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Edge of Tomorrow

Here and there in Tom Cruise’s thirty-odd-year-long career can be found evidence of a yearning for mature, accomplished work, the kind he did in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia fifteen years ago. But in recent years his career has been given to muscular megalithic action-pic tent-polers, pitched to mass global audiences. He seems to have parked his actorly ambition someplace, perhaps for good.

Palo Alto

Whether the market has reached the saturation point of James Franco remains to be seen. The actor-director-performance artist-writer-doctoral candidate and whatever else certainly keeps busy, though a lot of his work isn’t very widely distributed. (Anyone still waiting for his adaptation of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying to get to a local theater can give up: it’s out on DVD.)

Half of a Yellow Sun

Wars are huge events that cannot easily be comprehended—historians make their careers on arguing interpretations of them forever after they have ended. That’s why storytellers who want to deal with them, in novels and films, often choose to put a handful of characters front and center to show how the war in question affects their lives.

Band of Sisters

Nuns get a bad rap. For generations they’ve been depicted in mass media as steel ruler-wielding terrorists of school children, clad in outfits that resemble burqas and preaching denial and self-loathing.

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