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The Martian

The most surprising thing about "The Martian" is how relaxed and funny it is.



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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The worst title of all time

From Andy Ihnatko, Boston, Mass.:

Reading your review of "The Marc Pease Experience" (re: "I can't think of many titles that are worse") the current record-holder for titular awfulness (as certified by an IEEE board) is "Skrull Kill Krew."

Just let that roll around for a minute.

"Skrull Kill Krew."

It was a pretty lousy comic book miniseries published by Marvel ten years ago. The story is forgettable (it's about a crew -- sorry, a "krew" -- of superpowered people who kill members of a shapeshifting alien race known as Skrulls) but the title has always stuck in my mind as the worst that will ever be achieved in the field of Titles Of Things. The writer or editor who came up with "Skrull Kill Krew" is capable of putting carrots in a clam chowder.

A harsh thing to say, I know. But I'm willing to defend that comment.

The best title is clearly "My Lead Dog Was A Lesbian." This was a nonfiction book about an Alaskan journalist's attempt to train for and race in the Iditarod. I'm certain that there have been titles as good as this ("The Great Sermon Handicap," "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas") but none better, is the point. I bought it based on the title alone.

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