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Office Christmas Party

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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Moments Out of Time 2009

Once again, Richard T. Jameson and Kathleen Murphy transform the year's movies into poetry -- and poetic criticism -- at MSN Movies: Moments Out of Time 2009. A few excerpted stanzas:

• Middle Atlantic States summer heat and humidity visible in the air, the color, the softness -- "Taking Woodstock"...

• "Public Enemies": the thrill of seeing a piece of "Manhattan Melodrama" big as a movie-palace wall, with the luster of the brand-new. Worth dying for...

• "The Hurt Locker": rust and scale popping off a derelict car when an IED explodes nearby...

• What spaces and places look like after people leave them: a man hikes up a snow-covered hill, then simply disappears from sight -- and the movie that is "Liverpool"...

• In "Limits of Control," Tilda Swinton's platinum-blonde-wigged femme fatale reminding us that "The Lady from Shanghai" made no sense either...

• "35 Shots of Rum": kids with Japanese lanterns among the dune grass at sunset...

• "A Serious Man": the traffic accident that doesn't happen. But does....

• The terrible uncertainty of what lies on the road behind her, as "The Headless Woman" drives on after having hit something...

• Old people disappearing up flights of stone steps in "Summer Hours" and "Still Walking"...

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