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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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A celebration of A Christmas Story; The Wes Anderson Collection's first pan; Abel Ferrara breaks it down for you, pal.

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Semites and anti-Semites agree... on certain myths

Michael Chabon, probably best-known as the author of the novels "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" and "Wonder Boys," has an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times called "Chosen, but Not Special" -- about the myths of Jewish exceptionalism that Semites, anti-Semites and Judeophiles all share: the fanciful notion that Jews possess "an inborn, half-legendary agility of intellect, amounting almost to a magical power." Chabon argues we should acknowledge the dangers of this dumb stereotype right now.

The "widespread shock at Israel's blockheadedness in the aftermath of the raid" on the Mavi Marmara should, perhaps, not have been so shocking, Chabon writes:

An honest assessment of Jewish history must conclude that even the collective act that might seem most tellingly to argue in favor of Jewish intelligence -- our survival across millenniums in spite of constant hatred, war, persecution, intolerance and genocide -- is ultimately just the same trick performed by our species as a whole (at least so far).

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Brando letter makes the grade

Q: I couldn't let Marlon Brando's passing go by without telling this story. Over 20 years ago when I was just starting out as a teacher in Chicago, I had a student who loved Brando. As a writing assignment, I'd promised to find addresses for the stars the kids liked, so they could write to them and see who answered.

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