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Life struck me as several cuts above “meh” but never made me jump out of my seat.

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Trashy, goofy, and surprisingly sincere, this superhero fantasy is better than you expect but not as good as it should be.

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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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George Lucas: Low-Budget Eye-Candy

LOW BUDGET EYE CANDY #1 from Steven Boone on Vimeo.

Yes, there was a time when it seemed George Lucas might become more of a director than an entrepreneur. Steven Boone of Big Media Vandalism analyzes one neck-snapping action sequence from Lucas's first (and most adult) feature, 1971's "THX-1138," in this terrific video essay, hosted at Vinyl Is Heavy. "Low-Budget Eye-Candy" showcases a precise but unfussy directorial style that grasps "the subtleties of true film craft... and the power of its simplest tools." Here's evidence that a pursuit sequence (OK, a car chase) doesn't have to cost loads of money, or resort to frenetic cutting and camera placement, to create excitement. Writes Boone: "Post 1970's, post-MTV, post-AVID, post-Internet, post-DVD, this is what mainstream American cinema has lost."

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