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War Story

Director Mark Jackson’s drama is a chilly study in grief starring Catherine Keener as a war-zone photographer shattered by her experiences in Libya.

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Hercules

Dwayne Johnson tries, but he’s surrounded by poor CGI and a terrible adaptation of yet another comic book. Ian McShane steals what little movie there…

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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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Sundance New Frontier: The Volcano

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"Eyjafjallalokull" is a stunning and moving video art installation that played at Sundance in the "New Frontier" art exhibition space. I visited the piece several times. Nicolas Boritch, director of the AntiVJ visual label and producer of "Eyjafjallalokull" ("The Volcano" for short) wants to put viewers in a space where "they just forget where they are and they forget about understanding anything because we want to leave a lot of space for the audience to create their own story or to find whatever they want to find."

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A comedy beyond time and space

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Paul Rudd walked by me on Main Street in Park City wearing reflective sunglasses so I couldn't see if his eyes could see that my eyes saw him and were staring. I knew it was him from the way he walked. I can recognize a gait a mile away. But I didn't know yet that "Prince Avalanche" was a masterpiece or I could've had a good conversation starter.

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Hot Tickets: "Lovelace" and "Before Midnight"

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Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's "Lovelace" tells the story of the eponymous porn star who stunned the world with her sexual talents in "Deep Throat" (1972), only to pay a dear price for her brief flash of celebrity. Linda Lovelace, as played by Amanda Seyfried, was a love-hungry, innocent young girl led astray by Chuck Traynor, a manipulative pimp of a husband, whose affection quickly turned into exploitation.

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Dancing the Sundance sadhu dance

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Why is it that the culture surrounding art is so far removed from the process of making that art? I suspect this week is hell for many filmmakers here. The world you have to exist in as a great artist (one that values the interior over the exterior, the spiritual over the corporeal) is directly opposed the world you have to exist in to get your movie made. I wonder how many other people here are wondering what's wrong with them. How many people are pretending they love partying in order to not feel like a weirdo.

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Disney magic: The terror of constant entertainment

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The Disney mystique is a secular religion so global, powerful and self-contained -- not to mention litigious -- that it practically courts desecration. Randy Moore's "Escape from Tomorrow," which just premiered at Sundance and is unlikely to come to a theater near you any time soon, is the boldest act of cinematic violation at least since the "Mickey Mouse Club" finale of Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" (in which scores of American soldiers in Vietnam adopted the show's anthem as a deranged battle cry).

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A couple too frail to last?

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At Sundance, going to the movies is a way of taking shelter from the surrounding snow and cold, and I find it amusing to see scores of cinephiles arguing about movies in their full winter attire. It's as if skiing wasn't enough: the real fun over here is to slide down the slopes of filmmakers' visions -- even if every now and then pain and bruises may result.

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Fresh cinematic air at 7,000 ft.

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Today at Sundance I wandered aimlessly around a supermarket picking up different cheeses and putting them back down. I can never decide on a brie.

Cheese-less I journeyed to a bustling main street (a very steep hill) where altitude-acclimated rich ladies breezed by me in furry hats and sunglasses. They were having a good time.

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Slippery Slopes in Park City

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At night, the ski slopes of Park City, Utah, are lit so beautifully they look like screens awaiting a projection from the sky. A moviegoer attending Sundance Film Festival couldn't wish for a better backdrop for a long trek home after the final movie of the day is over. Even if the film happened to be lousy, those huge mid-air patches of white seem to hint that the good stuff is yet to come.

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