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Drama

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    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 classi...

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    Now and Then: Hollywood's Civil War Obsession

    Director Ron Maxwell's "Copperhead," on VOD and in select theaters Friday, is the sixth Civil War-era film to debut in the past 12 months, the most earnest and straightforward in a burgeoning subgenre. Nearly 150 years after the Battle of Gettysburg, The War Between the States remains Hollywood's fa...

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    Now and Then: Obituary for 'The Big C,' Starring Luminous Laura Linney

    Cathy Jamison was a brave bitch. Through four seasons of Showtime's "The Big C," which ended its run Monday, she suffered the indignities of metastatic melanoma, chemotherapy, brain tumors, hospice, and bad insurance, yet remained steadfast in her belief that "surviving" and "living" do not necessar...

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    Now and Then: In Two 'Steel Magnolias,' the Times Are Not A-Changin'

    The first thing one notices about "Steel Magnolias" (Herbert Ross, 1989) is the hair. Truvy's Beauty Shop overflows with tight-rolled pastel curlers and foot-high teases, held in place by enough hairspray to commit arson -- a style so far out of fashion it seems historical, as rococo as Marie Antoin...

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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.

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    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. ...

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    Trailer Watch: Phillip Noyce's Malaria Drama 'Mary and Martha,' Starring Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn UPDATE

    UPDATE: A new teaser trailer has landed for Australian director Phillip Noyce's "Mary and Martha," starring Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn as mothers who form a bond over the loss of their sons to malaria. Watch below.

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    Now and Then: In 'For Ellen,' the Many Faces of Paul Dano

    Put a quarter in the jukebox and the rocker Joby Taylor (Paul Dano) transforms. His loping gait diffuses into trance, a manic, writhing riff on his stage persona. It's a conversion experience of sorts, fittingly enough: "For Ellen" is a tale of many metamorphoses.

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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.

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    Now and Then: The Soul of Netflix's New Series? The BBC's 'House of Cards'

    "Lilyhammer," Netflix's first foray into original programming, failed to generate sustained attention when it premiered last year. One suspects this won't be true of its star-studded second attempt, "House of Cards," debuting Friday. Except Netflix's latest isn't so novel after all: its animating fo...

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