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Beauty and the Beast

A sturdy and frequently dazzling version that should leave audiences swooning with delight.

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The Age of Shadows

At 140 minutes, Kim sometimes loses the rhythm of his spy thriller, but he's such a confident filmmaker—and his leading man such a magnetic presence—that…

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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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* 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.

The RogerEbert.com Interviews of 2015

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Highlights of our 2015 interviews, including Brie Larson, Bryan Cranston, Jason Segel, Lexi Alexander, Sarah Silverman, Spike Lee, Tom McCarthy, Ramin Bahrani, Paul Feig, Charlie Kaufman and much more.

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Thumbnails 11/22/2013

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The 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination; critical reviews of a critical review of Sarah Silverman's career; Guillermo Del Toro's biggests firsts; an official video for "Like a Rolling Stone"; is Harvey "Scissorhanding" his company's awards site?

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The Melancholy Hero: On the Acting of Owen Wilson

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What are we to make of Owen Wilson, he with the tow-colored mop of hair, the crooked nose, and the smile that seems to need so much in return? In certain contexts, Owen Wilson's smile is heartbreaking. Not just in more serious roles, but in everything. One does not often think of grown men as being "wistful" or full of "pathos"; only little plucky orphans in pig-tails and pinafores should be "wistful."

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Larry Sanders: Changing television and changing lives

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August, 2012, marks the 20th anniversary of the debut of "The Larry Sanders Show," episodes of which are available on Netflix Instant, Amazon Instant, iTunes, and DVD. This is the third and final part of Edward Copeland's extensive tribute to the show, including interviews with many of those involved in creating one of the best-loved comedies in television history. Part 1 (Ten Best Episodes) is here and Part 2 (The show behind the show) is here.

A related article about Bob Odenkirk and his characters, Stevie Grant and Saul Goodman (on "Breaking Bad"), is here.

by Edward Copeland

"It was an amazing experience," said Jeffrey Tambor. "I come from the theater and it was very, very much approached like theater. It was rehearsed and Garry took a long, long time in casting and putting that particular unit together." In a phone interview, Tambor talked about how Garry Shandling and his behind-the-scenes team selected the performers to play the characters, regulars and guest stars, on "The Larry Sanders Show" when it debuted 20 years ago. Shandling chose well throughout the series' run and -- from the veteran to the novice, the theater-trained acting teacher and character actor to the comedy troupe star in his most subtle role -- they all tend to feel the way Tambor does: "It changed my career. It changed my life."

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#134 September 19, 2012

Marie writes: Intrepid club member Sandy Kahn came upon the following recipe and wisely showed it to me, so that I might share it in turn with all of you. Behold the morning chocolate cookie - a healthy breakfast treat loaded with good stuff; like fiber and imported French chocolate.

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What is a "rape joke," anyway?

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What's worse than finding a hair in your soup? Being raped.* -- @AntiJokeApple, June 2, 2012

"I was raped by a doctor... which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl..." -- Sarah Silverman, "Jesus Is Magic" (2005)

Seriously, what is a rape joke, why do you tell one, and how do you apologize for one? I empathize with comedians who get up on stage, alone, and develop new material, often without knowing where their minds and mouths are going to take them (or their audience). It's a semi-disciplined, stream-of-consciousness high-wire act without a net, and as any comic will tell you, they frequently fall. (See Patton Oswalt's remembrance of a bad performance in the early 1990s and the "Magical Black Man" who haunted and helped him.) But no matter what they say or do, they're still accountable for saying or doing it -- and, more than ever before (thanks to blogs and social media and video smartphones), they are held publicly accountable. So, when I heard that Daniel Tosh of Comedy Central's top-rated "Tosh .0," was in hot water for telling a "rape joke," the first thing I wanted to know was: What was the joke? That has to be where it all starts, don't you think? What did he actually say?

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Waltzing with the in-between

May Contain Spoilers

"Take This Waltz" materialized out of a humid summer day in Toronto and made me tremble and fall in love... with who or what I'm not sure; the city yes, and maybe the idea of the in-between.

There is something incredibly delicate and beautiful about the thought of in-between: of that space of the possible, of movement, of choices being sought and yet to be made, of freedom and abandon and all the stuff that dreams are made of, but yet to solidify. It is a place of alchemy. Some call it a moment - a fleeting moment.

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#102 February 15, 2012

Marie writes: my art pal Siri Arnet sent me following - and holy cow! "Japanese artist Takanori Aiba has taken bonsai trees, food packaging, and even a tiny statue of the Michelin Man and constructed miniature metropolises around these objects, thus creating real-life Bottled Cities of Kandor. Explains Aiba of his artwork:"My source of creations are my early experience of bonsai making and maze illustration. These works make use of an aerial perspective, which like the diagram for a maze shows the whole from above (the macro view) while including minute details (the micro view). If you explore any small part of my works, you find amazing stories and some unique characters." ( click to enlarge.)

