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The words Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which I saw on an Italian movie poster, are perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies. This appeal is what attracts us, and ultimately what makes us despair when we begin to understand how seldom movies are more than this.

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A bit about Pauline Kael ...

Pauline Kael (June 19, 1919 September 3, 2001) was a film critic who wrote for The New Yorker magazine. She was known for her in-depth, well-informed, deeply personal, sometimes impassioned movie reviews. Though she approached movies intellectually, her writing style was strictly in the vernacular, and her guiding thesis was that movies, regardless of other merits, must be entertaining. Many people considered her the most influential American film critic of her day, including critic Roger Ebert, whose own style is heavily indebted to Kael.

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