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Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…

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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 toys that ate Hollywood

Will any child's toy escape being blockbustered?

With "Transformers" passing the $300 million mark at the U.S. box office, Hollywood studios are lathering to snatch up the rights to anything that a child might once have loved.

The same screenwriters who were paid $8 million to write "Transformers" have now been signed by DreamWorks for an undisclosed sum to produce a movie version of Asteroids, an old video arcade game that features triangles trying to shoot at circular objects. DreamWorks promises it will be family-friendly.

The Hollywood Reporter also says DreamWorks is in talks with Mattel for the rights to Fisher-Price's ViewMaster, the 3-D viewer kids used for 3-D still shots of superheroes. Their fathers were rumored to have found 3-D shots of alternative subjects. The studio is hoping to get the $8 million men on board for this project.

The possibilities are endless.

Slap Yo Paddle! Two races of space aliens, the Yo-Yos and Paddle Balls, engage in a thrilling 3-D battle over the heads of the audience. Shia LeBeouf and John Turturro use their mastery of the extraterrestrial skills to fight for the attention of Megan Fox.

Li'l Orphan Annie! An interactive film. Audience members are issued headsets and Secret Decoder Rings. Daddy Warbucks has kidnapped the heroine, and audience members use secret messages received from Annie to try to save her. Annie has sent them all the same message, and the orphan is in danger of exploding from drinking too much Ovaltine. After her plight is revealed, it is up to each audience member to decide whether to continue feeding her.

Pac-Man the Predator! Pac-Man, a voracious mutant microbe, nibbles at the screen. When it is all ate up, the movie is over. With deleted scenes of the microbe getting sick to its stomach.

Gotcha! At a suburban high school, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton fight each other in the lunch room using water balloons. Both are wearing thin T-shirts and get drenched. No nudity.

Explode Me Elmo! Elmo (Seth Rogen) is a bright red space alien. Humans discover that when they tickle him once, he chortles. Twice, and he laughs aloud. Three times, and he explodes and destroys Earth.

Spud Guns from Space! Aliens from Space land and find Earth potatoes are unsatisfactory. They fire helpless humans at each other.

Marbles! Secret of the Universe! Nicolas Cage plays an astrophysicist at MIT who intercepts the feed from the Hubble Space Telescope and determines that the stars in the sky are in fact giant, brilliantly-glowing marbles. Enhancing the digital information, he discovers a giant thumb and forefinger in the abyss beyond space. They hold an aggie.

Pounders! Giant tool-using aliens from outer space enslave humans, cruelly force them into square, circular and triangular shapes, and pound them into an intergalactic workbench.

Sandbox! The Movie! Giant red, yellow and green plastic buckets, shovels and scoops attack from outer space, dig up the Earth's topsoil, and throw it all over the place.

Toy Story. The neglected toys of a fickle child come to life and -- sorry, only kidding.

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