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Starring: Michele Caucheteux, Jean-Claude Donda, Mari-Lou Gauthier, Michel Robin

The Triplets of Belleville

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In Brief: The specters of Max Fleischer, Tex Avery, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Jacques Tati hang heavily over Triplets (there’s even a poster for Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday on the wall of an apartment); it’s the mixing of these elements that’s unique, and clearly Chomet’s vision. The director doesn’t merely copy his inspirations; he creates his own takes…
Good Night And Good Luck 2
Starring: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Jeff Daniels, Frank Langella, Robert Downey Jr.

Good Night, and Good Luck

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In Brief: Good Night, and Good Luck marked George Clooney's second time as a director — and taken in connection with his first film, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) — it seemed to firmly establish Clooney as a major filmmaker. Then came Leatherheads (2008), The Ides of March (2011) and this year's The Monuments…
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Starring: Ake Gronberg, Harriet Andersson, Hasse Ekman, Anders Ek, Gudrun Brost

Sawdust and Tinsel

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In Brief: This early Ingmar Bergman film is, as the title suggests, a circus story, but it's every inch a Bergman circus story, which is to say it's hardly a jolly time under the big top. Instead, Sawdust and Tinsel is a drama about sex, betrayal and humiliation. Although Bergman had been directing since 1946,…
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Starring: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Elle Fanning, Alan Tudyk, Louis C.K., John Goodman, Michael Stuhlbarg

Trumbo

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In Brief: Jay Roach’s Trumbo is something of a miracle — in part because it’s from Jay Roach, a man whose directing career previously peaked with the Austin Powers movies. At the very least, there’s nothing in his filmography that suggests he’d be suitable for this. Toss in the fact that, on the surface, it bites…
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Starring: Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff, Howard Vernon

Alphaville

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In Brief: Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville (1965) is simply one of the damndest things you're ever likely to see. Godard took a popular noir-ish, pulp fiction detective, Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), and plopped him into a nightmarish sci-fi movie that seems to be part serious, part satire — or possibly one huge practical joke. Is Godard…
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Starring: Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, Louis Hayward, June Duprez, Roland Young, Richard Haydn, Mischa Auer

And Then There Were None

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In Brief: It’s rare that Agatha Christie’s books have been given a break on the movie screen, but René Clair’s 1945 filming of And Then There Were None definitely did right by Dame Agatha. For that matter, it also did right by its splendid roster of great character actors, and it gave French filmmaker Clair…
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Starring: Nelson Eddy, Susanna Foster, Claude Rains, Edgar Barrier, Leo Carrillo, Fritz Leiber

The Phantom of the Opera

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In Brief: Universal's big, splashy Technicolor 1943 remake (made on the same set) of its 1925 hit Phantom of the Opera is often dismissed as "too much opera" and "too little Phantom." There's some truth in that, but it's still a good — and certainly good-looking — thriller with its fair share of jolts. In…
best-François-Truffaut-films
Starring: Jacqueline Bisset, Valentina Cortese, Dani, Alexandra Stewart, Jean-Pierre Aumont, François Truffaut

Day for Night

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In Brief: In Brief: François Truffaut’s Day for Night (1973) is not only a great movie about movies, but it’s fascinating as an example of how international cinema truly is. By this I mean that while we think of foreign film as a separate world, Day for Night is clearly the kind of movie that could…
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Starring: Judy Davis, Sam Neill, Wendy Hughes, Robert Grubb, Max Cullen

My Brilliant Career

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In Brief: The 1970s — especially the latter half — seemed to be the time when the world at large was shocked to discover that Australia made movies, too. This was in large part due to two very different filmmakers, Peter Weir and George Miller, but the interest they generated also led to films like this…
Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal, Kôji Yakusho, Adriana Barraza

Babel

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In Brief: Alejandro González Iñárritu and his writing partner Guillermo Arriaga made their bid to move into the mainstream with Babel (2006), a film that was nothing if not ambitious. Taking their standard approach of multiple stories that ultimately connect to create a larger picture, they moved a step further by making the stories global…
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Starring: Victor Sjöström, Ingrid Thulin, Bibi Anderson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Jullan Kindahl

