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  • My Amityville Horror

    My Amityville Horror

    ★★★★

    It was a story that could not have been more perfect for a sensationalist media during a decade known for its outrageousness. The home at 112 Ocean Avenue where the grisly -- and, it should be noted, somewhat unexplained -- murders of the entire DeFeo family by the eldest son Ronald DeFeo, Jr., was sold to what was, in the mid 1970s, the perfect example of the new nuclear family: white, middle class, blended. But the Lutzes, consisting of go-getter,…

  • Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia

    Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia

    ★★★★½

    The United States of Amnesia is refreshing and even startling in its austerity; this film is, to date, the most practical and unadorned examination of Gore Vidal, and that in itself makes the film wholly worthwhile. Opening with archival voiceovers indulging in the kind of breathless media rhetoric that followed Vidal his entire life, The United States of Amnesia gently posits that, in the case of the celebrated (and often loathed) novelist-slash-leftist, we as a culture forget so much about…

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  • Murder at the Vanities

    Murder at the Vanities

    ★½

    We pre-Code film fans, as a group, really need to stop going ga-ga over any movie with moderately salacious content. The days of having only a couple dozen pre-Codes to fawn over are long gone, and we can afford to bypass films like MURDER AT THE VANITIES, with only tepid naughtiness to balance out the complete ineptitude.

    Sure, MATV is offensive; it's a pre-Code from 1934, it's practically required to be offensive. It's notable, however, for being one of the…

  • Blue Jasmine

    Blue Jasmine

    ★★½

    It's not that Woody Allen hasn't borrowed from great directors and writers before; goodness knows, it isn't that. It's that in Blue Jasmine, Allen takes what was a powerful, gritty, highly sexual tale by Tennessee Williams and waters it down into a dull story awash in beige and filled with characters concerned with only the most superficial aspects of their lives. That Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) is superficial is not surprising; it's her primary defense mechanism, the way she has always…