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

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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 (11/01/1994)

Q. The casting of the original "Gone With the Wind" created a world-wide frenzy among movie fans. Who should star in "Scarlett," the TV miniseries? A. I hope they choose a real actress, and not one of the transparent TV beauties with a high Q rating. True, most of the top movie actresses refuse to work in TV, but given the high profile of this project and the $8 million already paid for the rights, this should be the sort of project designed to change their minds.

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Movie Answer Man (08/01/1994)

Q. After seeing "Forrest Gump," I got into a big argument with my friend Sarah about how they made Gary Sinise's legs disappear. She claimed he just tucked them under, but I contend that if you are going to involve special effects wizards extensively in a film, they are going to be more hi-tech. Which one of us is right? (Lydia Smith, Winnetka)

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Movie Answer Man (06/01/1994)

Q. I felt compelled to write after reading your glowing praise for the movie "Speed." I am all for checking my brain at the box office, but there is a limit to how much unbelievability I can accept. 1) No bus can make such turns at high speeds. 2) Does LAX have the longest runways in the history of airports? They must, because the bus never had to make a turn while Keanu Reeves was trailing underneath by a thin wire. 3) Why could Keanu accelerate the train, but not decelerate it? Doesn't every car on a subway have emergency brakes? 4) If the bomb were attached to the front wheels of the bus, wouldn't it have exploded as the bus was flying through the air? After all, the front wheels only move when the back wheels are propelling the bus. 5) No bus, and I mean no bus, could make that jump! (Peter Kahl)

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Movie Answer Man (01/01/1994)

Q. This year several actors seem to be potential Oscar nominees for more than one film, including Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day-Lewis, Debra Winger, Tommy Lee Jones, Denzel Washington, Clint Eastwood and Emma Thompson. What happens if they split their votes between two movies? For example, could Hopkins get enough total votes for "Shadowlands" and "The Remains Of The Day" to be nominated, but get shut out because they are divided? (Ronnie Barzell, Chicago)

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Movie Answer Man (11/01/1993)

Q. My wife and I went to see "The Beverly Hillbillies" and, while I'm no expert on special effects, it seemed that the scene in which Dolly Parton entertains at the Clampett's party was strung together using a blue-screen technique, and that Parton was not really there for most of it. Am I right? (Ted Bridis, Tulsa, OK)

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Movie Answer Man (10/01/1993)

Q. In "Scent of a Woman," toward the end the musical score picks up Charlie Chaplin's hauntingly beautiful melody from "City Lights." Since both movies deal with blindness, it seemed significant, yet I saw no mention of "City Lights" or Chaplin in the credits. (Barry G. Silverman, Phoenix, AZ)

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Movie Answer Man (08/01/1993)

Q. There was a lot of publicity when a helicopter crashed into an active volcano in the Hawaiian islands while filming for the movie "Sliver." The cameraman and crew were saved only after much danger. When I went to see the movie, there were no shots of a volcano in it. What happened? -- Ronnie Barzell (Chicago)

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Movie Answer Man (07/01/1993)

Q. The first question this month is from the Movie Answer Man. In my review of "Jurassic Park," I mentioned that some of the dialog was hard for me to understand, and wondered if the newfangled digital sound system was to blame. Do Hollywood's techheads get so carried away with the surround sound and special effects that they drown out the words of the actors? I posted a query on CompuServe, asking if others had problems hearing the words, and got a lot of feedback, boiled down here:

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Movie Answer Man (05/01/1993)

Q. The premise of "Indecent Proposal" might not actually be as outlandish as it sounds. The next time you see Elizabeth Taylor, give her a jolt by suddenly and unexpectedly asking her about the time FRANK SINATRA offered to pay her a MILLION DOLLARS for a single night's roll in the hay. -- Hank Cleary, White Plains, N.Y.

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