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The Girl Without Hands

What he does best is create a palpable sense of dread without pushing, without tilting into melodrama.

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Munna Michael

Noisy, silly, and sometimes rather fun. I just wish it weren't such a hot mess.

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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.

Definitely read me second

On Oct. 16 I published a review of "Tru Loved" in which, at the end, I noted that I stopped watching after eight minutes. I also published a blog entry, "Don't read me first!" discussing that decision and reporting that it horrified my editor, who wondered if my action was immoral. The entry has so far drawn almost 500 comments. I have read them all. I have arrived at some conclusions.

How it happened in the first place. I began viewing the movie on a DVD and taking notes. At what turned out to be the eight-minute mark, I paused the disc, looked at my notes so far, and thought, "There's my review right there." The movie had left me not wanting to see more.

Why I waited until the end of the review to reveal I had stopped after eight minutes. The review reproduced my thought process while arriving at my decision. My editor, Laura Emerick, thought I should have come clean at the beginning. I thought that would have made the review anticlimactic. There is a top-down structure to a lot of shorter prose that correctly places the payoff at the end. I always try to close my reviews with some kind of punchline, sometimes very serious, instead of letting them dribble off into the ether.

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Juno about the fuzzier Oscars? Presenting... The Muriels

View image In 3-D, you'd swear Muriel was nibbling your proboscis. By the way, that's not her real phone number.

Although you probably think they are a reference to the 1963 Alain Resnais film,¹ or Bette Davis's bald uncle, The Muriel Awards are in fact named after Paul Clark's guinea pig. The one named Muriel.

The 2007 Muriel Awards are chosen by an elite body of web-based life forms who are united in their love of movies. Among them is Dennis Cozzalio, whom I have been meaning to congratulate on his handsomely redesigned blog, the renowned and beloved Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. (Admire the new logo! Steal his Oscar predictions! Compare them to Roger Ebert's! Compare them to Ali Arikan's and his drawing of Daniel Plainview!)

Meanwhile, over at Silly Hats Only, Paul is handing out the Muriels to the deserving... Muriel recipients. (We're not supposed to say "winners," are we?) Acting as his own Price-Waterhouse and Jon Stewart combined, he began handing them out February 13 and will continue until February 29, at which point his presentation will actually be longer than the Academy Awards. (I think that's a Bruce Vilanch joke that Whoopi didn't use. Or maybe she did.)

Among the categories announced so far are 50th Anniversary Award for Best Film, 1957 ("The Seventh Seal"), 25th Anniversary Award for Best Film, 1982 ("Blade Runner"), 10th Anniversary Award for Best Film, 1997 ("Boogie Nights") -- and the Less-Than-First Anniversary Muriels for Best of 2007 go to...

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