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The Essentials

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    5 Of Dustin Hoffman's Most Underrated Performances

    There’s a certain generation of male stars who emerged in the 1960s and 1970s who signify that golden age of American cinema, starring in some of the most acclaimed films of that era while also maintaining long careers as box office draws that continue to this day. Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Robert ...

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    The Essentials: The 5 Best William Friedkin Films

    The decent opening weekend for the NC-17 "Killer Joe" should be celebrated for a number of reasons, but perhaps most notably, it marks something of a comeback for director William Friedkin. The helmer was, for a brief period in the 1970s, the most powerful filmmaker in Hollywood, but a series of cri...

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    The Essentials: 5 John Schlesinger Films You Can't Miss

    He’s not a name that many young filmmakers reference these days, but British director John Schlesinger quietly managed a career spanning five decades, with a small fistful of classics to his name. A former actor, Schlesinger moved into documentaries in the late 1950s, graduating to features soon aft...

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    The Films Of Christopher Nolan: A Retrospective

    We can all agree at this point that a certain sub-set of Christopher Nolan's fans are out of hand, what with the death threats to critics and all. But even if we were one of those who didn't like "The Dark Knight Rises," or indeed the rest of Nolan's output, we suspect that we'd still be glad he exi...

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    The Films Of Jim Jarmusch: A Retrospective

    There's no one in independent film quite like Jim Jarmusch, one of American cinema's most idiosyncratic filmmakers. Born to Episcopalian parents in Ohio in 1953, the director fell in love with B-movie double bills his mother left him in as a child, and fell into counter-culture arthouse movies in hi...

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    The Films Of Cameron Crowe: A Retrospective

    It may be hard to believe, but Cameron Crowe is 55 today. The eternally boyish journalist turned writer-director feels, perhaps because of his alter-ego in "Almost Famous," as though he'll always be seventeen. But for a certain generation, he's been a figurehead for his journalism (at Rolling Stone ...

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    The Essentials: The 5 Best John Frankenheimer Films

    Few filmmakers these days name John Frankenheimer as an influence. He was never particularly trendy, never embraced by the auteurists or overtly paid homage by those who came after. In part, it's because of some of his later projects; the commercial failure of thriller "Black Sunday" in 1977 drove h...

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    The Essentials: The Films Of Rob Reiner (Before He Forgot How To Direct Movies)

    Maybe it's just a particular hang-up of this writer, but we find one of cinema's greatest mysteries to be the question of what happened to Rob Reiner. The sitcom star, and son of the great Carl Reiner ("Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," "The Jerk"), became a film director in the early 1980s, and had an ex...

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    The Films Of Oliver Stone: A Retrospective

    Oliver Stone loves his country, but he is also its loudest critic. Whether tackling history head-on in films like "Platoon" or "Born On The Fourth Of July," or profiling presidents in "JFK," "W." and "Nixon," and even in seemingly genre-centered material like "Natural Born Killers" or "Any Given Sun...

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    The Essentials: The 5 Best Tom Cruise Performances

    Tom Cruise turns 50 today, and he's probably had better birthdays. His latest film, "Rock Of Ages," was a box office disappointment, and on Friday, it emerged that Katie Holmes, his third wife, and mother of his daughter Suri, was filing for divorce. Just as things were seemingly starting to get bac...

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