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The Student

A serious, sharply mounted drama that gets more engrossing as it moves along.

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Free Fire

A "Reservoir Dogs" knockoff 25 years after "Reservoir Dogs."

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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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Thank you, James Cameron...

... for confirming a few details in Entertainment Weekly: about CGI techniques (and your intentions) that I noticed when I saw "Avatar." James Cameron, I see you:

"[Bob Zemeckis ("Polar Express," "Disney's A Christmas Carol"] essentially is making animated films using an actor-driven process. His visual choice on 'Beowulf' didn't require photo-realism. 'Avatar' is a different kettle of fish. We were intercutting live-action footage with CG footage, so our CG had to be interchangeable with photography."

* * * *

There's a rumor going around that some of the humans in "Avatar" are CGI creations. Any truth to that?

''There are a number of shots of CGI humans,'' James Cameron says. ''The shots of [Stephen Lang] in an AMP suit, for instance -- those are completely CG. But there's a threshold of proximity to the camera that we didn't feel comfortable going beyond. We didn't get too close.''

* * * *

What's the difference between normal 3-D and RealD 3-D? And is it better to see it in one format over another?

''The differences with the types of 3-D are just the mechanics of how it gets up on the screen,'' producer Jon Landau explains. ''There's really not much difference visually, except in the type of eyeglasses you're wearing.''

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