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Reservoir Dogs (1992) Directed by Quentin Tarantino Tarantino’s revelatory gut-punch of a first feature, now 25 years old, has profoundly influenced crime movies. It established snappy dialogue on life’s banalities, 1970s nostalgia, extreme casual violence, vintage noir tribute, and foul-mouthed jokes as staples of the genre that endure to this day. The tone is set in the legendary pre-credit sequence, with the color-codenamed gang of veteran thieves eating at a diner. Mr. Pink (Buscemi) whiningly questions...
Sudden Fear (1950) Directed by David Miller It's the equally scorned sibling to Michael Curtiz's Mildred Pierce. A star, visual verve, and generic fusion are shared between them, but their approaches differ. Were the winning pair of Miller and writer Lenore J. Coffee—his first noir, her several-dozenth script—a noir couple, we'd be the deceived spouse. That Sudden Fear is linked to noir is the first twist; despite the pulpy title, the film more closely resembles...
Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) Directed by Todd Solondz When it comes to assessing the Solondz oeuvre to date, people seem to either find a tough-minded inner compassion to his misanthropy, or think it merely petty and ugly. His debut offers evidence for both positions. From the classy cursive font of its opening titles to the snarky use of Chopin, Saint-Saëns and Tchaikovsky on the soundtrack, skin-deep irony is everywhere in this poison-pen letter to the...
The Hateful Eight Directed by Quentin Tarantino The Revenant Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu Opening December 25 Even as the return of Star Wars sucks up all available pop-cultural oxygen this month, a mano e mano fight is about to take place, somewhere deep in the snowbound American West. Two of cinema’s showmen, Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Quentin Tarantino, seek to monopolize your mind with their attempts at making cinema a bodily experience: The Revenant, a grueling search picture...

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