Film

Half a Century at the Movies

From the writings of Stanley Kauffmann

The Silence, 1964

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Stanley Kauffmann's Final Film Review

On 'Nicky's Family,' 'The Artist and the Model' and 'The Act of Killing'

Nicky’s Family is a Czech tribute (stirringly deserved) to Nicholas Winton, the Englishman who organized the rescue of mostly Jewish Czech children from Prague when the Nazis invaded. His organization has been active ever since in similar work. Welcome as this picture is, the tribute is only part of its achievement. It has created a cinematic marvel: a reproduction of Prague in 1939.

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When was the last time a male actor, already in his forties, and around a while, simply grabbed the kingdom?

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For four decades Ned Beatty has been the unofficial spokesmodel of Appalachian tourism. Even if Beatty, scrambling around in the woods wearing his tighty-whities, isn’t anchored in your somatic memory—even if you have no idea who Ned Beatty is—you know what his character endured in the 1972 film Deliverance.

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"The film is so vague, so fuzzily adoring, that it ultimately tells us far more about the annoying endurance of the cult of Diana than it does about the princess herself."

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Making a film is so hard. Sometimes you wish it had been impossible.

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Last week, I saw 12 Years a Slave and thought it was absolutely superb. For this reason, and because it concerns arguably the most important aspect of American history, I have been seeking out commentary about the film. What I have found instead is a bunch of  hand-wringing about whether the movie should have even been made.

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This piece originally appeared on newstatesman.com.Let’s get the personal bit out of the way. How did Peter Capaldi do?

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The trailer for director Wes Anderson’s next movie, due out in 2014 and called The Grand Budapest Hotel, came out Thursday. It features harpsichord-esque background music, a madcap plot, impish hipster humor made funnier by contrast to its opulent surroundings, and lots of shots of characters framed in the center, as though they are on a stage.

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