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Freeheld stumbles over too many hurdles to recommend it. The film’s heart is in the right place, but its focus is not.



Cassel’s latest movie that smartly keeps his innate menace on a slow, low simmer, isn’t nearly as convincing or compelling as its star.

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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…


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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'Good Night' and good grief!

From: Paul J. Marasa, Galesburg, IL

I just read your Answer Man comments to the would-be reviewer who asked how much of one's politics should enter a review. Your answer is fine; what troubles me is how objective you were. The writer, James Frazer, described himself as a "somewhat politically conservative man" who "hated the film because [he] thought it was smugly left-wing and pompous in the extreme." "Good Night, and Good Luck" was "left-wing" to an "extreme"? Is there anybody left in America who remembers when one didn't have to be a "liberal" to think Joe McCarthy was a venal thug?

Are we so polarized, and so convinced that our values are under siege, that we duck-and-cover with aggressive either-or, for-against absolutes? If recognizing that the McCarthy era was a national embarrassment makes one "left-wing," then "left-wing" must mean "objective."

Elvis Costello was once able to sing, "I used to be disgusted, and now I try to be amused." I wish I could manage the latter.

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