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The Zookeeper's Wife

Has many lovely and moving moments but fails to capture the many layers of this unique story, relying instead on plainly-stated metaphors.

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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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Nightmare on Wall Street 2: Enron's Revenge

When I first tried to understand what the whole financial meltdown was about, it sounded to me like some kind of perpetual motion machine -- a black box that reversed the first law of thermodynamics ("econo-dynamics"?) to produce energy from nothing, or money from debt. Turns out the principles behind the "financial instruments" that caused the collapse were indeed crafted in part by physicists and mathematicians who designed complex formulas that defied real-world understanding, but that appeared to guarantee profits out of nothing.

Here's my quick take on the smoke-and-mirrors magic-of-the-marketplace that deregulation made possible at the turn of the last century (y'all remember Enron) and how it's manifesting itself in today's financial crises -- using clips from CBS's "60 Minutes" report, "Wall Street's Shadow Market", (10/6/08) and Alex Gibney's documentary, "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" (2005).

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