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Penguins of Madagascar

The pacing is so zany, the jokes are so rapid-fire and the sight gags are so inspired that it’s impossible not to get caught up…

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Horrible Bosses 2

The law of diminishing returns, which has afflicted so many comedy sequels over the years, strikes again in “Horrible Bosses 2,” further proving that just…

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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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#168 May 22, 2013

Marie writes: Now this is really neat. It made TIME's top 25 best blogs for 2012 and with good reason. Behold artist and photographer Gustaf Mantel's Tumblr blog "If we don't, remember me" - a collection of animated GIFs based on classic films. Only part of the image moves and in a single loop; they're sometimes called cinemagraphs. The results can be surprisingly moving. They also can't be embedded so you have to watch them on his blog. I already picked my favorite. :-)

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Prometheus: Alien origins:The skeleton beneath the exoskeleton

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The visceral impact that Ridley Scott's "Alien" had in 1979 can never quite be recaptured, partly because so many movies have adapted elements of its premise, design and effects over the last three decades -- from John Carpenter's remake of "The Thing" (1982) to David Cronenberg's remake of "The Fly" (1986) to "Species" (1998) and "Splice" (2009). No movie had ever looked like this. And it still works tremendously -- but let me tell you, in 1979 a major studio science-fiction/horror film that hinted darkly of interspecies rape and impregnation was unspeakably disturbing. (It got under my skin and has stayed there. We have a symbiotic relationship, this burrowing movie parasite and I. We nourish each other. I don't think Ridley Scott has even come close to birthing as subversive and compelling a creation since.)

The thing is, the filmmakers actually took out the grisly details involving just what that H.R. Giger " xenomorph" did to and with human bodies (the sequels got more graphic), but in some ways that made the horror all the more unsettling. You knew, but you didn't know. It wasn't explicitly articulated. Dallas (Tom Skerrit) just disappears from the movie. The deleted "cocoon" scene (with the haunting moan, "Kill me...") appeared later on a LaserDisc version of the film, and then was incorporated into the 2003 theatrical re-release for the first time. The deleted footage:

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#7 April 21, 2010

A gift from Hawaii for Club members!

From the Big Kahuna: One of our dear friends for more than 25 years has been Jeannette Hereniko, the founder and for many years director of the Hawaii International Film Festival. Jeannette is a key figure in the world of Asia-Pacific Films in general, and several years ago began the smashingly successful AsiaPacificFilms.com.  As you can see at the link, she offers a treasure trove of streaming films from all over the region--and as she defines it, it's a very large region indeed.

Jeannette (above) is a member of the Club, and writes: "An idea: Would you like to offer your members one free month of streaming movies on AsiaPacificFilms.com? It can save them $8.99 for one month and they can cancel at any time. We can figure out a coupon code for the members to enter that allows them free access for a month. If you like this idea, I'll set the coupon up to start working to coincide with the day you announce it. Anytime after your Festival."

Yes, I like it. This is typical of Jeannette, who was instrumental in my discovery that the Aloha Spirit was something very real, and not a tourist slogan. We'll have a follow-up.

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If they screen them, will you come?

TELLURIDE, Colo. -- There is a scene in Francois Truffaut's "Fahrenheit 451" where a colony of book lovers pace slowly through the snow around a pond, reciting the books they have committed to memory. This is in a future where the printed word has been banned. At Telluride sometimes I feel that movie lovers are in the same position, now that the pressures of the marketplace have marginalized all but the most palatable of films.

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