Holy Water: The Sinister Los Angeles of Roman Polanski’s Chinatown

J.J. 'Jake Gittes' (Jack Nicholson, left) confronts Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway, right).

If you thought film noir was long dead and gone, think twice. The genre – if you can even call it that – has never vanished from the landscape. The rumors about its demise have been largely exaggerated – for the simple reason that there have been many noteworthy classics since the heyday of film noir in the 1940s and 1950. One of them is Chinatown by Polish director Roman Polanski, if only because it reminds us of former days and highlights of the genre.The movie is set in the Los Angeles of 1937 and harks back to historic disputes about the water rights in Southern California during the 1910s and 1920s.

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Misty Mountain Hop: Middle-earth Revisited in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The returning Gollum (Andy Serkis) isn’t too sure yet what to make of The Hobbit.

Fans have been clamoring for it for almost a decade, through numerous delays, changes in the director’s chair, and alterations in the general concept. Pan’s Labyrinth mastermind Guillermo del Toro wanted to shoot it, but eventually The Lord Of The Rings veteran Peter Jackson gave in and decided to travel to J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantastic Middle-earth once again. Now it’s finally here – An Unexpected Journey, the first part of his long-awaited The Hobbit trilogy and the first ever 3D movie with a higher frame rate. Expectations have been gigantic, but can the blockbuster really deliver?

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Be Quick or Be Dead: The Rebirth of the ‘Spaghetti Western’ in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained

The unusual twosome of Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz, left) and Django Freeman (Jamie Foxx, right) go about their bounty-hunting business.

The release of a Quentin Tarantino movie is always an event, and it has been ever since the director took Hollywood by storm with his debut Reservoir Dogs and his sophomore effort Pulp Fiction about two decades ago. It’s not too hard to see why. People simply dig the coolness and the mystique surrounding his modern readings of different film genres. In addition, he usually recruits ensemble casts that can compete with the best of them. Roughly three years after the great success of Inglourious Basterds, the man has returned – with a star-studded line-up for Django Unchained, his first ever take on America’s favorite tale of old, the Western.

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Sail Away Sweet Sister: Early Alfred Hitchcock Rediscovered in Graham Cutts’s The White Shadow

'Home sweet home,' or so it seems: Mr. Brent (A.B. Imeson, left) and his twin daughters Nancy (center) and Georgina (right, both played by Betty Compson).

Now that we’ve survived the apocalypse and the end of 2012, let’s kick off the new year with a piece of early cinema long considered lost forever. Most of us know Alfred Hitchcock as a director of thrillers and, occasionally, bizarre comedies, who frequently adapted novels, short stories, and plays for the screen. Yet few are aware of the fact that the English ‘Master of Suspense’ was initially responsible for the scripts, intertitles, set design, and editing of silent movies by British filmmaker Graham Cutts. The White Shadow is one of their five collaborations that was released almost nine decades ago but only resurfaced recently.

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