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The Essentials

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    The Essentials: Lauren Bacall's 6 Best Performances

    With the passing of Lauren Bacall at age 89 yesterday, the “they don’t make stars like that anymore”-style tributes came flooding in. But with all due respect to those sentiments, they didn't ever make stars like Bacall. Anomalous even in her starlet days, Bacall’s appeal was based on an allure that...

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    Philip Seymour Hoffman's 12 Best Performances

    This Friday should have been a cause for celebration: the release of "A Most Wanted Man," an adaptation of John Le Carre's novel by one of our favorite working filmmakers, Anton Corbijn ("Control," "The American"), and starring one of our finest working actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Instead, it's ...

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    The Essentials: 8 Walter Hill Films You Should Know

    No one would love to believe more than film critics that criticism is the repository of the immutable, monolithic truth about a movie's quality. But as much as we may enjoy the dream of our grades and rankings and pithy pullquotes being Carved In Stone, experience has taught us otherwise, and nowher...

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    The Essentials: Angelina Jolie's 5 Best Performances

    The big release this week is "Maleficent," Disney's latest attempt to reboot one of its classic family properties in as ugly a manner as humanly possible, following the enormous success of "Alice In Wonderland," and the less-enormous-but-still-substantial success of "Oz The Great And Powerful." Taki...

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    Essential: The 6 Best Performances In The Films Of Wes Anderson

    “Max Fischer’s not fighting change, he’s determinedly fighting against being pigeonholed. He’s fighting for the renaissance view of the world, and for a sense of himself as an adult. I think that he and Steve Zissou and Gustave are all, in some way, at war with the philistines. They are all kind of ...

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    The Essentials: 5 Alain Resnais Films You Should Know

    Alain Resnais passed away this weekend at the age of 91. This pillar of “art films” worked continuously since the late 1940s, delighting cineastes, baffling the squares and continually pushing himself with different genres. He made musicals, he made documentaries, he made science-fiction. Indeed, hi...

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    The Essentials: Francois Truffaut

    This week sees Francois Truffaut's seminal love-triangle "Jules Et Jim," one of the French filmmaker's best-loved and most seminal works, get an upgrade to Blu-Ray on the The Criterion Collection. And with New York City's Film Forum staging a significant retrospective of his work beginning in March,...

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    R.I.P. - The Essentials: 5 Of Peter O'Toole's Best Performances

    We have a story about Peter O'Toole. We can't remember where we first heard it, and like many such stories, it could well be apocryphal. Supposedly, O'Toole, at the height of his 1970s drinking, met a few friends for lunch at a restaurant in London's Soho. As was his custom, a bottle of wine was ord...

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    The Films Of The Coen Brothers: A Retrospective

    Are Joel & Ethan Coen the best American filmmakers of their generation? It's probably a silly question to pose, but we'll be damned if we can think of better candidates. Since their startling neo-noir debut "Blood Simple" (which turns three decades old next year), they've been behind a brace of firm...

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    Remembering Paul Walker: 5 Of His Best Performances

    Over the weekend actor Paul Walker, best known for his role in Universal's ongoing "Fast and Furious" franchise, died tragically in a car accident in California. The actor was in the midst of filming the seventh film in the series, with every intention of continuing. As Bilge Ebiri pointed out over ...

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