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La La Land

This is a beautiful film about love and dreams, and how the two impact each other.

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Jackie

There are two movies in "Jackie." One of these movies is just OK. The other is exceptional. The first one keeps undermining the second.

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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.

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The love and sex Gore Vidal dared not speak; critic Sam Adams is a (James) Franco-phile; the national conversation about sexual assault; a brilliant pop culture quiz; eleven Colorado counties angling to secede.

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#180 August 14, 2013

Marie writes: Much beloved and a never ending source of amusement, Simon's Cat is a popular animated cartoon series by the British animator Simon Tofield featuring a hungry house cat who uses increasingly heavy-handed tactics to get its owner to feed it. Hand-drawn using an A4-size Wacom Intuos 3 pen and tablet, Simon has revealed that his four cats - called Teddy, Hugh, Jess and Maisie - provide inspiration for the series, with Hugh being the primary inspiration. And there's now a new short titled "Suitcase". To view the complete collection to date, visit Simon's Cat at YouTube.

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#172 June 19, 2013

Marie writes: Widely regarded as THE quintessential Art House movie, "Last Year at Marienbad" has long since perplexed those who've seen it; resulting in countless Criterion-esque essays speculating as to its meaning whilst knowledge of the film itself, often a measure of one's rank and standing amongst coffee house cinephiles. But the universe has since moved on from artsy farsty French New Wave. It now prefers something braver, bolder, more daring...

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Norman Mailer: His life in public

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"Norman Mailer: The American" is available on Amazon Instant video. It is also available on DVD. Criterion has announced a two-disc Eclipse Series DVD set of Norman Mailer-directed features for release August 28, 2012: "Maidstone" (1970), "Wild 90" (1967) and "Beyond the Law" (1968).

Watching "Norman Mailer: The American," I was struck by the similarities between Mailer and Charles Foster Kane. And it's not just that director Joseph Mantegna (not the actor) at one point employs the title card for "Citizen Kane's" faux newsreel "News on the March" to setup some archival footage. Or the fact that "American" was originally the proposed title for Orson Welles' masterpiece.

Both films grapple with taking the full measure of a man who had significant influences on his times (Kane is fictional, but he was legendarily based in part on newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst). As Mailer's life unfolds in all its glory, controversy and infamy, dialogue from "Kane" ran like a crawl through my brain. "Few private lives were more public... and he himself was always news." And: "Here's a man who was as loved and hated and talked about as any man in our time." But finally: "It's not enough to tell us what the man did, you've got to tell us who he was."

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Happy days are here again

For me the best news produced by the Florida primary was Newt Gingrich's vow to take his fight all the way to the floor of this year's Republican convention. It has been way too long since a national political convention was more than a coronation stage-managed by public relations experts.

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So U2 Wanna Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star

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"Killing Bono" available On Demand (through various cable outlets -- check your listings) October 5. In theaters November 4.

by Odie Henderson

"Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little." -- Gore Vidal

I was the only patron at my screening of "U2: Rattle and Hum" back in 1988. Sitting in the cavernous darkness of my old 'hood theater, with its still-unmatched speakers and the ghosts of my childhood movies, I fell in love with the band U2. Beforehand, I had a casual familiarity with their music, and while I liked some of the songs, I wouldn't have considered myself a fan. I went because the black and white cinematography looked gorgeous in the clips I'd seen on TV. I wasn't disappointed. Phil Joanou's documentary is achingly beautiful. That, along with Bono and the New Voices of Freedom gospel choir's performance of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," cemented my diehard fandom. Once, in a Dublin pub, armed with numerous imbibed pints of Guinness and a dare from the guitar-playing busker who'd been entertaining the crowd, I sang "All I Want Is You" to a crowd of swooning lasses standing in front of me. That evening ended well.

Neil McCormick, the protagonist of "Killing Bono" would hate that I started this piece fawning over the murder victim of the film's title. After all, he feels trapped in Bono's shadow and decides he has to kill him. "Killing Bono" opens in 1987, with a stalkerish Neil (Ben Barnes) driving his car to Bono's latest Dublin appearance. Rambling to the camera that he was originally entitled to everything Bono has, Neil crashes his car before exiting with his gun drawn and pointed at his prey. "I always knew I'd be famous," he tells us.

Cue the flashback machine! Suddenly, it's 1976, and McCormick stands in a high school hallway reading a billboard notice. His classmate, Paul Hewson (Martin McCann), is holding auditions for his new band, The Hype. Despite being in Neil's band, The Undertakers, Neil's brother Ivan (Robert Sheehan) tries out for second guitar. Much to Neil's chagrin, Hewson loves Ivan's work and wants him for his band. Neil objects--Ivan's really good and essential to Neil's success--so he tells Paul no deal.

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Playboy after dark

LOS ANGELES--There are three official movie nights at the Playboy Mansion. Friday nights are for classic films, Sundays for new releases, and Wednesday night for films chosen by popular demand. "You ought to drop in on Friday," Hugh Hefner's daughter, Christie, told me. "Hef does the notes himself."

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Classic movie night at the Playboy mansion

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LOS ANGELES--There are three official movie nights at the Playboy Mansion. Friday nights are for classic films, Sundays for new releases, and Wednesday night for films chosen by popular demand. "You ought to drop in on Friday," Hugh Hefner's daughter, Christie, told me. "Hef does the notes himself."

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Oliver Stone Finds the Humanity in ``Nixon''

NEW YORK I went to the screening of Oliver Stone's "Nixon" expecting to see Atilla the Hun in a suit and tie. What I saw surprised me as much as anything this unpredictable director has ever done: a portrait of Richard Nixon that inspired a certain empathy for who he was, how he got to the highest place in the land and how he fell from it. The movie does not apologize, nor does it forgive, but it helps us understand. Oliver Cromwell asked that his portrait be painted "warts and all." Nixon had more warts than most, but what Stone has done with his portrait may amaze Nixon's enemies more than his friends.

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Savoring a century of 'the cinema'

As I now move, graciously, I hope, toward the door marked Exit, it occurs to me that the only thing I ever really liked to do was go to the movies. Naturally, Sex and Art always took precedence over the cinema. Unfortunately, neither ever proved to be as dependable as the filtering of present light through that moving strip of celluloid which projects past images and voices onto a screen.

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Tim Robbins' detour on the campaign trail

CANNES, France -- His new album is "The Times, They Are A-Changin' Back." His hit single, launched with a video on MTV, is "They Complain and Complain and Complain." Bob Roberts is the folk-singing, populist right-wing senatorial candidate for Pennsylvania, running against an aging Kennedy liberal. He doesn't give speeches; he sings songs.

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