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Variety: ‘Mission: Impossible’ at 20: The Best & Worst Films of Tom Cruise

A ranking of the best & worst films of Tom Cruise on the 20th anniversary of the “M:I” franchise.

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HubSpot: The 12 Greatest Advertising Movies Ever Made

The first official TV commercial aired in 1941 when a paid announcer uttered the magic words: “America runs on Bulova time.” Since then, television and advertising have been inseparable. From classic sitcoms like “Bewitched,” to dramas like “Thirtysomething” and “Melrose Place,” stories set in ad firms have fascinated viewers for decades. Yet none of those shows captured the essence of advertising better than AMC’s brilliant “Mad Men.” With its nuanced dialogue, stylish art direction and superb performances, the series riveted our attention like no other. Alas, all good things must come to an end. To help ease the sense of loss as its final season approaches, here’s a list of 12 movies that could teach Don Draper a few things about the business.

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Variety: ‘Pretty Woman’ Anniversary: 12 Hookers with Hearts of Gold

When it premiered on March 23, 1990, “Pretty Woman” made one thing perfectly clear: Hollywood has an obsession with the world’s oldest profession. From Gloria Swanson playing a harlot in the silent melodrama “Sadie Thompson,” to Sasha Grey as a high-priced escort in Steven Soderbergh’s “The Girlfriend Experience,” prostitutes have been a movie mainstay since the pre-code era. Yet unlike Jane Fonda’s icy call girl in “Klute” or Pam Grier’s psycho streetwalker in “Fort Apache, the Bronx,” Julia Roberts’ happy-go-lucky Vivian Ward was a hooker with the proverbial heart of gold. On the 25th anniversary of “Pretty Woman,” here’s a look at 11 working girls (plus one working guy) who would give you the shirt off their backs… provided they were wearing one.

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Brian De Palma’s ‘Passion’: A Film Review

It’s not the throat slittings, strangulations, fetish masks, drug-fueled nightmares or murderous lesbians that make Brian De Palma’s “Passion” so enjoyable. Those things are all quite wonderful, but what’s really special here is that they’re handled so effortlessly. There’s a lightness to “Passion” that I wasn’t expecting, a playful insouciance that informs the entire film, from the first quirky notes of Pino Donaggio’s retro score to the final grisly tableau. I was completely charmed by it.

It’s really two movies for the price of one. The first is a dirty little office comedy about beautiful people stabbing each other in the back to get ahead. The second is a dreamy psycho-thriller about beautiful people slashing each other in the throat to get revenge. Both are a lot of fun.

De Palma’s artfully composed split-screens, prowling steadicam and deep-focus diopter shots help goose an already nifty story into something memorable. Admittedly, the bigger fan you are of the director, the better the film will probably work for you. I love the guy, but your results may vary.

Unlike Bret Easton Ellis’s tone-deaf dialog in Paul Schrader’s otherwise curious “The Canyons,” De Palma’s script is intentionally funny. What a relief! There’s nothing smug or self-important at work here. It never takes itself too seriously, but doesn’t devolve into a joke, either. That’s a delicate line for an erotic thriller to walk, but “Passion” pulls it off quiet nicely.

Rachel McAdams, an actress I’ve never felt strongly about, is terrific as the ethically-challenged corporate honcho whose kinky sex games set the twisty plot spinning. After Rebecca Romijn’s semi-awkward performance in the well-crafted “Femme Fatale” and Scarlett Johansson’s somnambulant interpretation of a human being in “The Black Dahlia,” it’s a pleasure to see De Palma directing someone who appears fully engaged with the camera for a change. McAdams seems almost giddy at times, hungrily chewing as much scenery as she can get her manicured fingers on.

It took me a while to get on Noomi Rapace’s odd wavelength, but once I did her casting made perfect sense. There’s something alien about her, something icy, yet fragile. The darker the story gets, the more comfortable she seems in it. Pairing her with the vibrant McAdams was a great idea, as the two contrast beautifully on screen.

I might be overselling it, but that’s okay. I thoroughly enjoyed “Passion” and look forward to seeing it again (and probably again after that). It’s not a big film. It’s not a baroque horror tale like “Raising Cain,” or a Grand Guignol masterpiece like “Dressed to Kill.” The ending doesn’t make much sense, and I’m not sure if the mystery-plot plays fair with the audience. But it’s stylish, smart and funny, and just eerie enough to make you check your closet before going to sleep afterward.