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American Sniper

American Sniper proves the dictum “never count an auteur out” by proving itself as Eastwood’s strongest directorial effort since 2009's underrated Invictus pretty much right…

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The Interview

Opportunities at rich satire flatten out into Hangover dude-dope-doodoo jokes, where the premise is that there’s nothing funnier than watching over-privileged grown men act out…

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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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Unwild about scary 'Harry'

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Q. After reading your review of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," I note that you are the only critic I know of who feels that the increasing darkness of the series is a barrier, as opposed to a credit, to the series. I wonder, do you feel that a lot of critics' enthusiasm for "darkness" and "realism" in today's fantasy filmmaking is misplaced? Do you yearn for more innocence and joy in films where it is clearly an asset and not a liability?

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