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Stray Dogs

Tsai Ming-Liang's first feature in five years is a mysterious and alienating series of tableaus about the fragility of flesh and the smallness of humanity.

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The Skeleton Twins

This movie asks a lot of Wiig and Hader. It asks them to navigate territory that’s both funny and dramatic, light and raw, goofy and…

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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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Stray Dogs

Tsai Ming-Liang's first feature in five years is a mysterious and alienating series of tableaus about the fragility of flesh and the smallness of humanity.

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Moments Out of Time 2012

Here's what you've been waiting for: Richard T. Jameson and Kathleen Murphy present their annual "Moments Out of Time" ("Images, lines, gestures, moods from the year's films") at MSN Movies. It's kind of like film criticism as haiku. But, you know, without haiku rules. They're short poems.

From RTJ's intro at his online movie magazine, Straight Shooting:

Kathleen Murphy and I first threw together a "Moments out of Time" feature for the year 1971. I'd had a brief go at it in 1969 for Seattle's premier counterculture rag The Helix, and pretty perfunctory it was--only a dozen or so films referred to, in lines like "The terrible beauty of The Wild Bunch...." The 1971 tribute ran to several pages of the first 1972 issue of Movietone News, the Seattle Film Society newsletter that, just about that time, turned the evolutionary corner en route to becoming a legitimate film journal. As for "Moments out of Time," it continued, and grew, each year through the decade MTN was published. Subsequently it appeared when and where opportunity presented--including one year in the early 2000s when our host was the spiffy German film mag Steadycam. For the past half-dozen years we've been graciously showcased by the Movies section at MSN.com, where editor Dave McCoy has patiently accommodated us as we (all right, I) send one e-mail after another, tweaking words and punctuation to get the lines to bump in the right place.

A dozen of my favorites:

-- "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy": Control (John Hurt), aced out of MI6 after the disaster in Budapest, announces, "Smiley is coming with me." Smiley (Gary Oldman), his back to the camera, tilts his head a millimeter -- surprise? acceptance? both?...

-- Upside-down shadows of kids at play on gray asphalt, swinging from the top of the frame in "The Tree of Life"...

-- "Midnight in Paris": the evolution of the expression on Gil (Owen Wilson) -- F. Scott Fitzgerald has just introduced him to Ernest Hemingway -- from gobsmacked to go-with-the-flow delight...

-- A drop of perspiration falling onto a café tabletop, fatally fracturing the fourth wall of a Hungarian "play" in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"...

-- A shower of green leaves along a tree-lined residential street: something simian this way comes in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."...

-- A black horse sinks down in slow motion, as though curtsying to oblivion -- "Melancholia"...

-- In "The Descendants," Matt's quiet "Don't ever do that again" after his daughter's boyfriend (Nick Krause) embraces him...

-- "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy": Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), making a clean getaway after his incursion into the bowels of the Circus, passes Roy Bland (Ciarán Hinds) on the stairs and confirms from the tune he's whistling that Peter's phonecall moments before was monitored. As expected...

-- Jung and his former patient discuss their "Dangerous Method" on a park bench by a sunlit lake, Sabina's perfect little white hat like a lid on crazy...

-- Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt) awestruck -- "Take that, liver!" -- as he watches Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) belt down shots, in "Young Adult"...

-- "Moneyball": Pete (Jonah Hill), marveling at Billy working the phones, catches the fever at last, makes a fist of triumph in midair, then wonders whether he did it right....

-- After horrific gunplay in "Drive": Ryan Gosling's blood-splattered, shell-shocked face leans into an open door for a count of 10, then slowly, very slowly, slips out of frame....

Read 'em all...

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