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John Wick

The film breathes exhilarating life into its tired premise, thanks to some dazzling action choreography, stylish visuals and–most importantly–a vintage anti-hero performance from Keanu Reeves.

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Low Down

Preiss' movie does a consistently excellent job of explaining the lure of jazz, and the psychology of addicts, their enablers and their children, without explaining…

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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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Roger Ebert on the critics of criticism

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"It is not enough to like a film. One must like it for the right reasons." -- Pierre Rissient

This is entirely coincidental, so consider it a fortuitous double-bill. Just as I posted the item below ("The sins of the critic"), Roger Ebert posted a blog essay on the subject: "'Critic' is a four-letter word." Here's a taste:

Too many simply absorb. They are depositories for input. They can hardly be expected to be critical of their own tastes, can they? Of course they can. It is not enough simply to be a "Cubs fan," although I confess I am one. It is necessary to feel the philosophy, the history, and even the poetry about the activity called "baseball." It is helpful to step outside a little, and see that sports teams are surrogates for our own desires to conquer, and expressions of our xenophobia. For some, they are even the best way ever invented to drink beer outdoors. If you are only a Cubs fan, you are a willing automaton in a business venture. Join me in being a Cubs fan, but know why you do it. What is my most fundamental reason? I am a fan because they are always the underdogs. That may be why I bought a Studebaker 30 years after the company went out of business.

Read the entire piece here.

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