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Small Things Writ Large: On OMAR

"Omar" draws its greatest strength from its smallest touches: the way someone smiles, the way a love letter is folded, the small habits and quirks an otherwise frightening person might possess.
  • By Max Winter
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  • February 22, 2014 9:37 PM
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  • 1 Comment

John Cusack in ADULT WORLD: No More Mr. Nice Guy

Several times during his turn as Rat Billings, the grizzled poet at the heart of "Adult World," I wanted to punch John Cusack in the face. It’s a brilliant performance.
  • By Max Winter
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  • February 17, 2014 4:24 AM
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  • 0 Comments

On THE BLACKLIST: Why James Spader Is the Perfect Star for the Increasingly Unreal Medium of Television

The television medium, and the act of watching television, have always been remarkably surreal, and they only grow more so by the day. It stands to reason that James Spader, a shocking presence on "The Practice" and "Boston Legal" in the past, and a rousing presence in NBC's "The Blacklist," would be its ideal actor.
  • By Max Winter
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  • February 12, 2014 3:51 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Choose Your Own Adventure: The Allens, the Farrows, and You

What if the story here is entirely different from a tale of abuse of power, or a fable about the importance of speaking up about abuse? What if the story unfolding now points backwards, to the reasons we enter relationships, and how we need to think those reasons over carefully?
  • By Max Winter
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  • February 8, 2014 9:32 PM
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  • 5 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: Women in the Works of Martin Scorsese

The first time I saw "After Hours" (the first of 9 or 10), I was 15, and I had no idea who Martin Scorsese was, or even that he had directed the movie. I was surprised to discover a man had directed it, after the fact; I had assumed it was directed by a woman. Why? Because women ruled the show.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Max Winter
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  • February 7, 2014 12:56 PM
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  • 7 Comments

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman, 1967–2014

When great actors die as Hoffman did, revealing staggering addictions, or psyches run ragged because some unspecified demon is chasing them, the question always becomes: did the role become the person, or did the person become the role, or both?
  • By Max Winter
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  • February 2, 2014 10:01 PM
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  • 4 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: The Coen Canon

Fear is at the root of much of what we consider humorous in films. The fear that something, whether it’s a job, a relationship, or some larger dramatic situation, might go wrong is always present in cinematic humor. This connection between fear and comedy gives the Coen brothers' films their power.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Max Winter
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  • December 27, 2013 4:48 AM
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  • 1 Comment

How WHITE REINDEER Defies Cliches of Grief

"White Reindeer" is all about a woman’s grieving process—is steeped in it, in fact—and its great strength lies in its determination to work against filmic clichés of that process. Its outstanding set of actors, fantastically chosen soundtrack, and moving, sensitive cinematography make this film so genuine you can almost taste it.
  • By Max Winter
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  • December 6, 2013 2:04 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Some Things Are Best Done the Old-Fashioned Way, Pixar Studios: The Beauty of IS THE MAN WHO IS TALL HAPPY?

Gondry tells two stories at once with "Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?": one is a plain-spoken, relaxedly paced conversation with Noam Chomsky about his life and thought; the other is the story of a filmmaker's attempt to understand Chomsky's words, expressed through highly personalized and gloriously imperfect drawings.
  • By Max Winter
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  • December 3, 2013 4:33 PM
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  • 0 Comments

In the Future We Will Have Less of Everything: On HOW I LIVE NOW and Its Predecessors

Has there ever been a film about the future that advocated in favor of progress, rather than against it? "How I Live Now," in its own quiet way, works beautifully and admirably against this trend, pervasive as its gloom might be, in suggesting that the sanctity of human relationships can create a barrier between the self and the crumbling world.
  • By Max Winter
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  • November 20, 2013 7:35 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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