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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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Most obscure film reference of all time?

From Scott Collette, Los Angeles CA:

I am a huge fan of "South Park." Recently they had a trilogy of episodes called the Imaginationland trilogy. Now I'm used to seeing clever and smart film references in "South Park" episodes... but this is one I never would have expected. There is a character who ushers the children into the Imaginationland. His name is Mr. Imagination and he takes them there by singing a song with no rhythm or pattern called "The Imagination Song."

You may view it here:

I thought that this was just something they made up... some clever character concocted from Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

I was wrong.

Two nights ago, I watched the 134 minute version of John Cassavetes' "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie" for the first time. The film has a stage character named Mr. Sophistication who wears a top hat and has a mustache drawn on to him. I would never have noticed the physical resemblance that Mr. Imagination bore to Mr. Sophistication had Mr. Sophistication not started singing a song... the Imagination song... with no instruments and no consistency.

This has to be one of the smartest and most obscure film references of all time.

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