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This Is Where I Leave You

The family gathering comedy is one of the more difficult genres to pull off. Good for Levy for trying something different. But next time he…

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The Zero Theorem

Terry Gilliam's first science fiction film since "12 Monkeys" is an inventively designed but oddly inert satire on technology, God and the future of humankind.

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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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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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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.

#232 August 20, 2014

Sheila writes: In lieu of the recent release of "Get On Up," the James Brown biopic (check out Odie Henderson's review on Rogerebert.com, and you can also check out the video interview with star Chadwick Boseman and director Tate Taylor), I went scrolling through Youtube the other day, enjoying various James Brown clips. I came across this delight: James Brown giving a dance lesson.

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Russian Supreme Court declares Pussy Riot sentence unlawful; Erica Huggins appointed new president of Imagine Films; a music critic comes to her senses about R. Kelly; Bette Midler to play Mae West; celebrities' queasy new publicity machine.

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How many Beyonci does it taketo blow out a Super Bowl?

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by Tom Shales

Okay, now we know: God DOES "care" about the Super Bowl, as people were wondering during the big build-up to the game -- the one that began around Thanksgiving, 2012. Yes, God cares; He HATES it. And that's why He (or, yes, She) turned off the lights on Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans Sunday night and left everybody standing there and waiting for the second half to continue. Maybe it was a kind of Old-Testament warning -- ya think?

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Insanity Set to Pop Culture Deconstruction

* "Detention" is available on Blu-ray and Amazon Instant, and "Girl Walk//All Day" is available for free on Vimeo.

In its drift from one receptive viewer to the next, a cinematic motif or choice soundtrack selection bristles at the prospect of first exposure. Luis Bacalov's titular, Elvis-aping ballad for "Django Unchained" washed recently for the first time over many filmgoers' ears, and thus became their primary recollection. The same can and should not be said, however, about the western's mid-climax "duet" from 2Pac and James Brown later on, which aimed for adrenaline but landed on awkward bafflement instead. Call that disappointing instance decoupage or mash-up, but a post-modern cut-and-paste can also work wonders under the right framework: Two remarkable films from 2012 - Joseph Kahn's madcap teen genre "Detention" and Jacob Krupnick's feature-length music video "Girl Walk//All Day" - operate on the opposite assumption; that their usage of pop culture sources finds audiences second-hand, and in doing so ensure their unique re-appropriation attains an euphoric fusion overall.

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Indy in the Riviera sunshine

Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford and George Lucas bring "Indiana Jones" to Cannes. (AP photo)

Dear Roger,

The weather gods smiled on Steven Spielberg and George Lucas for their world premiere of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Crowds gathered in the Riviera sun, some of them with signs pleading, “S’il vous plait, I NEED tickets for Indiana Jones!” There was a screening scheduled for 1 p.m., for both the press and the official invitation holders. In the past mixing the two has spelled disaster for a movie so highly anticipated; usually the screenings are separate, so the black tie crowd doesn't hear the possible snickers of the critics. Today I expected a crowd, so I got to the Palais des Festivals much earlier than usual, but to no avail. The guards told me it was complet!

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Ebert's Oscar predictions (2007)

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In a year when the Academy Award nominations are more diverse and international than ever before, it's anyone's guess who will win best picture. "Dreamgirls" garnered more nominations than any other movie, but was passed over for both picture and director.

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Opening Shots: 'Flowers of Shanghai'

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From Girish Shambu, Buffalo, NY:

"Flowers of Shanghai" (1998), by Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien, has an opening shot that lasts — I kid you not — eight minutes! Jazz bassist Marcus Miller once said about James Brown’s music that no matter how small a piece of it you took, like DNA, it had the “funk in it.��? That’s how I feel about this shot: it contains, in its eight minutes, the entire film.

The camera is an observer at a table in a 19th century Shanghai brothel or “flower house,��? where several clients are playing a drinking game. Most of them are young, dressed in dark and gleaming silk robes. The only light in the shot is provided by a couple of curved lamps. (In fact, we will discover that the film will never venture outdoors.) Next to the patrons, standing, are their “flower girls.��? Every now and then, promptly but gracefully, they light opium pipes or pour wine for their clients. Like a plaintive sigh, a melancholic melody-drone accompanies the shot.

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Cannes #3: Dreamgirls deferred

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CANNES, France -- One of the traditions at Cannes is the dramatic unveiling of advance footage from a blockbuster scheduled to open next Christmas. I avoid these opportunities. I prefer to see movies all at once. Therefore I turned down an invitation to the preview party for "Dreamgirls," the big musical scheduled to open Dec. 6.

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