Cinema: Everything New Is Old Again

Some hip summer movies stir up the same tired blood

Saturday-matinee serials, gangster dramas with hearts of fudge, airhead romantic comedies. Think they don't make movies like these anymore? Look around, think again and weep a little for the art of cinema. The first reel of a picture will tantalize with originality of story or tone. Then genre anxiety sets in--the filmmakers' compulsion to return to the formats that have worked, and been worked to death, for decades. Can't take the risk of challenging those people out there in the dark; it might frighten them. Movies have to be like TV now: a medium not of surprise but of reassurance. Give...

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