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Guardians of the Galaxy

In many respects, “Guardians,” directed and co-written by indie wit James Gunn, and starring buffed-up former schlub Chris Pratt and Really Big Sci-Fi Blockbuster vet…

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War Story

Director Mark Jackson’s drama is a chilly study in grief starring Catherine Keener as a war-zone photographer shattered by her experiences in Libya.

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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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Opening Shots: Another Woman

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Woody Allen's "Another Woman" (1988) begins with a shot that is the whole movie in miniature. As followers of the Opening Shots Project know, that's one of my favorite approaches, and I think "Another Woman" is one of Allen's best movies.

A woman (Marion Post, played by Gena Rowlands) appears at the far end of a dark hallway and strides toward the camera, passing in and out of light. She is wearing a long coat, and she puts a scarf around her shoulders as she walks. She's a woman who knows where she's going. We don't get a good look at her until she moves into medium close-up, adjusts an earring and comes face to face with herself in the mirror. (Bergman reference intentional.) Her reflection is obscured from our point of view, but for a moment we see her look directly into her own eyes.

Marion, who has recently turned 50, thinks she knows herself and what kind of life she has led. But what she encounters when she steps out the door will overturn her establish notions of who she is and what she has done with her life: her memories of the past, her marriages, her lovers, her friendships, her relationships with her own family... Everything she though was solid and certain is swept out from under her feet and she goes into free-fall. With wit and insight, the movie details her unexpected investigation into what she's made of herself. And as the illusions crumble around her, she notices her mother's tear stains on the last line of a favorite poem, Rainer Maria Rilke's "Archaic Torso of Apollo," which reads: "... for here there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life."

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