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Stronger

Some of it is too broad, and I wish it dug a little deeper at times, but this is one of those rare inspirational films…

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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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Kings of the Road

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Wim Wenders' "Kings of the Road" is a film of great depth and beauty, and its black and white photography is worthy of comparison with John Ford's. But it is rarely played commercially, maybe because of its three-hour length.

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Violence to Lord of Flies

Ebert William Golding's "Lord of the Flies," a famous modern novel, concerns a group of British schoolboys who are marooned on an island and gradually become savages. Despite all the standards of decency and honor that have been hammered into them in school, they eventually grow capable of murder. That's what the book is about: how capable we are of violence despite all our talk of civilization.

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Luis Bunuel's No Exit Signs

To the surprise of all concerned, Luis Bunuel's "The Exterminating Angel" has turned into a modest hit at the Town Underground. This is an encouraging sign if Chicago is to develop another first-run outlet for good foreign films. The Town will hold "Angel" at least another week, possibly two, before opening Orson Welles' "Falstaff."

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And the Pulitzer goes to . . .

The movies are 100 years old in 1997, and the Pulitzer Prizes are 70. This would be a good time for them to get together. In addition to the journalism categories, Pulitzers are awarded in the areas of music, drama and literature - but they never have been given to the movies, where they might actually have a greater influence.

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Shooting Gallery series

This is a good idea. For six weeks in 19 cities, including Chicago and Evanston, new independent and foreign films will be showcased in two-week runs. You can buy single tickets, or join a club that allows you to attend a preview followed by a discussion with local film critics. And there is a web site for additional discussion. http://movies.yahoo.com/sgfilmseries/index.html

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Danson's Racist 'Humor' Appalls Crowd at Roast

NEW YORK It's a tradition of the celebrity roasts at the Friar's Club that everything goes - that no joke is in such bad taste that it cannot be told. Friday, that tradition may have ended, as a roast for Whoopi Goldberg turned into such a tasteless display that some audience members hid their faces in their hands, and others left.

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