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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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Movie Answer Man (09/17/1995)

Q. I've seen commercials for the movies "Desperado" and "Lord of Illusions" quoting Quentin Tarantino as he praises the movies. Has it always been the practice to use popular filmmakers this way, or is it just because it's Quentin Tarantino? -- Sean Goodrich, Trophy Club, Texas

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Movie Answer Man (08/27/1995)

Q. I saw "Dangerous Minds," which was an OK movie, but could have been better. My question is, what happened to the scene where the students and teacher are playing pool? This scene is a major part of all of the previews and is still in some of the TV commercials. Why did they decide to cut that scene? -- David Becerra, San Diego

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Movie Answer Man (08/20/1995)

Q. Any idea why there isn't more media coverage of the tobacco industry's practice of paying to have stars -- particularly those appealing to teen-agers and preteen-agers as "adult role models" -- smoke onscreen? Seems to me this topic has been treated in a "hands off" fashion when it comes to reviews and coverage, as nobody wants to let out the dirty little secret of how all that money is moving around in the movie industry. From what I've heard among friends in the business, however, this is the most effective strategy the tobacco industry has undertaken in decades, and is largely responsible for the recent explosion in teen smoking. Your thoughts? -- Thom Hartmann, Marietta, Ga.

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Movie Answer Man (08/13/1995)

Q. Did you hear Dick Armey's remarks about the v-chip? He's afraid that kids will be able to hack into the Pentagon computers with it!! Can you imagine that these guys are legislating this technology that they know NOTHING about? -- Jill Cozzi, Fort Lee, N.J.

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Movie Answer Man (07/23/1995)

Q. Don't we pay enough to attend the movies? More and more theaters are showing TV commercials before the previews. I used to boo during theater commercials, but my wife threatened to divorce me if I continued. Moreover, the audience, unfortunately, did not join my boos as I had hoped. I complain to theater managers, but the decision to show ads seems to be out of their control. -- Larry Brown, Lincolnwood, Ill.

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Movie Answer Man (07/16/1995)

Q. I work at Mission Control for the shuttle program, and am impressed by the realism of "Apollo 13." That control center in the movie is dead-on. To me, the whole thing looked and felt real, which is the highest compliment I can give. There are some minor technical things that only insiders would know (Mattingly stands too close to the launch, the crane was facing the wrong way in the Vehicle Assembly Building, the paint scheme was a little off, the phases of the moon and the site shown on the moon were not correct), but those are just nit-picks. I'm glad the American public is going to see it in such numbers. -- Michael Grabois, Houston

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Movie Answer Man (07/09/1995)

Q. After viewing "Batman Forever," I immediately began speculation on what villain might appear in the fourth "Batman" installment. The traditional ones have all been used. Then I remembered that just after Robin escapes on his motorcycle, Batman comments, "he's probably halfway to Metropolis by now." That city is the residence of Superman! I think it would be interesting to see Batman meet Superman in a movie, perhaps as enemies. Then your question about which one would win in a fight would finally be resolved. Does Batman keep kryptonite in his utility belt? (Brian Moore, Hanover Park, Ill.)

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Movie Answer Man (07/02/1995)

Q. You mentioned that Stanley Kubrick always has a bathroom in his movies, and John Landis always uses the line "See you next Wednesday." What about Dan O'Bannon's chickens? O'Bannon started screenwriting in college with classmate John Carpenter. Their first full feature together was "Dark Star" in 1974. I haven't seen this film for myself, but I believe there is a scene in it which involves the world's crappiest joke--pulling a rubber chicken from a jacket and shaking it to make it look alive. Ever since then, Dan O'Bannon has incorporated a chicken into each of his film scripts. In "Alien" a chicken's membrane appeared on the monitor when John Hurt was being scanned. In "Blue Thunder" a missile takes out a fried chicken restaurant. In "Return of the Living Dead" the joke appeared on a billboard in the background. In "Total Recall" me and a couple of friends are pretty sure it appeared at the end of the film--the alien "handprint" on the atmosphere-creating machine being in reality a mold of a enlarged chicken's foot. (Graham Keith, Haslingden, England)

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