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The Essentials

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    The Essentials: The Films Of Don Siegel

    In the credits to his masterpiece "Unforgiven," Clint Eastwood included a dedication: "for Don Siegel and Sergio Leone." Leone was a no-brainer, one of the great filmmakers, but Siegel was less beloved of cinephiles: a cosmopolitan Chicago native who studied at Jesus College, Cambridge, he started d...

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    The Essentials: The Films Of John Milius

    All those who complain about the liberal domination of Hollywood have never come across John Milius. A film school pal of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, Milius had tried to join the Marine Corp, but was turned away due to his asthma. Instead, he channeled his frustrations into both a life-long o...

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    The Essentials: 5 Of Michael Curtiz's Greatest Films

    The coming of the auteur theory has meant that filmmakers like Michael Curtiz no longer get much sway among current generations of directors. Curtiz (born Kertész Kaminer Manó in Hungary in 1886), was a workman, a man who flourished in the studio system after being picked out by Jack Warner for his ...

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    The Films Of Whit Stillman: A Retrospective

    Famously dubbed the “the WASP Woody Allen” and the “Dickens of people with too much inner life” by reviewers and critics when his comedy-of-manners indie pictures arrived in the early 1990s, Whit Stillman’s ironic, clever and urbane examinations of upward and downward social mobility and the shallow...

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    The Essentials: 6 Great Warren Oates Films

    Tuesday marked thirty years since the untimely passing of Warren Oates. The great, grizzled actor's work has fallen somewhat out of fashion these days -- few, bar perhaps Quentin Tarantino, name Sam Peckinpah or Monte Hellman, Oates' closest and most frequent collaborators, as influences. If you're ...

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    King Of The World: The Films Of James Cameron

    James Cameron is, in case it has escaped your attention, the most successful filmmaker in history. The Canadian director hadn't exactly been starved for box-office smashes early in his career, but his last two films, "Titanic" and "Avatar," have taken nearly five billion dollars between them, the nu...

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    The Films Of Billy Wilder: A Retrospective

    "I want to thank three persons,” said Michel Hazanavicius, accepting the 2012 Best Picture Oscar for “The Artist.” “I want to thank Billy Wilder, I want to thank Billy Wilder and I want to thank Billy Wilder.” He wasn’t the first director to namecheck Wilder in an acceptance speech. A few years prio...

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    5 Great Eddie Murphy Performances

    You might not have noticed, but Eddie Murphy has a new movie in theaters today. That's a slightly loaded sentence: "A Thousand Words" was shot four years ago, has been barely screened for critics (those who have seen it have been vicious), and is being put into a mere 1900 theaters, nearly half as m...

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    The Films Of Hal Hartley: A Retrospective

    Imagine if Woody Allen, Whit Stillman, Kevin Smith and the Sundance Institute had a love child. This ungainly creature, speaking in witty, heightened, unnaturalistic sentences, and ambling, sometimes shambling between comedy, tragedy and pretension, might very well go on to make films that greatly r...

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    The Essentials: The 5 Best Denzel Washington Performances

    Sometimes, winning an Oscar seems to change things for an actor. Look at Al Pacino, who's barely taken anything worth his time since he won for "Scent of a Woman" in 1992, or Kevin Spacey, who starred in a string of dull would-be-heartwarmers after picking up his gold for "American Beauty." And you ...

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