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Nightcrawler

A perfect engine of corrosive satire, this drama follows the adventures of an amoral cameraman to its logical and unsettling end.

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Horns

There are some clever ideas in the script from Keith Bunin, based on the novel by Joe Hill, but they get mixed up in some…

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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.

Some of the year's best documentaries

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Here is a collection of a dozen of the best documentaries I saw in 2012. It's not a "best of the year" list. Just some good memories of these films.I will not burden you again with another complaint about lists. More than ever, I despise them because they shift focus away from a film and toward a list. When I recently caught up with "Django Unchained," for example, I gave it four stars. The comments section was overrun with readers asking if that meant it was now on my Top Ten list. One reader insisted on knowing which title it replaced. Although the piece was some 2,000 words long, another reader insisted he still wanted to see "my official review."

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#140 October 31, 2012

Marie writes: The ever intrepid Sandy Khan shared the following item with the Newsletter and for which I am extremely glad, as it's awesome..."Earlier this year, the Guggenheim Museum put online 65 modern art books, giving you free access to books introducing the work of Alexander Calder, Edvard Munch, Francis Bacon, Gustav Klimt & Egon Schiele, and Kandinsky. Now, just a few short months later, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has launched MetPublications, a portal that will "eventually offer access to nearly all books, Bulletins, and Journals" published by the Met since 1870."

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Crimes of Bush: Bugliosi's case for murder

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Everybody knows that murder has no statute of limitations. So although it may seem a little late to bring criminal charges against George W. Bush for his conduct in office, the evidence against him is is overwhelming and undisputed. The facts aren't in question, but now that he's no longer president the matter of what to do about them remain: How should he and his administration be held accountable for their deceit? Should Bush be prosecuted? Who has the jurisdiction to do so? And what are the proper charges? Vincent Bugliosi, the celebrated prosecutor who convicted Charles Manson, believes Bush should be tried for murder. And from the sound of it, he'd rather have a beer with Manson.

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The Promised Land Will Be Wheelchair-Accessible

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"Lives Worth Living" premieres on the PBS series "Independent Lens" on October 27th at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT). For more information, visit the film's PBS website and filmmaker Eric Neudel's website.

by Jeff Shannon

To be disabled in America, in 2011, is to occupy the midpoint of a metaphorical highway, some stretches smooth and evenly paved, others rocky and difficult to navigate. When you look back at the road behind, you feel proud and satisfied that people with disabilities (PWD) have made significant progress since the days when we had no voice, no place in society, no civil rights whatsoever. Looking ahead, you see fewer physical obstacles but other remaining barriers, in terms of backward attitudes and ongoing exclusion, that society is still stubbornly reluctant to remove.

Like those of us with disabilities, Eric Neudel's documentary "Lives Worth Living" is situated at that halfway point on the rocky road of progress. In just 54 inspiring and informative minutes, Neudel's exceptional film (airing Oct. 27th at 10pm on the PBS series "Independent Lens") provides a concise primer on the history of the disability rights movement in America. The film culminates with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26th, 1990.

And yet, it's only half the story. In a perfect world, PBS would immediately finance a sequel so Neudel (who has devoted his career to documenting political and civil rights struggles) could chronicle the first 20 years of the ADA. That history is still unfolding, and the struggle to enforce and fully implement the ADA is just as compelling as the struggle for disability rights throughout the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

(I'll go a step further and say that the subject is worthy of a multi-part Ken Burns approach, echoing the sentiment of veteran disability-rights advocate Lex Frieden, who observes in "Lives Worth Living" that "If you have a good story to tell, it's not hard to get people to watch or listen to it." And the tale of pre- and post-ADA disability in America is a very good story indeed, as packed with human drama as any other fight for equality in all of American history.)

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Walking down to The Wire

If, like me, you were spellbound by each season's opening credits for "The Wire," you must see the short film analyses of them by critics Andrew Dignan, Kevin B. Lee and Matt Zoller Seitz at Moving Image Source (published by the Museum of the Moving Image). Using the actual footage, along with still frames and zooms (aka "the Ken Burns effect"), these short films examine the credits in critical detail, treating them as short movies unto themselves. Which is exactly what they are. Each season of "The Wire" introduced a new opening montage (cut to various recordings of Tom Waits' "Way Down in the Hole") to set the scene. (Also see the Opening Shot essay for "The Wire.")

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The ultimate mystery

After the release of his "Standard Operating Procedures," the director Errol Morris writes me: This movie seems to have incited controversy, almost as if I broke some sort of rule or series of rules. The ultimate mystery is people. They are often mysteries not only to others but to themselves. Almost everyone wants to dismiss the bad apples rather than look at them, as if there is nothing inherently interesting in their stories. Oh well. The words "to themselves" hold the key.

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Movie Answer Man (12/13/2007)

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Q: The box-office returns for "The Golden Compass" last weekend were modest at best. The film is estimated to have cost more than $150 million and will have a hard time making its money back. The financial disappointment could be catastrophic for New Line Cinema. Not to mention the fact that any chance of an adaptation of The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass (rest of the trilogy) are now slim to nil. Since you gave the film a positive review, what is your opinion of the box-office returns?

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'Bowling for Columbine,' looks at the gun culture in the United States

TELLURIDE, Colo.--At some point early in his life, Michael Moore must have found himself wearing a baseball cap, a windbreaker, and a shirt hanging outside his jeans, and decided he liked the look. That's what he was wearing when I met him at the Telluride Film Festival in 1989, and that's what he was wearing here Saturday. It is also what he wears in "Bowling for Columbine," his new documentary film, when he goes calling on K-Mart executives and Charlton Heston, the spokesman for the National Rifle Association. He is not necessarily wearing the same shirt and jeans, you understand. His closet must look a lot like Archie's and Jughead's, with rows of identical uniforms. The clothes send a message: Here is a man of the people, working-class. He may be on television but he is not of television. In his films, he is a huge hulking presence at the edge of the screen, doggedly firing questions at people who desperately wish they were elsewhere. His face is usually in shadow because of the baseball cap.

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Telluride gets high marks

TELLURIDE, Colo. -- It's a combination of a film festival and a ski weekend, greatly improved by the absence of snow. Moviegoers at this year's 26th Telluride Film Festival can take the ski lift to the top of the mountain, but what they find there is a little unexpected: the Chuck Jones Cinema, named for the animator who brought Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote to life.

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