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Wonder

You’ll shed a tear or two—especially if you’re a parent—and they’ll be totally earned.

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Mudbound

The film invites us to observe its characters, to hear their inner voices, to see what they see and to challenge our own preconceived notions…

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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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Here's an intriguing Credit Cookie idea for the end of 'Charlie Wilson's War'

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Q. You said the final image of "The Assassination of Jessie James" was a Credit Cookie of the last shot of "The Great Train Robbery," with the cowboy firing his gun at the audience. That gave me an idea for a post-credits final image for "Charlie Wilson's War." As the film implies at the end, the aid to Afghanistan had an eventual blow-back, helping fuel the creation of our enemy Al-Qaeda. How about an Afghan fighter firing rockets at Russian planes, then turning his weapon on the camera and firing right at the audience. Rhys Southan, Richardson, Texas

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Movie Answer Man (12/20/2007)

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Q. I am a devoted fan of Ian McEwan’s novel "Atonement," one of those books that raises your heartbeat and ignites conflicting emotions and thoughts like fireworks exploding in the sky. So many nights I returned to that book to amuse myself for several hours by just repeating the poetry of McEwan’s prose, its words melting over my tongue like butter.

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Movie Answer Man (12/13/2007)

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Q: The box-office returns for "The Golden Compass" last weekend were modest at best. The film is estimated to have cost more than $150 million and will have a hard time making its money back. The financial disappointment could be catastrophic for New Line Cinema. Not to mention the fact that any chance of an adaptation of The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass (rest of the trilogy) are now slim to nil. Since you gave the film a positive review, what is your opinion of the box-office returns?

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Scorsese does Hitchcock

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Q. My wife and I saw "Awake" with some friends the other night. I knew nothing about the movie, and wasn't thrilled when I heard it was a thriller with Jessica Alba. I figured it would be a typical superficial piece of garbage aimed at teenagers. I went anyway to be with my wife. I was very pleasantly surprised. I liked that the twists were delivered with subtlety, and I wasn't able to predict one of them.

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No country to be wrong about

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Q: I went to see "No Country for Old Men" with a group of my friends. I was absolutely fascinated and riveted by the film and think it is the best film I have seen thus far this year. My very good friend, who also happens to be a very smart guy, thought the film was terrible. I was shocked. Should I debate the merits of the film with him? Is it even worth debating such a wonderful film when the person you are debating with has no appreciation for it, and does it pose a risk to the friendship?

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Does Seinfeld know he is playing a b-girl?

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Q: One of the things that's been bugging my inner biology geek about "Bee Movie" is that Jerry Seinfeld is the wrong sex to be a worker bee. All worker bees are female, and they're the only ones who would ever have to worry about pollination, honey-making and all the other things the movie identifies as being general bee behavior. Last year, "Barnyard" made a similar mistake, by giving udders to male cows, and received widespread derision for it.

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Paradise regained? New evidence from Robin Hood Hills

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Q. I have enjoyed reading your views on the digital vs. film issue and was wondering if you had any update on how Dean Goodhill's "Maxivision 48" system has been coming along. Do you know of any directors who are actually considering using it for a feature production? I was sad to read in one of your articles that Eastman House is going digital as well, and lately director Sidney Lumet has mentioned that film is going to be gone within 50 years. I would love to hear if you have any updates about Maxivision 48.

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Michael Clayton and the case of the three horses

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Q: In response to the Answer Man item about the significance of the horses in the field of "Michael Clayton," the reason Clayton stopped at the horses and the tree was because this was a significant image in the red book his son had given him to read -- the book he couldn't find time for. The image of the tree and the horses gave Clayton reason to pause and ponder his son and his life, which ultimately saved him, since it removed him from the vehicle.

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