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  • Inglourious Basterds

    Inglourious Basterds

    ★★★½

    Included In Lists:
    Movies in Frames

    "Au revoir, Shosanna!"

    Quentin Tarantino is known for his abundant use of violence and profanities, but his subversiveness runs a lot deeper than that. Consider Inglourious Basterds, his first war movie, a choral story with intertwining plot lines set in Nazi-occupied France during WWII.

    It's amazing how Tarantino treats conversations like set-pieces: with his great ear for vivid dialogues he crafts magnificently tense scenes of verbal sparring, the best involving British officer Fassbender and…

  • Phoenix

    Phoenix

    ★★★★

    Included In Lists:
    The Criterion Collection
    Movies in Frames

    "The curtain descends, everything ends, too soon, too soon."

    Kurt Weill's romantic ballad never seemed so mournful or out-of-place as background music for "Phoenix", a German language drama playing at the few theaters not catering to Hollywood refuse. It is another late model indie film in which the hero is a heroine, a female rather than a muscular, tough-talking guy.

    Nina Hoss plays Nelly Lenz, who used to be in love…

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  • The Conversation

    The Conversation

    ★★★★½

    Included In Lists:
    Movies in Frames

    "I'm not afraid of death, but I am afraid of murder."

    The Conversation is thrilling, heart-stopping, frightening. But it operates more importantly as a meditation on personal privacy and psychological paranoia, right down to its haunting final image, which contains more sorrow, more anguish and more tortuous claustrophobia than any movie you're likely to see.
    Coppola's control of tension is relentless and thrilling. In terms of goals set and achieved, this may very well…

  • Chinatown

    Chinatown

    ★★★★

    Included In Lists:
    Movies in Frames

    "You may think you know what you're dealing with, but, believe me, you don't."

    Chinatown is a brilliant mystery, written with an astute sense of narrative architecture and played to the hilt by a terrific cast, including Nicholson, who has never done better work than his portrayal of the insouciant Jake Gittes. It's a rare thriller, one that addresses itself to serious moral and public policy issues while remaining gripping, exciting and finally heartbreaking.