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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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National Film Critics go 'Capote'

The National Society of Film Critics has chosen "Capote" as the best film of 2005, and Philip Seymour Hoffman best actor for his work in the title role.

Last year, Roger Ebert wrote: "Not all movie awards are created equal. Countless groups bestow their praise on each year's movies, no doubt stirred by honorable motives, as well as a desire to influence the Oscars and get publicity. The Golden Globes are no doubt the best-known of the pre-Oscars, but not necessarily the most respected. For respect, the top of the field is occupied, I think, by the National Society of Film Critics and the American Film Institute."

The full list of NSFC winners (with runners-up in parentheses):

Picture: "Capote" (runners-up: "A History of Violence," "2046")

Director: David Cronenberg, "A History of Violence" (Wong Kar-wai, "2046"; Bennett Miller, "Capote")

Screenplay: Noah Baumbach, "The Squid and the Whale" ("Capote," "Munich")

Cinematography: Christopher Doyle et al., "2046" ("Good Night, and Good Luck," "The New World")

Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote" (Jeff Daniels, "The Squid and the Whale"; Heath Ledger, "Brokeback Mountain")

Actress: Reese Witherspoon, "Walk the Line" (Keira Knightley, "Pride & Prejudice"; tie between Vera Farmiga, "Down to the Bone," and Kate Dollenmayer, "Funny Ha Ha")

Supporting Actor: Ed Harris, "A History of Violence" (Frank Langella, "Good Night, and Good Luck"; Matthieu Amalric, "Munich")

Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, "Junebug" (Ziyi Zhang, "2046"; Catherine Keener, "Capote")

Foreign Lanuage Film: "Head-On" ("Gegen die Wand") ("2046," "Cache")

Nonfiction flm: "Grizzly Man" ("Darwin's Nightmare," "Ballets russe")

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