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It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.

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"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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The Social Network: A short film that's also a trailer

Normally I don't like to watch trailers because they have come to consist of all the high points of the movie condensed into a big spoiler package. I don't recommend watching them for anything you might want to have the opportunity to discover for yourself. But this one (shown before "Inception" this weekend) is more than just a collection of clips from David Fincher's "The Social Network," about the founding of Facebook. The use of a choir singing Radiohead's "Creep" over images from Facebook pages is inspired: an angst-ridden, self-loathing (but aspirational) song about a self-described "creep" yearning to be accepted.* All of us tailor our identities for particular audiences (it's called "living"), and in its first 30 seconds or so this mini-movie encapsulates something poignant (and, perhaps, somewhat sinister) about that process in the era of the online "social network."

Also, instead of telling you the whole story of the feature film (much of which is already well-known Internet history), these two and a half minutes pack more emotion -- related to friendship (in several senses of the word), ambition, success, betrayal, rejection, revenge -- than most features. Rather than simply condensing the juiciest bits into a quick sales pitch, it poetically (and cinematically) suggests what the movie might be... something that combines an entrepreneurial success story with a legal drama and a portrait of a (sociopathic?) misfit who achieves... what? You'll have to see the movie to find that out.

I don't care if it hurts I want to have control I want a perfect body I want a perfect soul I want you to notice when I'm not around You're so fucking special I wish I was special But I'm a creep I'm a weirdo What the hell am I'm doing here? I don't belong here

* I can imagine this beginning with the "You Can't Always Get What You Want" choir, but that's already been done so many times since "The Big Chill."

P.S. The line I wasn't quite sure I heard correctly is, apparently: "If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you'd have invented Facebook."

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