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Winter Sleep

The running time of his new picture Winter Sleep, three hours and change, suggests weight, but at it happens, this movie struck me as both…

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Mr. Turner

Filmmaker Mike Leigh's biography of the landscape painter J.M.W. Turner is what critics call "austere"—which means it's slow and grim and deliberately hard to love—yet…

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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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Movie Answer Man (06/18/2000)

Q. I recently rented a copy of "Fight Club" at my local Blockbuster. I know that as a "Family-Oriented" video store they refuse to handle NC-17 rated movies. They also put "Youth-Restricted Viewing" stickers on any and all movies without a rating, regardless (it seems) whether or not the movie might be appropriate for children. "Fight Club" was released in the theatres with an R rating, but I recall several scenes in the film release that I noticed were edited from the video. There is a scene where Myra tells Tyler Durden, "I want to have your abortion." Also another scene where we see Brad Pitt's character editing pornographic material into children's videos. As it is narrated we are given a quick glimpse of male genitalia while the narrator makes a graphic comment. The narration was still there, but the visual was gone. (Joel Murray, Golden CO)

A. Steven Feldstein of Fox says the studio did no editing of the film: "The film that was in the theatres is the film they transferred to the video." You are mistaken in your memory of the "abortion" speech, which was cut from the film before release, but is included among the extras on the DVD.

Q. I am writing about the "best documentary" Oscar given this year to "Last Day in September." There have been complaints that its producer, Arthur Cohn, took unfair advantage of the "reforms" in the category to tilt the pool of eligible voters toward his film. Under Academy rules, voters must see all five nominated documentaries in order to cast ballots. Cohn's critics say that once his film made the short list, he held only a few screenings, and particularly invited his friends. Since only those who had seen his film were eligible to vote, his strategy was to show it to as few people as possible. Your opinion? (Greg Nelson, Chicago)

A. At Cannes this year I encountered Wendy Lidell, vice president of Winstar Cinema, whose doc "On the Ropes" was another of the year's nominees. Although other losers in the category, such as the heavily-favored Wim Wenders ("The Buena Vista Social Club") declined to comment on the controversy, Lidell agreed to go on the record.

Q. Has it come to your attention that Nancy's Aunt Fritzie is now employed as a music critic? (Ronnie Barzell, Los Angeles)

A. It has. Over the decades I have had many theories about Aunt Fritzie's employment, some of them fueled by her tight dresses, shiny nylons and high heels. This explains everything. If Sluggo becomes a movie critic, that's where I draw the line.

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