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Now and Then

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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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    Now and Then: What's the Matter with Film Critics?

    The only genuine surprise of Sunday night's Oscar telecast — varying levels of predictability, misogyny, and self-congratulations being par for the course these days — came during the "In Memoriam" montage, which by definition should be the least surprising moment of all.

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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: '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."

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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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    Now and Then: A 'Zero Dark Thirty' Piece That's (Mostly) Not About Torture

    We are Maya. That's the first thought that comes to mind about Jessica Chastain's tireless, obsessed CIA analyst in "Zero Dark Thirty," a "motherfucker" who's been chasing Osama bin Laden for twelve years — nearly the same length of time as this country's impossible war.

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    Now and Then: In Must-See 'Detropia,' the Many Lives of an American City

    It is a story we think we know already. Unions weaken. Corporations outsource. Politicians waver. The economy collapses. Public resources shrivel. A city dies. But that's only the bird's-eye view: in Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's powerful document of an age of grief, "Detropia" is the way we live n...

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    Now and Then: 'Enlightened,' HBO's Masterpiece of Heartbreak

    "Enlightened" opens with Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern) gag-sobbing in a bathroom stall, mascara streaking down her cheeks in mournful black rivulets. Like the rest of Season 1 of HBO's masterpiece, which returns for Season 2 on Sunday at 9:30, it isn't all that funny. But to call "Enlightened" simply a ...

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    Now and Then: 'Justified' and the Anti-Antihero

    Tony Soprano. Dexter Morgan. Walter White. Television's latest "Golden Age," on cable and in the ancillary afterlife, is full of men who break bad. Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), the U.S. Marshall at the heart of "Justified," may not be squeaky clean, but he's a saint by comparison — and the key ...

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