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Office Christmas Party

Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…

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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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* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.

The art of sexual belt-notching

May Contain Spoilers

Mike Nichols' 1971 drama "Carnal Knowledge" is part of a canon of American films of the late 1960s to mid-1970s that mirrored the freewheeling sexual culture and society from which they emerged. These films ("Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice", "Shampoo" and others) examined varied notions of commitment, companionship and sex. "Carnal Knowledge", written by playwright, author and cartoonist Jules Feiffer, shows men talking casually, bluntly and frankly about women, their bodies, of strategies to get sex and of sexual belt-notching, though not necessarily much about the specific act of sex.

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CIFF 2009: The winners! And our reviews

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Tina Mabry's "Mississippi Damned," an independent American production, won the Gold Hugo as the best film in the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival, and added Gold Plaques for best supporting actress (Jossie Thacker) and best screenplay (Mabry). It tells the harrowing story of three black children growing up in rural Mississippi in circumstances of violence and addiction. The film's trailer and an interview with Mabry are linked at the bottom.

Kylee Russell in "Mississippi Damned"

The winner of the Audience Award, announced Friday, was "Precious" (see below). The wins came over a crowed field of competitors from all over the world, many of them with much larger budgets. The other big winner at the Pump Room of the Ambassador East awards ceremony Saturday evening was by veteran master Marco Bellocchio of Italy, who won the Silver Hugo as best director for "Vincere," the story of Mussolini's younger brother. Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Filippo Timi won Silver Hugos as best actress and actor, and Daniele Cipri won a Gold Plaque for best cinematography.

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Grumpy Ol' Walter

LOS ANGELES -- I had been told to look for the groove. Grumpy old Walter Matthau has a groove worn into the end of one thumb, a friend said. It has been created over the years by the opposite thumbnail, during basketball games and horse races and anything else Matthau has money on.

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Interview with Ann-Margret (1983)

The walls of Roger Smith's office are covered with pictures of Ann-Margret. Here she is as a sex kitten, on the cover of Life. There's a cover from Entertainment World, a forgotten show business magazine. All in a row are three recent covers of People. And here are an oil painting of Ann-Margret, and a lot of cartoonist's caricatures, and some framed ads and telegrams and the usual backstage memorabilia. In one corner, almost hidden behind a file cabinet, is Roger Smith's only souvenir of his own career: A framed ad for his stage appearance as a folk singer at the "hungry i" nightclub in San Francisco, in 1964.

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Interview with Ann-Margret (1982)

ANNES, FRANCE - Outside on the beaches of the Mediterranean, there were small riots taking place as the paparazzi stalked the stars, and would-be starlets stalked the paparazzi across the topless sands and into the sea. But here, in the cool of the royal gray room of the expensive gray D'Albion hotel, all was calm and a little subdued, and a Muzak version of "Lazy River" played while Ann-Margret studied her menu.

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John Travolta: 'Blow Out' in Chicago

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John Travolta came to Chicago on Friday. It was a little like a state visit, with tight security, police barricades and long black limousines speeding between luxury hotels and City Hall. Travolta, who is one of the two or three most popular box office attractions in the world, was here to promote his new, thriller, “Blow Out.” People were interested in the thriller, but fascinated by Travolta.

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Interview with Teri Garr

HOLLYWOOD - Teri Garr lives breathlessly in a 2 1/2-room apartment in an oldish building up the hill from Sunset Strip, the kind of apartment you'd expect for a member of the chorus line. It is weeks since Christmas, but she still has her tree up. It's all dried out, shedding needles. She's wearing a jumpsuit and talking in a confidential tone of voice into the telephone:

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Jessica Lange: Woman Behind the Ape

"It was just a year ago at this time," Jessica Lange remembered. "The screen tests were on Dec. 17 and 19, and then I went home for Christmas. And I said to my folks, I've got some news for you that you're not going to believe. I'm, ah, I'm going to star in 'King Kong'..."

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Interview with Ann-Margret

There are lots of things to ask Ann-Margret about "Tommy," I kept thinking. About being directed by Ken Russell, and about what she thought the meaning of the original rock opera was, and about what Roger Daltrey was like, and . . . somehow I kept drifting back to the baked beans.

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Ann-Margret: Still cracking that whip

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LAKE GENEVA, WI -- There is just no keeping up with all the new Ann-Margrets. Last year's new Ann-Margret abandoned her image, as the press releases say, to play a committed graduate student in "R.P.M." Her quandary: Should she still shack up with Anthony Quinn after he stops being a radical professor and becomes a moderate administrator? That's a dicey quandary, believe me, because Ann-Margret was playing a liberated woman even if she didn't have her own motorcycle and had to ride on the back of Anthony Quinn's.

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