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The Circle

A high tech thriller with plenty of tech and not enough thrills.

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Rodney King

This record of Roger Gueneveur Smith's one-man show is a film of provocations.

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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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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."

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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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