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Focus

Like Ficarra and Requa’s 2011 comedy Crazy Stupid Love, Focus begins promisingly and bops along enjoyably for a while, only to run out of steam…

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Maps to the Stars

David Cronenberg's film of Bruce Wagner's Hollywood satire-nightmare turns ludicrous situations into operatic tragedy.

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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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Go, Manohla, go!

Ah, this is so refreshing. New York Times critic Manohla Dargis -- one of my favorites, as you know -- talks to Jezebel.com about women in Hollywood -- and doesn't hold back. (Compare and contrast with the arguments over Publishers Weekly's Top 10 books.) Just a few highlights:

>>"I am an equal opportunity critic. I will pan women as hard as men. I've had testy people imply that I should go easier on women's movies. I find that incredibly insulting. Are you kidding me? I don't want to be graded on a curve. None of us want to be a 'good woman writer.'

"I don't want to be the woman critic. I don't want to be the feminist critic. I don't want to be the shrew. What I want to do is talk about the art that I love and point out, every so often, inequities....It's a weird balancing act and I'm not saying there aren't contradictions."

>>"The only thing Hollywood is interested in money, and after that prestige. That's why they'll be interested in something like 'The Hurt Locker.' [Kathryn Bigelow's] done so well critically that she can't be ignored.

"Let's acknowledge that the Oscars are bullshit and we hate them. But they are important commercially... I've learned to never underestimate the academy's bad taste. 'Crash' as best picture? What the fuck."

>> "This business is really about clubby relationships. If you buy Variety or go online and look at the deals, you see one guy after another smiling in a baseball cap. It's all guys making deals with other guys. I had a female studio chief a couple of years ago tell me point blank that she wasn't hiring a woman to do an action movie because women are good at certain things and not others. If you have women buying that bullshit how can we expect men to be better?"

>> "I personally don't think either of them [Nancy Meyers or Nora Ephron] is a good filmmaker -- they make movies for me that are more emotionally satisfying but with barely any aesthetic value at all. I really like "Something's Gotta Give," but I don't think it's a good movie.... I'm of two minds. Sometimes I think that women should do what various black and gay audiences have done, which is support women making movies for women. So does that mean I have to go support Nora Ephron? Fuck no. That's just like, blech."

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