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Transcendence

"Transcendence" is a serious science fiction movie filled with big ideas and powerful images, but it never quite coheres, and the end is a copout.

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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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On Jean-Luc Godard

The films of Jean-Luc Godard have fascinated and enraged moviegoers for a decade now. The simple fact is: This most brilliant of all modern directors is heartily disliked by a great many people who pay to see his movies.

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"2001" -- The Monolith and the Message

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Good parables explain themselves. After you have read the story of Lazarus in the Bible, you don't need anyone to explain it to you. The same is true, I believe, of Stanley Kubrick's parable "2001: A Space Odyssey." It contains the answers to all the questions it advances.

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African Queen Still Reigns

Holding forth about actors a few years ago, John Huston allowed as how there were good ones and bad ones, and then there were a few like splendid thoroughbreds: All you had to do was judge their gait and you could see they had class.

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Movies Revisit That Balcony in Verona

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Romeo and Juliet were upstairs asleep in the castle, and Franco Zeffirelli kept the night watch alone. He sat cross-legged on the old stone wall of the Palazzo Borghese and sipped brandy from a paper cup. Behind him, the wall fell 100 feet into the valley. Above him, the little town clung to the hillside, each house stacked above the last. And on the other side of the castle wall was the secret garden where the families of the Borghese had doubtless spent their afternoons 400 years ago.

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Violence to Lord of Flies

Ebert William Golding's "Lord of the Flies," a famous modern novel, concerns a group of British schoolboys who are marooned on an island and gradually become savages. Despite all the standards of decency and honor that have been hammered into them in school, they eventually grow capable of murder. That's what the book is about: how capable we are of violence despite all our talk of civilization.

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Luis Bunuel's No Exit Signs

To the surprise of all concerned, Luis Bunuel's "The Exterminating Angel" has turned into a modest hit at the Town Underground. This is an encouraging sign if Chicago is to develop another first-run outlet for good foreign films. The Town will hold "Angel" at least another week, possibly two, before opening Orson Welles' "Falstaff."

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"The Directors"

Andrew Sarris tells the story of a Sam Goldwyn press conference at which a reporter incautiously began: "When William Wyler made 'Wuthering Heights'..." Goldwyn interrupted angrily: "I made 'Wuthering Heights.' Wyler only directed it."

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