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Thompson on Hollywood

Ophuls' 'The Earrings of Madame de...' on Blu-ray from Criterion: Before the New Wave, a New Woman (VIDEO)

More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones, Saint Teresa of Avila reputedly opined, but she never met Louise, Madame de... (Danielle Darrieux). For the vain, tragic heroine of Max Ophuls' "The Earrings of Madame de..." (1953), the price of a direct line to the heavens comes in a foreign currency. (Watch Paul Thomas Anderson's introduction to the Criterion Blu-ray, below.)
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • August 7, 2013 11:33 AM
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DVD Review: Pema Tseden's 'Old Dog,' a Powerful Political Allegory of Modern Tibet (TRAILER)

Forget Uggie. My favorite canine companion in recent cinema is the shaggy, steadfast nomad mastiff of Tibetan writer-director Pema Tseden's contemplative and ultimately wrenching "Old Dog" (2011), available today on DVD from Icarus Films Home Video/dGenerate Films Home Video Collection.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • July 30, 2013 2:40 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Now and Then: Mizoguchi's Bitter Masterpiece 'The Life of Oharu' Now on Criterion

Director Kenji Mizoguchi's "The Life of Oharu" (1952), newly available in a high-def digital restoration from the Criterion Collection, teems with contradictions. It's epic yet delicate, set in feudal Japan but animated by modern anxieties, at once a traditional picaresque and a bold feminist classic.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • July 10, 2013 1:44 PM
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Now and Then: Olivier and the Bard

"I can smile, and murder while I smile," confides that notorious noble, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Laurence Olivier), "and frame my face to all occasions." For Olivier, pronouncing "frame" like "feign," it's an auspicious beginning. In Shakespeare's words, he finds his performer's credo.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • April 26, 2013 3:03 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Now and Then: Cary Grant, The Man from Dream City, Revisited (CLIPS)

My own fever dream of Cary Grant takes place between cities, sitting down for a Gibson with Eva Marie Saint on a moving train somewhere in Middle America. Headed "North by Northwest," he's at his sexiest then, temples just flecked with gray, tanned and almost ageless. He's not just the recipient of her advances: he's asking for it.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • April 10, 2013 2:03 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Now and Then: Quentin Dupieux's 'Wrong' Exposes the Limits of Surrealism

Drafthouse Films, the distributor of Quentin Dupieux's bizarre new film, "Wrong," describes the French director and electronic musician (stage name: Mr. Oizo) as "one of the world’s most fearless cinematic surrealists." The surreal does indeed seem to be Dupieux's preferred register, but this leads me to a trickier question. Should we care?
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • March 26, 2013 3:21 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Weinsteins Pick Awards-Friendly December Date for Kidman-Starrer 'Grace of Monaco,' UPDATED

UPDATE: The Weinstein Company finally confirmed their acquisition of US distribution rights to Olivier Dahan's "Grace of Monaco," starring Nicole Kidman in the title role. The film is set for an Oscar-friendly December 27 release.
  • By Anne Thompson & Sophia Savage
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  • March 25, 2013 11:25 AM
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  • 8 Comments

Now and Then: Hitchcock's Bad-Ass '40s Brunettes Were the Lead-Up to Those '50s Icy Blondes

My favorite words in the movies come from the dusky, sultry opening minutes of "Rear Window" (1954), as Grace Kelly's New York socialite glides through L.B. Jefferies' (James Stewart) dim apartment, switching on the lights. "From top to bottom," she announces herself. "Lisa." Flick. "Carol." Flick. "Fremont." Flick.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • March 19, 2013 2:54 PM
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  • 3 Comments

POWFest Celebrates Sixth Edition with Penelope Spheeris, Spirit Nominee 'Breakfast with Curtis' and More

The Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (a.k.a. POWFest) announces highlights from its upcoming event, running March 7-10. The festival is celebrating its 6th year, and received a record number of submissions from women filmmakers across the world to compile almost 100 films...
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 21, 2013 12:53 PM
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Now and Then: The Dardenne Brothers' Lost Boys

From the first minutes of "The Kid with a Bike," marked by an energetic shot of its young protagonist, Cyril, careening through a field and climbing over a fence, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's latest is an exercise in kinesis. It's not just that Cyril's always running: he's running away.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • February 14, 2013 1:56 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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