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Lucy

Scarlett Johansson is an intriguing blank in Luc Besson's "Lucy," which is stranded somewhere between a stranger-in-a-strange-land action thriller and apocalyptic science fiction.

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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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Thumbnails 4/30/14

1.

Walt Hickey at FiveThirtyEight explains which states are actually in the Midwest.
"Here’s a somewhat regular argument I get in: Which states make up which regions of the United States? Some of these regions — the West Coast, Mountain States, Southwest and Northeast are pretty clearly defined — but two other regions, the South and the Midwest, are more nebulous."

2.

"The Wooster's Group Rumstick Road Roars Back, Ephemeral But For All Time": Calum Marsh at The Village Voice is in search of lost art, including a video reconstruction of Elizabeth LeCompte and Spalding Gray project.

"When an aspirant student of literature sets about learning the canon, the masterworks will be waiting. Indeed, they're always there, resting on library shelves across America. Young film scholars needn't travel very far to enjoy the classics of their medium, either, now that almost any opus can be downloaded at high speed and in high definition. Only the theater denies its disciples this luxury. You can't simply buy, rent, pirate, or otherwise track down Jerzy Grotowski's Orpheusas it was performed in 1959, nor the Manhattan Project's Alice in Wonderland as it was mounted in 1970. The enthusiast is only afforded the compromise of ancillary evidence: scripts, production notes, a handful of firsthand accounts and reviews. Great performances are by nature impermanent. When it comes to the masterpieces of the theater, we have to take history's word for it."

3.

"NBA Bans Clippers Owner Sterling, Pushes to 'Force a Sale' of Team": Greg Botelho, Matt Smith, and Ashley Fantz of CNN reports on the latest racist matter in this country. Related: "Exclusive: The Extended Donald Sterling Tape" by Kyle Wagner at Deadspin.  

"The NBA's commissioner came down hard Tuesday on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, ordering him out of his team's business and pushing to force him to sell over racist remarks that caused a firestorm since becoming public days ago."

4.

"When Men Are Raped": Hanna Rosin at Slate reports on a new study that reveals that men are often victims of sexual assault.

"Last year the National Crime Victimization Survey turned up a remarkable statistic. In asking 40,000 households about rape and sexual violence, the survey uncovered that 38 percent of incidents were against men. The number seemed so high that it prompted researcher Lara Stemple to call the Bureau of Justice Statistics to see if it maybe it had made a mistake, or changed its terminology. After all, in years past men had accounted for somewhere between 5 and 14 percent of rape and sexual violence victims. But no, it wasn’t a mistake, officials told her, although they couldn’t explain the rise beyond guessing that maybe it had something to do with the publicity surrounding former football coach Jerry Sandusky and the Penn State sex abuse scandal."

5.

"Advice to Critics, Young and Otherwise": After our piece by Matt Zoller Seitz went online, Sam Adams at CriticWire offered some more advice to critics.

"'How do you get to be a critic?' It's a question anyone who writes about any art form gets from time to time. At RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz has 10 pieces of 'Advice to young critics,' focused more on being a good critic than being a successful one. (For every critic, there's a different story about how to get into the industry, and since the industry today is not what it will be tomorrow, the only real answer is to keep throwing stuff out until something sticks.)"

Image of the Day

Movie Mom and RogerEbert.com contributor Nell Minow runs her own publishing company called Miniver Press. Read more about it here.


Video of the Day

A video essay by RogerEbert.com contributor Kevin B. Lee on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with some thoughts by Matt Zoller Seitz.

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