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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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#70 July 6, 2011

Marie writes: Gone fishing...aka: in the past 48 hrs, Movable Type was down so I couldn't work, my friend Siri came over with belated birthday presents, and I built a custom mesh screen for my kitchen window in advance of expected hot weather. So this week's Newsletter is a bit lighter than usual.

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#65 June 1, 2011

Marie writes: Why a picture is often worth a thousand words...Production still of Harold Lloyd in "An Eastern Westerner" (1920)

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Corn goes in one end and profit comes out the other

At home, Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) has a business line and a personal line. You should know that because the FBI does, and so do his bosses at Archer Daniels Midland ("Supermarket To The World"™). Mark is pretty good at compartmentalizing his life, but the lines are about to get crossed a little bit.

Mark lives with his wife and kids in Decatur, IL, but he's been all over the world with ADM and he's proud of what they do, especially with corn. They make all kinds of stuff out of plain old corn, from high fructose corn syrup to lysine to ethanol -- all of which, you might say, are fuel additives, designed to juice up production of... whatever.

Celebrating ADM's miraculous line of alchemical products, Mark excitedly notes: "Corn goes in one end and profit comes out the other!" Vivid image, that. Kind of suggests Mark's chronic logorrhoea, the stream of partially digested thoughts that swirls around inside his head and occasionally gushes from his mouth. When he gets going his internal monologue (in voiceover) actually talks right over his lips and his tongue. He doesn't interrupt himself; his mouth and his brain just keep spilling over each other. I wouldn't be surprised if Damon's Mark Whitacre had a cousin named Jerry Lundegaard in Fargo.

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