us to our own earthly soil.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • October 9, 2013 9:45 AM
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  • 2 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: My Life as a Chick Flick

That’s me up there. See? That nine-year-old boy cheering on Lexie Winston to victory? No, actually I can’t see me up there either. But I was there, along with hundreds of other lucky people who managed to get spots as extras on the set of "Ice Castles."
  • By Jed Mayer and Jeffrey Canino
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  • September 26, 2013 9:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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