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Little Caesar (1931) Directed by Mervyn LeRoy Edward G. Robinson’s froglike mouth, perpetual cigar, permanent scowl, and nasal snarl, so susceptible to caricature, can obscure the fact that he was one of the most intense, subtle, and enterprising film actors of his generation. It all began in earnest with Little Caesar, which traces the ruthless rise of Robinson’s Rico Bandello from small-town street hoodlum to big-city crime boss, and his inevitable fall. The film shaped the...
Despite his persona on-screen and even in interviews, it seems unlikely that Woody Allen has been seized by the kind of existential paralysis—one character describes it as “despair” though it seems more clinical—that Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix) is experiencing at the outset of Irrational Man, which opens today. That this is Allen’s 46th film in about five decades is the first clue that he’s never been too despairing to function. Abe works too, as...
One of last summer's nicest surprises was Joe Swanberg's Drinking Buddies, a transportation of his mumblecore skills into the slightly larger arena of less mumbly indie comedy. Swanberg was hardly the first DIY-grade filmmaker to get access to movie stars and a nicer rig, but his loose, improvisational style fit particularly well with stars Jake Johnson, Olivia Wilde, and Anna Kendrick, who created a complex yet low-key portrait of a sorta-love sorta-triangle. For Happy...
May is National Short Story Month, but—oh no! May is almost over, which means you've got very little time to read really, really good short stories. Seriously. It doesn't count unless it's in May. HURRY! We kid, of course. A great short story is timeless and should be read any month of the year, and in particular today, because today is grey and gross and what's the point of doing anything else, really? Here, we've...

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