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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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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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"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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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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The People vs. George Lucas

May Contain Spoilers

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A documentary called "The People vs. George Lucas" gives disgruntled, hard-core, "Star Wars" a chance to vent on the decisions George Lucas has made over the last several years, regarding the alterations to his beloved original trilogy as well as the overall outcome of that series' prequels. It may be safe to say that these fans' gargantuan expectations were not fully met.

I have to wonder if such expectations were realistic to begin with, I also ask myself if it was the world we live in today that drastically changed the rules of the game for the release of the maligned prequels. Let's face it, the insufferable Ewoks never had to face the same fate that Jar Jar Binks did when days after the release of the first prequel, a web site called www.jarjarbinkssucks.com became the talk of the web in its early days.

Personally I feel bad for George Lucas. Somewhere down the line his creations became so much bigger than himself and in a way, they may have simply ceased to belong to him without his full realization. If you doubt this in any way, just google "Han shot first" and you'll get a Wikipedia entry.

Are the fans' complaints justified? In my opinion, unlike Spielberg's "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" dual releases, Lucas has stuck to his guns and won't even allow his film's original versions of the first saga to be adequately shown.My goal in this piece is to try differentiating between myth and fact regarding this situation and thus, try finding the prequels rightful place in movie history, whatever that may be.

For the record, I agree that the original series was better overall but let's face it, these kinds of movies seemed newer and fresher when they first came out, their special effects more innovative (none of the prequels won a Best Special Effects Academy Award, which should tell you something), and overall I don't particularly believe the original series was perfect to begin with.

There may be few points to pick off episodes IV & V and most of episode VI is very good but the whole Endor sequence in the latter may be the very worst section of the complete series, Cute little Ewoks simply can not defeat Storm Troopers without putting in check the inner logic of the whole series.

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For what it's worth, these opinions only represent my personal point of view and in no way am I trying to contradict these hard-core "Star Wars" fans but just in case, next time I'm walking down the street, if I should see a guy dressed as Boba Fett rushing towards me, I may just cross the to the other side and try to avoid him.

And to George Lucas all I can say, you should have foreseen that having people dress up as your characters on the premieres of your movies, would have some unwanted, collateral effects. As someone in the "People vs. George Lucas" documentary says, if you had messed with "Howard the Duck", nobody would have complained.   

  

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