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F.x. Feeney 

Film, Dennis Hopper, 1936-2010

Dennis Hopper, 1936-2010

Dennis Hopper and I only briefly shared a table one morning at a film festival four years ago, but we hadn't talked more than five minutes before he alluded to the death of James Dean. Hopper's brief friendship with his co-star and mentor on the sets of Rebel Without a...…
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Arts, Books A Paranoid in Reverse: Revisiting J.D. Salinger

A Paranoid in Reverse: Revisiting J.D. Salinger

If originality is, as Vladimir Nabokov suggests, the true measure of greatness in an artist, then the argument can be made that J.D. Salinger towers over most American writers of the past half-century. Few writers anywhere have ever been more widely or more passionately read. Fewer still have so fiercely...…
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Film,

“Milestones”: In Memoriam

Michelangelo Antonioni once famously remarked that, as a filmmaker, he was completely innocent of theory or preconception. “I never think of how I want to shoot something,” he said. “I simply shoot it. My technique, which differs from film to film, is wholly instinctive and never based on prior considerations.”...…
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Film, The Soul of Generosity

The Soul of Generosity

In 1970, when he called Orson Welles out of the blue and offered his services, Gary Graver was a young cinematographer who’d trained the hard way, filming the war in Vietnam for the U.S. Army. Welles politely brushed him off, at first. Luckily — for Welles and the rest of...…
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Film, Beyond the Imaginary Line

Beyond the Imaginary Line

Death came so quietly for my friend Hubert Cornfield on June 18 that it astonished even the nurse who was bringing him his breakfast. Such a departure was completely in character. If you knew the films he’d directed — including such marvels of film noir as Plunder Road (1957), The...…
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Film, The New New World

The New New World

Speaking as one who feels Terrence Malick’s latest was not just the best film of last year, but one of the greatest I have ever seen, I didn’t want him to cut so much as a frame from the version that opened in limited release over Christmas. Happily — if...…
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Film,

In Glorious Technicolor

Ever since pictures started to move, filmmakers have attempted to realize them in color. “Two strip” Technicolor existed as early as World War I, but it was an uncertain science, yielding lunar-pale skin tones and reds indistinguishable from browns. By 1932, this technique was amplified to include three strips, or...…
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Film,

Million Dollar Boomer

One restless 2 a.m. in November 2001, writer-filmmaker Paul Haggis lay awake, wrestling with whether to get out of bed and write down what, in his half-sleep, looked like a white-hot idea. “I hate waking up with an idea in the middle of the night,” he laughs, “because whenever you...…
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Film,

True Lies

Photo by Kimberly French —What are we doing? —I don’t know. —Should we stop this? —Stop what? Such words have been spoken by a billion adulterers, back to Lilith and Adam, Adam and Eve, Eve and Lucifer. The beauty is that when we speak them (and adult life condemns us...…
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Film,

Last Tango at LACMA

“You are your mother’s masterpiece,” the desperate man (Marlon Brando) tells his dead wife as she lies before him in a coffin. We’re midway through Last Tango in Paris as he tears these words out of his heart. This moment arguably constitutes the moral nucleus not only of Bernardo Bertolucci’s...…
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Film,

Le Temps Retrouvé

Bernardo Bertolucci’s new film, The Dreamers, is a wise, high-energy conjuring of 1968, a year of culture-wide passion and communal daring unforgettable for anyone old enough to have shared those passions. Half a lifetime ago, Bertolucci anticipated its looming fires in Before the Revolution (1964), in which a dreamy young...…
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Film,

Filmo Sapiens

Sometime in the early 1960s, between the death of the poet Boris Pasternak and the start of his own career as a poet in the medium of film, young Andrei Tarkovsky attended a séance, at which he playfully attempted to contact Pasternak’s ghost. What transpired marked Tarkovsky so deeply that...…
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Film,

Beatrice and Hubert

Film director Hubert Cornfield, who became famous in his 20s for making first-rate pictures in 16 days or less — Plunder Road (1957), The Third Voice (1959) and Pressure Point (1962), to name a few — remains, to this day, allergic to idle daydreaming. When he gets an idea, he...…
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Film,

Night Vision

The scene being enacted is a key one from the 1955 classic The Night of the Hunter, one of the most poetic and disturbing movies ever made about the terrors of childhood -- but the players in this instance are not, strictly speaking, children. Instead, we have Shelley Winters as...…
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News, Features

The Three Faces of Ivan

Photos by Michael Powers THE SILENCE WAS PROFOUND AS THE LIGHTS WENT UP. THEN came the applause. The new movie ivans xtc. -- the one that, just prior to its release, has Hollywood talent agents in a dither about how they are being represented onscreen -- had just crescendoed to...…
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News, Features

Crossover

Ever since his debut feature, Cronos, won the critics’ prize at the 1992 Cannes Festival, and despite the fact it‘s been nearly 10 years since he has directed a story set in Mexico, for many moviegoers Guillermo del Toro has represented contemporary Mexican filmmaking -- even as he’s defied its...…
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Film,

Memories, Dreams, Reflections

We’re looking at a gilded picture frame in rapid, brushing close-ups. Images flutter as if our eyes were somehow being blinked for us. It would appear we‘re exploring a well-known masterpiece by Francisco de Goya, The Clothed Maja -- only we find in the next elliptical glimpse that we’re also...…
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Arts, Books

Poww!

The great pleasure of Tynan’s diaries derives from the very powers that made him great as a critic: his delightful ability to bring the most fleeting scenes to life; his fierce, good-humored and unrelenting moral sense; his insatiable curiosity and juicy commitment to sexual candor. Photo by Mary Evans/Roger Maine...…
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Film,

The Tycoon of Toon

In the afterlife afforded by American commerce, Walt Disney towers over other film pioneers. Chaplin was revered at his peak as a god, Griffith as a genius — but these men, having only their own talents to sustain them, endured the ups and downs of mortal life and now live...…
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Film,

Redford ex Machina

There’s an uninflected moment early in The Last Castle that crystallizes everything that is best about it. Robert Redford, playing a three-star general stripped of rank and jailed on a 10-year sentence, stands to one side of the military-prison yard, calmly watching a brawl with his hands folded behind his...…
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