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Just Getting Started

Just Getting Started never really gets going. It only kept me thinking, “Is this ever just going to finish?”

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The Rape of Recy Taylor

A documentary with a great subject and powerful testimony, undone by its unnecessarily obtrusive style.

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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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'Deuce' doesn't score with readers

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Q. Did you really need to pick on Rob Schneider in your review of "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo"? RottenTomatoes.com shows that he scores a 10 out of 100 on the TomatoMeter, which is even lower than Steven Seagal. Why not just say that the movie sucked, as opposed to saying HIS movie sucked?

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Dialogue remains lost in translation

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Q. My favorite scene in "The Island" is when Ewan McGregor congratulates Scarlett Johansson on being chosen to go to the island. He then leans over and whispers to her, "I'm sorry I didn't get to know you better." This is an obvious allusion to "Lost in Translation," designed to inform us once and for all what Bill Murray whispered to her at the end of that movie. Abraham Leib, Bellevue, Wash.

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A role in a Wonka of its own

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Q. I keep hearing that Johnny Depp based his performance as Willy Wonka on Michael Jackson. I think everyone is looking through the wrong end of the telescope. It has seemed to me for years that Michael Jackson at some point decided, perhaps unconsciously, to become Willy Wonka. It should be no surprise then if Mr. Depp evokes the character Michael Jackson has become. Seth Derrick, Phoenix

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Attack of the alien robot tripods

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Q. You may be on the wrong track with your objection to the three-legged aliens in "War of the Worlds," when you write, "Three legs are inherently not stable." Amateur carpenters are advised to build three-legged stools rather than four-legged stools. Why? Because, even if the seat is not level, all three legs will be in contact with the surface.

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When darkness falls

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Q. I just saw "Batman Begins" and thought it was OK. There were children at the show, however, and I felt sorry for them because the movie contained nothing that might appeal to 8 years and younger. Why have filmmakers decided to ignore young audiences? Aren't comic books at heart really meant for children?

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The longest dialogue, and counting

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Q. I read your review of "The Longest Yard" very closely. While I found your thoughts stimulating and the evocation of your inner dilemma particularly provocative, I believe that you remain foolishly guarded and even a bit naive about your ultimate decision to award three stars to this clump of junk. Out of empathy for your plight of conscience, I had decided to let this matter rest. However, after reading the coverage of this review in the New York Times, I must respond.

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Issues for the (space) ages

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Q. How you can give the new "Star Wars" movie 3.5 stars when you write, "The dialogue throughout the movie is once again its weakest point: The characters talk in what sounds like Basic English, without color, wit or verbal delight, as if they were channeling Berlitz." Doesn't this make it a movie deserving no more than two stars? Just because a fabulously wealthy producer can afford the best in special effects, does that warrant a rating close to perfection?

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The 'Confederacy' conspiracy

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Q: I recently found out that David Gordon Green's film "A Confederacy of Dunces," with Will Ferrell and Drew Barrymore, has been canceled. Green is one of my favorite directors and I have high hopes for his career. What is the story behind the cancellation and what will this do to his career? Jonathan Warner, Evanston

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Anakin's fans strike back

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Q: I've been revisiting the original "Star Wars" trilogy in preparation for "Episode III." I was shocked to see at the end of "Return of the Jedi" the ethereal image of the older Anakin Skywalker replaced by Hayden Christensen's younger version. The change didn't make any sense, any more than if George Lucas had replaced Sir Alec Guinness with Ewan McGregor. I didn't mind all the other little tweaks, but this left me feeling cheated. More than that, don't you think it's disrespectful to Sebastian Shaw? Jimmy Jacobs, Columbia, S.C.

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