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Thompson on Hollywood

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: 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

Now and Then: 'Side by Side,' I'll Still Take Film Over Digital

Smart, wide-ranging, and informative, "Side by Side" may be a postcard from the future of movies, but it's still intoxicated by the past. Its dreamiest moment comes at the outset, a montage of clips from the first century of cinema: Eadweard Muybridge's horses to "Do the Right Thing."
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • February 5, 2013 1:29 PM
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  • 0 Comments

DVD Review: 'The Words' Has A Serious Case of Writer's Block

It would be easy to come away from "The Words" with the impression that writing is a stiff, musty line of work — all grand ballrooms, solemn readings, and blue-blooded accents, a veritable Titanic of pretensions. This would be a mistake. The only sinking ship here is the film itself.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 26, 2012 6:11 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Blu-ray Review: Smoldering Dietrich is Von Sternberg's 'Blue Angel' in Kino Restoration

“The Blue Angel,” a crowning achievement of Weimar cinema and the most famous of the seven collaborations between director Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich, is newly on Blu-ray from Kino. The finely restored transfer, with sharp picture quality and crisp sound highlighting Von Sternberg’s early-talkie innovations, is the original German-language version. (Two versions were shot simultaneously in 1930 -- the lesser known English-language version was long considered a lost film until its discovery in the early 2000s.)
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • December 19, 2012 2:38 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Now and Then: 'Brazil,' Terry Gilliam's Dystopia — And Ours, Too

To my discredit, I had never seen "Brazil." It sat atop my pile of screeners for a few weeks, its length and reputation forbidding. Like all dystopian fictions, Terry Gilliam's 1985 epic is a prophecy of sorts, guesswork for a grim future. And it turned out he was right.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 18, 2012 4:20 PM
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  • 0 Comments

DVD Review: 'Dark Crimes' from Chandler, Hammett & Woolrich in Tantalizing TCM Noir Box Set

On December 3, the TCM Vault Collection released a tantalizing box set of three film noirs, “The Glass Key,” “Phantom Lady” and “The Blue Dahlia,” all previously unavailable on Region 1 DVD. The connecting thread is crime fiction -- the first two films are based on novels by Dashiell Hammett and Cornell Woolrich, respectively, and the third is from an original screenplay by Raymond Chandler.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • December 4, 2012 12:04 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Rating 'Psycho,' Behind-the-Scenes 'Hitchcock' and the Universal Hitchcock Fifteen

I got over the awful HBO "The Girl," starring Toby Jones as Alfred Hitchcock and Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren, by watching the entire Dick Cavett Hitchcock interview. I had more fun with Thursday night's AFI FEST world premiere of Sacha Gervasi's light-hearted "Hitchcock," starring a superb ensemble led by Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren as the master auteur and his collaborator and wife Alma Reville, who the director thanked when he won his AFI Achievement Award, but I confess that I'd rather stick with the real thing.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 2, 2012 2:23 PM
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  • 6 Comments

Trailers from Hell: 'The Prize' with Paul Newman

Joe Dante leads us through Cold War melodrama "The Prize" (1963), starring Paul Newman, Edward G. Robinson and Elke Sommer. Adapted by Ernest Lehman from the Irving Wallace potboiler set during the Nobel Prize ceremonies in Stockholm, Lehman borrows liberally from his own Hitchcock classic "North by Northwest," which also stars Leo G. Carroll.
  • By Trailers From Hell
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  • October 17, 2012 7:19 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Kino's 'Slapstick Encyclopedia' Now Cheap Enough for a Tramp

Silent cinema diehards, take note: Kino's DVD box set "The Slapstick Encyclopedia Videobook" was made available September 25 on Amazon for the frankly unbelievable price of $11.68. Any buyers of the company's previous VHS and DVD iterations of the high-quality, impressively-programmed collection know this is jaw-dropping.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • October 5, 2012 1:42 PM
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  • 1 Comment
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