Wild Strawberries

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In Brief: Ingmar Bergman was just 40 when he made Wild Strawberries, but he shows much of himself in the character of 78-year-old Isak Borg (Victor Sjöström). The very fact that he cast filmmaker Sjöström — a pioneer in Swedish film who had an impressive career in Hollywood silent film as Victor Seastrom — is telling,…
The Stranger (1946)Director:Orson WellesShown: Orson Welles
Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Orson Welles, Philip Merivale, Richard Long

The Stranger

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In Brief: Orson Welles' most financially successful (and therefore least admired) film, The Stranger is a fairly straightforward suspense thriller — but it's a suspense thriller that only Welles could make. Its hero is a Nazi hunter (Edward G. Robinson) who's obsessed to the point of being a little unbalanced. Its villain is an unregenerate…
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Starring: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy, Gene Lockhart, Ernest Truex, John Qualen

His Girl Friday

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In Brief: If you’ve never seen His Girl Friday (1940), this is definitely one of the greats from the “golden age” of movies — and it’s a film that still holds the record for the fastest dialogue in the history of movies. That crackling, witty banter is delivered by people who know exactly how to do…
MOULIN ROUGE (1952)
Starring: José Ferrer, Colette Marchand, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Suzanne Flon, Claude Nollier

Moulin Rouge

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In Brief: No, this isn’t the Baz Luhrmann musical (you’ll note the title lacks the exclamation point — and rightly so). This is John Huston’s colorful, but largely stock 1952 biopic on Toulouse-Lautrec (José Ferrer — performing a good deal of the film on his knees). Huston’s big interest seems to have been in creating a…
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Starring: Adolphe Menjou, Pat O'Brien, Mary Brian, Edward Everett Horton, Walter Catlett, Mae Clarke

The Front Page

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In Brief: Fresh from All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), Lewis Milestone tackled the job of bringing Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's 1928 Broadway hit newspaper comedy The Front Page to the screen. Nothing could be more different. All Quiet had been naturally cinematic, but The Front Page was set mostly — in the…
chocolat-movie
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina, Leslie Caron

Chocolat

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In Brief: In Chocolat (2001), Lasse Hallström walks a fine line with material that could easily have slipped into the realm of the too precious, but it never falters as it tells a predictable story of a woman (Juliette Binoche) and her daughter (Victoire Thivisol) who come to a small French town in 1959 and…
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Starring: David Carradine, Liv Ullman, Gert Frobe, Heinz Bennett, James Whitmore

The Serpent’s Egg

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In Brief: The most critically damned of all Ingmar Bergman films, the legendary director’s only English-language work is by now ripe for rediscovery and reappraisal as an intensely personal work unlike anything else in his filmography. The Serpent’s Egg is nothing if not peculiar. For his vision of Germany, Bergman seems more reliant on Sternberg’s The Blue…
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Starring: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta, Serge Merlin

Amélie

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In Brief: Returning to France after the mixed blessing of helming a big-budget Hollywood film, Alien Resurrection, Jean-Pierre Jeunet disproves Thomas Wolfe’s adage that you can’t go home again. Not only did he go home, but once there he made his best film yet: the utterly captivating Amélie (Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain), an instant classic…
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Starring: Mae West, Cary Grant

She Done Him Wrong

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In Brief: She Done Him Wrong is the stuff of legend. It’s the film where Mae West scandalized the world by singing “I Wonder Where My Easy Rider’s Gone” and put her stamp on “Frankie and Johnny” (even if she doesn’t get to sing the whole thing). It’s the film where she brought Paramount contract player Cary…
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Starring: Sergi Lopez, Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Maribel Verdu, Doug Jones

Pan’s Labyrinth

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In Brief: Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) is one of the most remarkable films of the 21st century — something I was not prepared for when I first saw it. Even while recognizing del Toro’s talent in his previous films (sometimes more obvious than other times), there was little in his work to prepare…
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Starring: José van Dam, Anne Roussel, Philippe Volter, Sylvie Fennec, Patrick Bauchau

The Music Teacher

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In Brief: As impossible as it is not to get the feeling that this nice looking Belgian film was written in an effort to showcase the music it contains, it’s equally impossible not to become at least a little swept up in its decidedly “feel good” story about old musical rivals squaring off through their protégés…