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Life struck me as several cuts above “meh” but never made me jump out of my seat.

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Trashy, goofy, and surprisingly sincere, this superhero fantasy is better than you expect but not as good as it should be.

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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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Ebertfest 2008: Party de Champaign

The Prince of Denmark, Yukio Mishima and the Incredible Hulk are planning to convene in Champaign-Urbana, IL, for Roger Ebert's Film Festival (April 23-27, 2008). Joining them (off-screen) for the Ebertfest No. 10 will be directors Paul Schrader, Bill Forsyth, Sally Potter and actors Christine Lahti, Aida Turturro, Joe Pantoliano, among others. The emphasis is still on the (re-)discovery of "overlooked" films (with that term defined however Ebert wants to define it), but the festival is now known simply as Ebertfest. The full schedule is here:

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Wednesday, April 23

7 pm -- "Hamlet" (Kenneth Branagh, 1996)

Thursday, April 24

1 pm -- "Delirious" (Tom DiCillo, 2007) 4 pm -- "Yes" (Sally Potter, 2004) 8:30 p.m. -- "Canvas" (Joseph Greco, 2006) "Citizen Cohl: The Untold Story" (Barry Avrich, 2008), a tribute to Dusty Cohl

Friday, April 25

11:30 am -- "Shotgun Stories" (Jeff Nichols, 2007) 2 pm -- ''Underworld'' (Josef von Sternberg, 1927), Alloy Orchestra 7 pm -- "The Real Dirt on Farmer John" (Taggart Siegel, 2005) 10 pm -- "Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters" (Paul Schrader, 1985)

Saturday, April 26

11 am -- "Hulk" (Ang Lee, 2003) 3 pm -- "The Band's Visit" (Eran Kolirin, 2007) 7:30 pm -- "Housekeeping" (Bill Forsyth, 1987) 11 pm -- "The Cell" (Tarsem Singh, 2000)

Sunday, April 27

Noon -- "Romance & Cigarettes" (John Turturro, 2006)

All screenings take place at the historic Virginia Theatre in Champaign, IL: http://www.thevirginia.org/

Complete Ebertfest 2008 information: http://www.ebertfest.com/

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