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Side Effects

Many years ago, when he was still a student at the University at Buffalo, and before he became a prominent American novelist and critic, Charles Baxter once mused about the possibly limited shelf life of film directors. Unlike musicians he said, Toscanini or Casals, for example, or painters such as Picasso and Manet, filmmakers’ work seem to tail off in quality and quantity as they aged. The careers of such luminaries as John Ford and Howard Hawks and the Frenchman Marcel Carné seemed to raise this question.

Beautiful Creatures

Twilight. You can’t talk about Beautiful Creatures without reference to the recently concluded mega-franchise that has pulled more money out of the pockets of teen girls than Max Factor. Nor does anyone seem to be trying.

A Good Day to Die Hard

If Bruce Willis is ever married for 25 years, I hope he gives treats his wife better on their silver anniversary than he does John McClane, the character that made him a star. New York cop, blue-collar kind of guy, not afraid to do his best in an emergency situation on unfamiliar turf, McClane was a big hit in 1988’s Die Hard with movie audiences who were eager for a recognizably human hero after a decade of inarticulate, invincible lunks played by Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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