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Now and Then

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    1995 Coming-of-Age Movie 'Now and Then' Possibly Becoming a TV Series

    Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter, the nostalgia-heavy 1995 basic cable standard "Now and Then" was memorable for the way it suggested its prime crop of the era's teen actresses -- Christina Ricci, Thora Birch, Gaby Hoffmann and Ashleigh Aston Moore -- matched up with Rosie O'Donnell...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Now and Then: The Long, Slow Death of the Movie Musical

    It's been 60 years since the musical's prime — when Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, those sorcerers of sound, joined forces on "Singin' in the Rain" — so you'll forgive me if this week's theatrical screenings in honor of the anniversary feel less like a celebration than an obituary. The musical is dea...

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    Now and Then: '360,' Another of Fernando Meirelles' Beautiful Disappointments

    Of all the sloppy descriptions in film criticism, "visceral" may be the most misleading. It's a frequent synonym for "loud," not to mention "flashy," "punishing," or "gory." What it almost never means is instinctive, earthy, and intestinal, so forthright it grabs you. Except, that is, when we're tal...

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    Now and Then: Hitchcock's First Classic, and an Underrated Modern Descendant

    Alfred Hitchcock had been working as a director for more than a decade when he made "The 39 Steps" (1935), a film that's half trench coats, street lamps, and foreign agents. The other half is English wit, a marriage plot, and a MacGuffin: the first proof, long before his later masterworks, that he w...

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    Now and Then: 'Girls' Was the Season's Best New Series. When Did That Happen?

    The pilot of "Girls" was an ugly, awkward little thing, delivering its one-liners with a nervous titter. Despite its refreshingly frank appraisal of modern sexual mores, its quartet of young women came off largely as archetypes, not characters. But I stuck with the series, and it paid off.

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    Now and Then: Do Silent Movies Still Matter?

    In some quarters I'll be considered a heretic for even asking the question. But think about how many people you know — discounting film school types and critics, people pretty much required to do so — who have ever seen a silent, let alone watch them regularly. I'll bet the number is small. Should w...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Now and Then: Wes Anderson and Ridley Scott, Two Master Stylists Whose Best Work Is Past

    Let me begin by clarifying my headline. I am not saying that Wes Anderson and Ridley Scott, two master stylists with new movies in theaters, will not someday surpass their best films; that kind of prediction is impossible and counterproductive. But it must be admitted that they set the bar high, and...

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    Now and Then: Tilda Swinton's Big Crack-Up

    Tilda Swinton is a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She's been sent reeling by the loneliness of a Russian winter, the carnal passions of an Italian chef, a kidnapping conspiracy, two murderous sons, and a class-action lawsuit. In fact, it's her affinity for such crack-ups that have made h...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Now and Then: The False Promise of Kiarostami's 'Certified Copy'

    Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's 2010 Cannes entry "Certified Copy," which won Juliette Binoche the festival's Best Actress prize, is out today on Blu-ray and DVD from the Criterion Collection. Given that he debuted his latest effort on the Croisette this week, the timing is felicitous. I wish I ...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Now and Then: The Top Ten Films of All Time

    Every ten years, "Sight and Sound" magazine conducts a poll asking critics and directors to rank the best films of all time. It's more Rorschach test than lab experiment, an impossible task that invariably goads people into calling you an idiot. But I'm a glutton for punishment, so in honor of this ...

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