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#48 February 2, 2011

Take a breath and be brave. Very, very brave.... smile....Behold the "Willis Tower" in Chicago (formerly the Sears Tower) - the tallest building in North America and its famous attraction, The Skydeck.  In January 2009, the Willis Tower owners began a major renovation of the Skydeck, to include the installation of glass balconies, extending approximately four feet over Wacker Drive from the 103rd floor. The all-glass boxes allow visitors to look directly through the floor to the street 1,353 feet (412 m) below. The boxes, which can bear five short tons of weight (about 4.5 metric tons), opened to the public on July 2, 2009.

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Sarah Silverman: Sell the Vatican, feed the world

"Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." (Matthew, 19:21)

WWJD? (What would a Jewess do?)

Sarah Silverman has some good points here. In my travels two sights have made me feel physically ill: 1) an exhibition of Spanish Inquisition torture instruments in Cordoba, Spain; 2) the ostentatiously decadent collection of treasures in the Vatican. (Couldn't help but think of Max von Sydow in "Hannah and Her Sisters": "If Jesus could come back and see what is being done in his name he would never stop throwing up.") It may be a coincidence, but it's disturbing to me that both these revolting sights were connected to the historical institution of the Catholic Church. The first made me ill at the thought of human beings even imagining, much less actually building, such horrendous contraptions to exploit the human body for torture and death (I felt similar despair at Dachau); the second made me sick because of the gaudy wastefulness of it all. Too rich in more ways than one. Why hasn't this gold-encrusted stuff been sold off to do some good? How does a church, of all earthly institutions, get away with hoarding booty like this? Of course, that's a question that's been debated by Christians within and without the Catholic church for centuries:

"Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?" -- Martin Luther, Thesis 86, "The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences," 1517

(tip: Tony Dayoub)

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Parrot asks, "What'd the frozen turkey want?"

A joke should have the perfection of a haiku. Not one extra word. No wrong words. It should seem to have been discovered in its absolute form rather than created. The weight of the meaning should be at the end. The earlier words should prepare for the shift of the meaning. The ending must have absolute finality. It should present a world view only revealed at the last moment. Like knife-throwing, joke-telling should never be practiced except by experts.

For many laymen, a joke is a heavenly gift allowing them to monopolize your attention although they lack all ability as an entertainer. You can tell this because they start off grinning and grin the whole way through. They're so pleased with themselves. Their grins are telling you they're funny and their joke is funny. The expert knows not to betray the slightest emotion. The expert is reciting a fact. There is nothing to be done about it. The fact insists on a world that is different than you thought. The fact is surprising and ironic. It is also surprising--you mustn't see it coming. That's why the teller should not grin. His face shouldn't tell you it's coming. If the joke is also vulgar, so much the better, but it must never exist for the sake of vulgarity. That's why "The Aristocrats" is not only the most offensive joke in the world, but also, in the wrong hands, the most boring.

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Sarah Silverman is a genius (still)

I'm posting this not just because I'm (still) in love with Sarah Silverman (though I am), and not just because she's a genius (though, of course, she is), and not just because of the overt political humor in this short film (though The Great Schlep is an inspired idea), but because of how it relates to recent Scanners posts about comedy and understanding what the joke is. (See posts and discussions regarding "Tropic Thunder," "Juneau," and David Foster Wallace.)

So, please watch the above movie and then provide your interpretation of it, by considering my questions after the jump...

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Give me irony or give me offense!

The award winner for best short film at the 2007 US Comedy Arts Festival (now known simply as The Comedy Festival) was "My Wife Is Retarded," starring Gary Cole, Sean Astin, Leslie Bibb, Phyllis George and George Segal. It was written and directed by Etan Cohen, co-writer of "Tropic Thunder." Other than that, all I know about it is the IMDb plot description: "A man learns the secret behind his perfect marriage."

Are you offended yet? I can't say if I am, because I haven't seen the movie. If the premise is that an intellectually disabled woman is the ideal spouse, or that all women are intellectually disabled, well... I might find that deplorable, depending on how it's presented. Is the movie advocating that point of view? Is it "joking" the way R--- L------- used to about "feminazis," implying that a woman's place is in a coma? Is it the husband who wishes his wife was intellectually impaired? Does she feel like that's what her husband expects from her? There are so many conceptual approaches you could imagine for a movie of that title, some of which seem to offer comedic possibilities, and others that are maybe not-so-promising. But you never know until you actually see it. And, for some people, not even then.

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