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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

This is a movie that’s annoying in part because it doesn’t care if you’re annoyed by it. It doesn’t need you, the individual viewer, to…

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A lazy, vulgar celebration of White Male American Dumbness.

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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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The Mystery of the 'Spontaneous Exchange'

It is an open secret that the "spontaneous exchanges" on talk shows are somewhat planned in advance. What has surprised me is how often the hosts depart entirely from the script. In many appearances on the Leno, Carson and Letterman programs, I would estimate that less than half of what happened was foreseen, and in some cases entire appearances were ad-libbed. The "pre-interview" is more like a safety net.

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'Hoop Dreams' Plays Drama Real Life

Some of the best reviews of the year are going to a three-hour documentary about a couple of inner-city Chicago kids who dream of becoming basketball stars in the NBA. "Hoop Dreams" (opening Friday), has come out of the Sundance, Toronto, New York and Chicago film festivals trailing clouds of glory, and critical praise that few fiction films are ever granted. Why are the critics so enthusiastic?

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Silence is golden to Ozu

TOKYO, Japan--People ask me who my favorite directors are, and I mention Hitchcock, Scorsese, Fellini, Welles and Ozu. They nod, but there is a slight pause, and I know they are considering whether to ask me: "Ozu?"

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Dim future for interactive film

"Interactive" is the kind of word I like to interact with by hitting the "delete" key on my computer. I'm asked at least twice a week about the future of "interactive movies," and I am sorry to disappoint, but the answer is: Interactive movies have no future. They're already over with, except as a buzzword often found in the same sentence with terms like "infobahn" and "information revolution."

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Hope Springs From 'Sirens'

Filmgoers should be cheered by the news that an Australian film named "Sirens" is doing strong business at the nation's box offices. It is loosely inspired by the life and times of a colorful painter named Norman Lindsay, who shocked his country in the 1930s with an unconventional lifestyle that included large numbers of beautiful women who were his models, muses and, occasionally, lovers.

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On movies and ratings

One of the first things I remember learning about the movies was that they were a Possible Occasion of Sin. That was in Catholic grade school, where we were advised to avoid such Occasions by carefully observing the Legion of Decency ratings printed every week in Our Sunday Visitor.

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A Critic's 'Critic' Critique

People have been asking me if I've seen "The Critic," ABC's new animated series. Maybe they think I can identify with the hero, a critic named Jay Sherman who reviews movies on television and has certain points of similarity with Gene Siskel and me: He's bald, and he has a Pulitzer.

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Shooting Gallery series

This is a good idea. For six weeks in 19 cities, including Chicago and Evanston, new independent and foreign films will be showcased in two-week runs. You can buy single tickets, or join a club that allows you to attend a preview followed by a discussion with local film critics. And there is a web site for additional discussion. http://movies.yahoo.com/sgfilmseries/index.html

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Susan Sarandon on 'The Buddy System'

LOS ANGELES - Wil Wheaton, a child actor who is 10 years old, sat on the edge of his chair and stirred his Coke with a straw. Susan Sarandon, an adult actor who had gotten up in the middle of the night with some kind of stomach flu, regarded him with a mixture of affection and nausea.

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