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Winter Sleep

The running time of his new picture Winter Sleep, three hours and change, suggests weight, but at it happens, this movie struck me as both…

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Mr. Turner

Filmmaker Mike Leigh's biography of the landscape painter J.M.W. Turner is what critics call "austere"—which means it's slow and grim and deliberately hard to love—yet…

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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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I knew I'd seen this movie before!

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Bolted upright out of a sound sleep at 2:30 this morning with the realization that both the gals haunting my nightmares had been played by Laura Dern in two different movies! Laura Dern as Reality TV's own Katherine Harris, the ambitious, over-coiffured local politician thrust opportunistically into the international media spotlight by the Republican party, in "Recount" (2008). And Laura Dern as the clueless unwed pregnant teenager girl manipulated by pro-choice lefties and anti-abortion Christians -- cynically spun as an agenda-defining "symbol" by all sides -- in "Citizen Ruth," directed by Alexander Payne ("Election," "Sideways," "About Schmidt"). I recommend both these movies ("Citizen Ruth" especially) as primers for understanding what's going on right now.

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