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Dear White People

You could make a (film geek) party game out of guessing director Justin Simien's influences, but his vision seems to spring directly from what's up…

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Private Violence

A look at the complexity of domestic violence, especially when it comes to the difficulty of prosecuting abusers in a court of law, "Private Violence"…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Contributors

Sheila O'Malley

Sheila O'Malley

Sheila O'Malley received a BFA in Theatre from the University of Rhode Island and a Master's in Acting from the Actors Studio MFA Program.

She writes film reviews and essays on actors for Capital New York, Fandor, Press Play, Noir of the Week, and the House Next Door. Her work has appeared in Salon.com and The Sewanee Review, where her essay about her father was featured in an Irish Literature issue.

O'Malley has performed her one-woman show "74 Facts and One Lie" all over Manhattan. She has read her personal essays at the prestigious Cornelia Street Cafe Writers Read series. O'Malley writes about actors, movies, books, and Elvis Presley at her popular personal site, The Sheila Variations.

Her first play, July and Half of August, recently had public readings at Theatre Wit in Chicago, and The Vineyard Theatre in New York. She is currently working on her second play, as well as a book about Elvis Presley in Hollywood. 

Read her answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here.

Recent Reviews

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Housebound

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Watchers of the Sky

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

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Love Is Strange

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#237 October 15, 2014

Sheila writes: The New York Film Festival, which ended on October 14, ran a new retrospective of the films of Joseph L. Mankiewicz. In preparation, Adrian Curry (at Mubi) started searching out for cool posters of Mankiewicz's films. Curry writes: "When I started to search for posters for his films I felt a little uninspired myself and wondered whether Mankiewicz’s smart, wordy cinema didn’t really lend itself to inventive visual representation. Some of his best films, like 'The Ghost and Mrs Muir' and 'A Letter to Three Wives', had very mundane American posters. But, digging deeper, I found that there was more than meets the eye, especially among international posters for his films." Go check out the gallery of fantastic posters, one of which, the Japanese poster for "The Barefoot Contessa", is posted below.

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#236 October 1, 2014

Sheila writes: Steven Soderbergh may be retired from movies, but he continues to be a very busy man, primarily with his Cinemax show "The Knick." But in the last couple of weeks, he also launched a conversation-starter on his own site, about the issue of "staging" scenes in film. Soderbergh writes that staging "(roughly defined) refers to how all the various elements of a given scene or piece are aligned, arranged, and coordinated." To show what he means, Soderbergh took a film with a high level of visual staging, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," stripped its sound, made it black-and-white, and overlaid the whole thing with the Trent Reznor/Atticus Finch synethized scores for David Fincher films. The result is a fascinating experiment in visual style. Soderbergh writes, "I operate under the theory a movie should work with the sound off." You can watch Soderbergh's "Raiders" experiment at his site.

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#235 September 17, 2014

Sheila writes: Susan Wloszczyna and Brian Tallerico, from Rogerebert.com, were both at the 39th annual Toronto Film Festival. So many films to see in so little time! I look forward to checking out many of the titles. You can check out all of the reviews here, listed out in the Table of Contents. Rogerebert.com's Odie Henderson also attended the festival and he sent in a a dispatch of his favorites. What films are you looking forward to the most this fall?

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#234 September 3, 2014

Sheila writes: Who doesn't love a good title sequence? I have my favorites. What are yours? The Art of the Title is a wonderful site that focuses on title sequences and in a recent post Ben Radatz and Bill Perkins write, "There are certain narrative, technical, and graphic techniques for which title design is an ideal venue. Because of its short format and creative license — and sometimes because of their budgets — title sequence real estate is often used to explore elaborate, abstract worlds previously unknown or unseen. For this reason — combined with an enduring human fascination with how things tick — Inner Workings is a theme that is frequented by a broad spectrum of genres (though, to be fair, most often by sci-fi and fantasy)." They break down some of their favorite title sequences, and how the sequences work visually and thematically. Lots of food for thought! Here's the whole post. Enjoy!

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#233 August 27, 2014

Sheila writes: Some long takes in cinema are gratuitous and flashy, some connect themselves to the theme of the movie, but all of them are fun to pick apart and deconstruct. The technological challenges are daunting and it's fun to see film-makers rise to those challenges. I came across a video analyzing 12 long takes in cinema, and it should be a fun jumping-off point for discussion. What are your favorite long takes?

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#232 August 20, 2014

Sheila writes: In lieu of the recent release of "Get On Up," the James Brown biopic (check out Odie Henderson's review on Rogerebert.com, and you can also check out the video interview with star Chadwick Boseman and director Tate Taylor), I went scrolling through Youtube the other day, enjoying various James Brown clips. I came across this delight: James Brown giving a dance lesson.

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#231 August 13, 2014

Sheila writes: What a sad week this has been already. We lost both Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall, and the tributes have been flooding the Internet. We have included some link round-ups below with tribute pieces and obituaries, including the two beautiful pieces running on Rogerebert.com. The response has been overwhelming. In case you missed it, here is David Simon's remembrance of a day on the set of "Homicide" with Robin Williams. Please share your favorite roles, favorite moments, favorite memories of these two beloved performers.

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#230 August 6, 2014

Sheila writes: Nelson Carvajal and Jed Mayer, over at Press Play, present a video and an essay about the "scary summer" of 1979. It's a beautiful blend of autobiography and cultural and film memories from that particular summer. Jed Mayer writes: "As tag-lines go, George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead sports a pretty good one: 'When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth.' I stared for weeks at the lurid poster bearing these ominous words. It hung in the front windows of the Maplewood Mall multiplex. Looking back, I think a more fitting tag-line might have come from a speech given by President Jimmy Carter later that same summer: 'Often you see paralysis and stagnation and drift. What can we do?'" Well worth a look!

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#229 July 30, 2014

Sheila writes: Author John le Carré wrote a gorgeous and painful reminiscence of Philip Seymour Hoffman in the New York Times. Le Carre wrote, in part: "... His intuition was luminous from the instant you met him. So was his intelligence. A lot of actors act intelligent, but Philip was the real thing: a shining, artistic polymath with an intelligence that came at you like a pair of headlights and enveloped you from the moment he grabbed your hand, put a huge arm round your neck and shoved a cheek against yours; or if the mood took him, hugged you to him like a big, pudgy schoolboy, then stood and beamed at you while he took stock of the effect."

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