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Map of the Human Heart: My New York in ‘Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ and ‘They Came Together’

By Yasmina Tawil

By Vadim Rizov

For ten years now, I’ve nursed an oddly specific theory: Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlistis the most geographically accurate film about New York City, at least within the last 15 years. This is a strange thing to fixate on, not least because the film doesn’t come up much: It came out a decade ago, received generally fine reviews, and made $33 million (at least in part because it was riding the...

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Moving: On the Cinema of Kate Bush

By Yasmina Tawil

By Willow Maclay
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“Experimenting with film is exciting to me. It feels like it has purpose.”
-Kate Bush, Egos and Icons, 1993

Kate Bush has always been more than your average musical artist. It’s not ordinary to have a chart-topping single when you’re 19-years-old, let alone a number-one hit about a classic literary text of all things. From the onset, she was more than hooks. She was a wizard of merging artistic interests, folded together into a stunning presentation of everything she could offer as an artist.

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War Starts At Midnight: The Three Wartime Visions of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

By Yasmina Tawil

By Josh Spiegel
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Few filmmakers have made films as thematically rich as those from writers/directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in the 1940s. From 1943 to 1949, Powell and Pressburger, better known as the Archers, made seven superlative films that leapfrog genres with heedless abandon...

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Remember My Forgotten Women: The Dire Worlds of “Sucker Punch” and “Gold Diggers of 1933″

By Yasmina Tawil

By Sheila O’Malley
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Halfway through my first viewing of Zach Snyder’s Sucker Punch—as I tried to disengage from the negative criticism floating around the film, as I admitted I was not only getting sucked in, I was actually moved by all of it—a confused thought drifted into my head: “Am I crazy, or is this a little bit like Gold Diggers of 1933?” (That’s a rhetorical question, although I can already hear the response.) The thought was so ludicrous it felt like a hallucination, not to mention a sacrilege, but it kept nagging at me. Maybe 15, 20 minutes after that, there’s a scene where the evil pimp-orderly Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac) comes into the rebellious girls’ ratty dressing room to read them the riot act. On the wall is a collage of old movie posters, and I got a brief flash of the words “GOLD DIGGERS” behind his head. I paused the film, and squinted at the screen.

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Ignite the Light: How Katy Perry’s “Firework” Brings Scenes From Three Very Different Movies to Life

By Yasmina Tawil

By Josh Bell

When Katy Perry’s “Firework” begins playing for the first time in Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone, it’s not especially noticeable. The song is part of the background music at Marineland, the aquatic park where Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) works as an orca trainer, one of several upbeat pop songs that serve to get the crowd excited during the routine animal performances in the outdoor amphitheater. It’s only after the minute-long section of the song has ended, and the soundtrack has shifted to tense orchestral music, that it becomes clear how indelibly “Firework” will be seared into Stephanie’s psyche, probably for the rest of her life.

 

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The Two Werner Herzogs

By Yasmina Tawil

By John Redding & B.A. Hunt
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Raffi Asdourian/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Pepe courtesy Matt Furie/mattfurie.com | Remix by Jason Reed

Werner Herzog, that hypnotic German filmmaker who once tried to murder his leading man, who taunted death atop a soon-to-erupt volcano, and who looking upon the screeching Amazon mused that he saw only pain and misery in the jungle, was on a press tour. He sat beside his producer Jim McNiel, both bundled up in the Park City cold, and listened politely as the Los Angeles Times’ Steve Zeitchik asked about his new film. 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Deepest Cut: The Hidden Emotion of Joel and Ethan Coen’s ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’

By Yasmina Tawil

By Mike D’Angelo
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Over the course of their three-decade career, Joel and Ethan Coen have buried a man alive, fed a body into a woodchipper, and shot a grinning Brad Pitt in the face at point-blank range. The most vicious act in their oeuvre, though, involves no physical violence whatsoever. It’s the blunt verdict issued by a famous French piano teacher, Jacques Carcanogues (Adam Alexi-Malle), after hearing a teenage girl’s audition. “Did she make mistakes?” asks the girl’s patron, who considers her a prodigy. 

 

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Unready Player One: Why Movies and Video Games Don’t Mix

By Yasmina Tawil

By Daniel Carlson

There’s a concept in video game theory called “ludonarrative dissonance.” At its core, it’s about the interaction between a game’s themes (what it wants you to feel) and its mechanics (what it wants you to do), as well as any conflicts that might result when those two things intersect. An example of this would be a game that promotes themes of individuality and freedom while locking the player...

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