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J. Edgar

It’s surely one of recent American history’s most piquant, neatly ironic jokes. J. Edgar Hoover, crime buster supreme, scourge of the Red Menace, and virtual founder of our national police force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has become over the last 40 years the butt of snickers and dirty jokes about his reputed private life. The voyeuristic, rigidly moralist Hoover spent decades and uncounted millions in dollars and man-hours invasively monitoring and secretly archiving not just the political views and activities of obscure Americans and such luminaries as Charles Chaplin, Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King Jr., and even President John F. Kennedy, but also the most intimate details of their lives.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

A hit at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, where Sean Durkin was named Best Director for his feature debut, Martha Marcy May Marlene is an unsettling psychological exploration that will appeal to audiences who like to pick at the pieces of a story in order to figure out what is going on, and who don’t mind if the answer never comes wholly into view.


There may be only a limited number of basic stories, but there is an infinite number of ways to tell them. With Endings, his second feature film, independent writer-director Chris Hansen has found a new way to tell a story about dying.

The Skin I Live In

Right up there with vampires and zombies, the mad scientist using his surgical skills to try to revive, restore or otherwise recreate the wife that was taken from him in the bloom of youth and beauty is one of the staples of the horror film. I don’t know which was the first version of the tale—surely something starring Boris Karloff or Bela Lugosi, both of whom played any number of doctors obsessed with unorthodox methods to unachievable goals? But the apotheosis of it was surely Georges Franju’s 1960 Eyes Without a Face, that most poetic film that cinema snobs hate to label a horror movie.

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