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The Farewell Party

High drama and lowbrow, morbid humor get stitched together in this successful tragicomedy about terminal patients and assisted suicide. Works better than expected.

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Sunshine Superman

I found Jean Boenish’s philosophical musings less than persuasive. And I don’t think my fear of heights was the reason for my bias.

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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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My Favorite Roger: Peter Sobczynski

Roger's review of "Blue Velvet"

Why did I choose this peice of writing?

If I had to sit down and pick one piece of Roger's as a favorite--a move that would eliminate countless worthy contenders ranging from the great profiles he used to write for "Esquire" back in the day (like his profiles on Groucho Marx, Robert Mitchum and Joe Solomon) to his hilariously devastating pans of long-forgotten craptaculars—I think that I would have to go with the review that he wrote for David Lynch's "Blue Velvet," a film that found him bucking the critical tide that had deemed it an instant masterpiece and one of the great cinematic works of the 1980's. The thing is, I am actually one of those who considers it to be a masterpiece and I could not disagree more with his opinion. That said, he was not merely dismissing it as one might do with a film they didn't like—he took the time to grapple what it was that bugged him about it on a basic fundamental level and did so in such an interesting way that I found myself intrigued by what he had to say even though I did not agree with it. For me, that is the true measure of a great film critic and it was that ability that made his work so special.

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