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The Student

A serious, sharply mounted drama that gets more engrossing as it moves along.

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Free Fire

A "Reservoir Dogs" knockoff 25 years after "Reservoir Dogs."

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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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"The American" was taut and very good, but then...

From Ken Holmes:

Roger, I appreciated your review. I know what you wrote about the wrong person saying, "my butterfly"; I noted it when it happened but I lost it almost immediately. Still, it reminded me of the silent, momentary close up of the tattooed arm in "Harold and Maude." I notice "The Conversation" mentioned on your site with relation to DVD's. I thought of that movie as I watched "The American" and I thought of "Sonatine"; they are not the same but I was reminded of them. Of "The American" I say, it was taut, it was very good, it was going somewhere and then it had a stroke or something (or maybe I did).

I know we always suspend something to get into the story, but the complete lack of law enforcement was notable.

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