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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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'Dear Frankie': Mortimer rides a wave of roles

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CANNES, France -- Suddenly I am aware of Emily Mortimer. I of course must have seen her in "Scream 3" (2000), but she made no impression. She was in "Notting Hill" (1999), but went unmentioned in my review. Then in "Lovely & Amazing" (2001) she had a scene of astonishing bravery in a film that was, yes, lovely and amazing. And then in the last few months have come "A Foreign Affair" (2003), "Young Adam" and now "Dear Frankie," which is a great success in the Un Certain Regard section of this year's Cannes festival.

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Several of strongest offerings play outside film festival mainstream

CANNES, France -- The 57th Cannes Film Festival heads into its closing weekend with no clear favorite for the Palme d'Or, and with critics generally agreeing there have been good films but no sensation that has pulled ahead of the pack. The most rapturous reception was for Michael Moore's Bush-whacking documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11," but the applause was as much for its politics as its filmmaking.

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