Talking Movies: A half-century of the Up Series

The Up Series

Fifty years ago, in 1963, Granada Television, a regional service for Northwest England, commissioned Seven Up!, a brief documentary about the future of England. Who are the workers and executives of that distant, magical year 2000? The idea was to gather together a cross-section of 7-year-olds and interview them about their lives and aspirations. The […]

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Talking Movies: The horror, the horror!

Upstream Color

Upstream Color, the eagerly awaited second film by indie director Shane Carruth, is extremely difficult to describe. It’s partially a mind-blowing sci-fi film along the lines of his first movie, Primer, which won the 2004 Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. It’s also kind of a romance. But if I were forced to label it, I’d […]

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A love letter to Leaf Kitchen’s Cubano

I love Leaf Kitchen’s “Cubano,” their version of the classic Cuban ham-and-cheese sandwich. I know that the verb “love” is much abused, particularly when applied to food, but it’s the best word I can come up with for the eroticism inspired in me by this particular combination of soft grilled white-wine garlic bread, braised pork, […]

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Talking Movies: Rust & Bone

Rust and Bone

The spirit of our age walks on prosthetic limbs. Of course, humanity has always been fascinated by amputees. But whereas prosthetics were once a sign of creepiness, from Captain Ahab to Captain Hook, now they’re attached to sympathetic heroes. Think of Oscar Pistorius, the Olympic “Blade Runner,” sadly on trial for murdering his model-girlfriend; or […]

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Talking Movies: Lincoln before Spielberg

I’ll be surprised if Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln doesn’t take a handful of the 12 Academy Awards for which it’s nominated.  The greatest movie about our 16th president, John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), lost its sole Academy Award nomination, Best Original Screenplay, to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  More proof of an unjust universe.  Not […]

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Talking Movies: In The Dark

Zero Dark Thirty

The movies have a strange relationship with the mass shootings that have recently plagued our country. When the police arrested James Eagan Holmes for the massacre at The Dark Knight  in Aurora, Colo., he identified himself as the Joker. Before Gangster Squad could be released, a scene had to be cut because it featured a […]

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