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  • August 12, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Has anyone not yet seen The Big Lebowski (1998)? How about twice? A hundred times? For those in the know there is no limit to how often one should experience this quasi-religious comic epic by the Coen Brothers in which Jeff Bridges plays the sui generis, White Russian-sipping, bathrobe-clad geek demi-god, the Dude.

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  • July 29, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Billy Wilder was a master at combining heart-wrenching romanticism with brutal cynicism, as is the case in The Apartment (1960). Fidgety Jack Lemmon plays an office drone who seeks advancement by lending out his title digs to the company bigwigs. All goes well until he falls for the hapless cast-off (Shirley MacLaine at her most winsome) of the big boss (Fred MacMurray at his most loathsome).

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  • July 26, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    The best way to conquer fear is to confront it, so if you suffer from Arachnophobia (1990) you might try enduring Frank Marshall's black-comic horror flick. In it, a giant man-eating spider finds its way to the suburbs where it mates with the local species, producing a smaller, but just as nasty, rapidly proliferating hybrid.

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  • July 19, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    One of Joe Dante's most underrated films, The 'Burbs (1989) manages to offer a lesson in tolerance - or is it about the evils of apathy and social irresponsibility? - and still remain a creepy black comedy. Tom Hanks spends a lot of time in his pajamas as a vacationing, harried suburbanite who finds himself becoming the voice of reason when his flaky neighbors get into a lynch-mob mentality about the creepy new family next door.

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  • July 08, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Some think that Tim Burton's best film is still his first, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985), an adaptation for the big screen of the then-popular children's TV show starring Paul Reubens - a kind of latter-day Harry Langdon - as the simple-minded man-child of the title. The material touched something childlike and magical in Burton's imagination, inspiring in him a delight in the surreal and absurd that he has not quite equaled since.

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  • July 05, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    At a certain point in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), directed by Robert Rodriguez from a script by Quentin Tarantino, you have to surrender to the absurdity, excess, and campiness, and just go with the flow. That flow is mostly blood, as a pair of outlaw brothers, played by Tarantino and George Clooney, hole up with their hostages - including a minister played by Harvey Keitel - in a roadside strip club that proves to be infested with vampires.

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  • June 28, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    When one corpse is just not enough, treat yourself to House of 1000 Corpses (2003), Rob Zombie's gruesome homage to the trashy slasher horror films of the '60s and '70s. A couple of teenagers driving through Texas visit a creepy sideshow, pick up a spooky hitchhiker, and end up at the title domicile where. .

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  • June 23, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Though not as flashy as the Fassbinder/Herzog/Wenders glory days of the '70s, German cinema lately has quietly been turning out some of the world's better movies, many of which have been showcased by the Goethe-Institut at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Tomorrow they are screening Sebastian Grobler's Lessons of a Dream (2011).

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  • June 09, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Bertie Crisp

    It might not be easy to pronounce, but Womanimation! is a must-see event, celebrating female filmmakers from around the world and the surreal, imaginative, and profound possibilities of film animation. Some of the shorts offered are Tram from Prague's Michaela Pavlatova, which in true, black-comic Czech fashion investigates the erotic possibilities of everyday routines; Chinti, in which Russian filmmaker Natalia Mirzoyan uses animated tea leaves to depict an ant's determination in recreating the Taj Mahal; and from England, Francesca Adams's Bertie Crisp, which demonstrates the ups and downs of being a bear married to a bunny.

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  • May 06, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Has the popularity of silent movies brought on by the Oscar-winning The Artist since faded to black? Perhaps this screening of E.A. Dupont's lushly noirish Piccadilly (1929) will restore some of the magic. The stunning Anna May Wong plays an impoverished scullery maid whose sultry dancing proves a hit on the stage of a fancy London nightclub.

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  • April 29, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    So, the ultimate cinema celebration of callow youth has itself entered late-middle age, marking its 45th anniversary. Mike Nichols's The Graduate (1967) retains its youthful vulnerability and optimism, a spirit that embodied the nascent '60s culture from which it sprang. With Dustin Hoffman brilliantly cast against type as the title naïf about to confront all the now-familiar clichés about conformity, the middle class, generational conflict, and true love, it has dated well.

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  • April 14, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    As anyone who's had a couple of drinks and tried to do it can testify, freestyle rapping isn't as easy as it looks. Turns out that the process involves some unique brain functioning, or so Charles Limb, MD tells us, and he's got the MRIs to prove it. He's a hearing specialist, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins, and a lifelong musician.

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  • April 13, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Doesn't anyone realize that The Wizard of Oz (1939) is the most horrifying movie ever made? The flying monkeys, the dismembered Scarecrow, the inexorable tornado - these images have curdled the nightmares of generations of unwitting children. But now we are older and can be campy and ironic about the film that tells us that there's no place like home - which is a dismal black-and-white Kansas populated by scary old people - because everything else is a fevered illusion.

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  • April 01, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Not to put down the big budgeted CGI animation of Pixar, Disney, and the like, but sometimes all that fancy stuff detracts from the essence of the medium. Not so Don Hertzfeld's hilarious, absurd, and exacting stick figure masterpieces. He'll be at the Coolidge in person this evening to present It's a Beautiful Day, the just completed, culminating episode of his epic trilogy.

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  • March 18, 2012
    By Peter Keough

    Before the Republicans officially make intolerance a plank in their campaign platform, they might want to drop by tonight's Science on Screen program. It will be screening Alain Berliner's Ma Vie en Rose (1997), a bittersweet comedy about a little boy who dresses up like a girl and can't wait to marry the boy next door.

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