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The Pixelated Splendor of Michael Mann’s ‘Blackhat’

By Yasmina Tawil

By Bilge Ebiri

[Last year, Musings paid homage to Produced and Abandoned: The Best Films You’ve Never Seen, a review anthology from the National Society of Film Critics that championed studio orphans from the ‘70s and ‘80s. In the days before the Internet, young cinephiles like myself relied on reference books and anthologies to lead us to films we might not have discovered otherwise. Released in 1990, Produced and Abandoned was a foundational piece of work, introducing me to such wonders as Cutter’s Way, Lost in America, High Tide, Choose Me, Housekeeping, and Fat City. (You can find the full list of entries here.) Our first round of Produced and Abandoned essays included Angelica Jade Bastién on By the Sea, Mike D’Angelo on The Counselor, Judy Berman on Velvet Goldmine, and Keith Phipps on O.C. and Stiggs. Over the next four weeks, Musings will continue with another round of essays about tarnished gems, in the hope they’ll get a second look. Or, more likely, a first. —Scott Tobias, editor.]

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Left Hand, Right Hand: Good and Evil in Bill Paxton’s ‘Frailty’

By Yasmina Tawil

By April Wolfe

[Last year, Musings paid homage to Produced and Abandoned: The Best Films You’ve Never Seen, a review anthology from the National Society of Film Critics that championed studio orphans from the ‘70s and ‘80s. In the days before the Internet, young cinephiles like myself relied on reference books and anthologies to lead us to films we might not have discovered otherwise. Released in 1990, Produced and Abandoned was a foundational piece of work, introducing me to such wonders as Cutter’s Way, Lost in America, High Tide, Choose Me, Housekeeping, and Fat City. (You can find the full list of entries here.) Our first round of Produced and Abandoned essays included Angelica Jade Bastién on By the Sea, Mike D’Angelo on The Counselor, Judy Berman on Velvet Goldmine, and Keith Phipps on O.C. and Stiggs. Over the next four weeks, Musings will continue with another round of essays about tarnished gems, in the hope they’ll get a second look. Or, more likely, a first. —Scott Tobias, editor.]

 

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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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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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