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Transcendence

"Transcendence" is a serious science fiction movie filled with big ideas and powerful images, but it never quite coheres, and the end is a copout.

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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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Vulcan survivor's guilt: Why J.J. Abrams should make Mr. Spock the hero of the new "Star Trek" franchise

May Contain Spoilers
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The destruction of Vulcan, one of the most crucial planets in the "Star Trek" universe, should be at the core of J.J. Abrams’ "Trek" movies. It is the single development that most distinguishes the original series from Abrams’ reboot, an event so boldly imagined that it marks the filmmakers’ new, blank canvas with a hideous dark stain.

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My homages to Ray Harryhausen: age 9 to 19

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Ray Harryhausen told us, time and again, the story of how he saw the original "King Kong" (1933) on the big screen when he was just a kid, of how he was inspired by Willis O'Brien's pioneering special effects, and of how that led him to his grand career in the field of stop-motion animation. In some sense, Harryhausen inspired me in the same way that O'Brien did him. I'm not exaggerating when I say that he changed my life.

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To Roger, from far-flung friends

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Longtime readers of the Chicago Sun-Times are familiar with Roger Ebert's "One-Minute Reviews." These are capsule reviews (roughly 75-150 words or so), condensing his responses to current movies. As any writer knows, the short versions can be harder to write than the full-length ones.

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Inside Kubrick's Room 237

"Room 237" is a captivating and engrossing new documentary exploring the covert symbols and whacked-out theories that have obsessed ardent fans of Stanley Kubrick's 1980 horror film, "The Shining." From a personal secret statement about the Holocaust to a cryptic confession about his involvement in a supposed NASA cover of the Apollo 11 moon landing, "Room 237" offers the wildly diverse interpretations of five obsessed film fanatics regarding Kubrick's possible hidden intentions. Katherine Tulich interviewed the film's LA based director Rodney Ascher and producer Tim White for this video report.

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A beauty pageant Gloria Steinem would love

May Contain Spoilers
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Women's History month is just the right time to watch, "Miss Navajo," a documentary that premiered at Sundance in 2007 and was broadcast on PBS the same year. The title alone may turn people away if you are, like me, not a big fan of beauty pageants but Miss Navajo is the kind of pageant that perhaps even Gloria Steinem could get behind.

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