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Summer of ’90: Wild at Heart

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Summer of ’90: Wild at Heart

The Samuel Goldwyn Company

Summer of ’90: Wild at Heart

The power of David Lynch’s Wild at Heart is the endurance of an Elvis Presley song (or two), the staying power of a children’s movie, and the sight and sound of a match being struck: romantically mellow, wackily comic, and deadly, darkly serious.

Lynch gets more and scarier mileage out of fire in Wild at Heart than he did out of Frank Booth’s lighter in Blue Velvet. In between the two came the game-changing Twin Peaks, which, soon after Wild at Heart, Lynch would round off with Fire Walk with Me. It’s easy to see the whole arc from Blue Velvet to Fire Walk with Me as part of a single centralizing vision, an identifiable phase of his artistic development—his “fire period,” if you like.

If I Had a Sight & Sound Film Ballot Tony Dayoub’s Top 10 Films of All Time

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If I Had a Sight & Sound Film Ballot: Tony Dayoub’s Top 10 Films of All Time
If I Had a Sight & Sound Film Ballot: Tony Dayoub’s Top 10 Films of All Time

When The House Next Door invited its writers to submit their Top 10 films of all time, I was faced with the usual conundrum: What does “Top 10” signify – best or favorite? After much consideration, I’m happy to say that the list I came up with could easily represent either. These are definitely personal favorites, but, in my not-so-humble opinion, they are also unassailable in their perfection, and could easily fall at the top of any all-time best list arrived at by consensus.

15 Famous Movie Savages

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15 Famous Movie Savages
15 Famous Movie Savages

Oliver Stone returns this weekend with Savages, a nasty crime thriller based on Don Winslow’s drug-cartel novel. The dictionary defines “savage” as “an uncivilized human being,” “a fierce, brutal, or cruel person,” and “a rude, boorish person.” In other words, it covers just about every villain who’s ever graced the screen. To whip up a list of 15, we set our sights on vicious characters as fierce as they are remarkably uncouth. There are no classy rogues here, folks. These are teeth-gnashing, eardrum-piercing, elbows-on-the-table types, and from a child murderer to a furry monster to two more Stone creations, they comprise a choice selection of scoundrels.

Cannes Film Festival 2012: Killing Them Softly

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Cannes Film Festival 2012: <em>Killing Them Softly</em>
Cannes Film Festival 2012: <em>Killing Them Softly</em>

George V. Higgins wrote downbeat Nixon-era crime novels like The Friends of Eddie Coyle (turned by director Peter Yates into a bleakly brilliant vehicle for an aging Robert Mitchum), pulp fictions full of toothy, profane dialogue and petty-criminal patois, with all the pitch-perfect accuracy of a court stenographer. Though its publication predated Watergate by several years, there’s something especially resonant for the times in its sad saga of busted dreams and quisling betrayals. Updating Higgins’s Cogan’s Trade for the new millennium, Andrew Dominik sets Killing Them Softly against the onset of the economic meltdown and the run-up to the 2008 election, a thread of radio reports and TV spots running through the film like a leitmotif, all the better to establish Killing Them Softly’s thematic core: “America isn’t a country, it’s a business.” Whether the cash gushes forth from subprime mortgages or high-stakes poker games, disruption to the status quo can’t be abided, and necessary measures will be taken to reestablish its steady flow.

Global Lens 2011: Kivu Ruhorahoza’s Grey Matter

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Global Lens 2011: Kivu Ruhorahoza’s Grey Matter
Global Lens 2011: Kivu Ruhorahoza’s Grey Matter

One question haunts Kivu Ruhorahoza’s Grey Matter: Can film as a medium communicate the unthinkable and unknowable consequences of mass tragedy? When you’re dealing with an event as devastating and massive as the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, where over 800,000 people were killed in a matter of months, any type of definitive answer undoubtedly comes up short. So instead of trying to make sense of the madness through traditional storytelling techniques, Grey Matter embraces a disjointed film-within-a-film structure to examine the ghostly qualities of competing perspectives and experiences. Here, personal and collective malaise is organically linked through a sense of indefinite emotional overlap, where the lingering consequences of personal trauma are made national, and vice versa.