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Wormwood

A fascinating piece of filmmaking that challenges the form in new ways as it recalls themes its director has been interested in his entire career.

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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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Movie Answer Man (11/27/1994)

Q. We agree that Linda Fiorentino's work in "The Last Seduction" is one of the most amazing performances of the year. But since the movie played briefly on cable, does that mean she is not eligible for an Academy Award nomination? (Harris and Petronella Allsworth, Chicago)

A. I'm afraid that's exactly what it means. The movie played on HBO before being "rediscovered" in England and winning a theatrical release in the U.S. Too bad, since no other female performance in 1994 is likely to be quite as memorable.

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Q. For the past few weeks I've been dating a woman who is smart, kind, attractive, and genuinely fun to be with...BUT WHO TALKS LOUDLY IN MOVIE THEATERS. Must I throw away this fine, fine woman because of her one (albeit serious) social shortcoming? I have, unfortunately determined that she's beyond rehabilitation. Quiet "sshhh!"s lead only to her talking just as loudly, but right into my ear. (Andy Ihnatko, Westwood, MA)

A. Try this. Obtain a joy buzzer. Hold her hand loosely. Every time she talks during a movie, squeeze it. Let me know how it works.

Q. I read that whenever Quentin Tarantino is getting interested in some woman, he shows her "Rio Bravo" and "she better like it." My own particular litmus tests for prospective Significant Others isn't a film, but a format. If she tells me she prefers colorization to the original black and white, I tell her to close the door from the outside. (Michael Zey, Austin, Texas)

A. An excellent early-warning strategy, because anyone who prefers colorization to the original black and white is eventually going to reveal serious character flaws in a number of other areas.

Q. My wife and I were watching "The Grifters" on laserdisc last night and about ten minutes into it she remarked that it would have been much better had it been filmed in black and white. No problem, I said, and promptly turned the color off. She was right! Suddenly the atmosphere of the Jim Thompson book seemed to pop out more. We both found it greatly more enjoyable. We started rattling off a list of recent movies that would benefit from this goofy trick. (Chris Yaryan)

A. In theory I am against tampering with the original color format of a film (see above). But it's strange how adding color to a b&w movie destroys it, while viewing a color movie in b&w often seems to enhance it. This fits into my general theory that b&w is more dreamlike and mysterious, and color is more realistic.

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