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Bombshell

Bombshell is both light on its feet and a punch in the gut.

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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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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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Cinematic Bests

Place to sit: Sit twice as far back as the screen is wide. Try to choose the side of the theater farthest from the main entrance door; more people will choose the other side, lessening your chance of having someone sit in front of you.

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'The Piano' Plays On the Inner Voice

Jane Campion's wonderous film "The Piano" arrived at this year's Cannes Film Festival so already wreathed in glory that another director, Abel Ferrara, groused: "They might as well have met her at the airport and given her the prize, and let it go at that."

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Danson's Racist 'Humor' Appalls Crowd at Roast

NEW YORK It's a tradition of the celebrity roasts at the Friar's Club that everything goes - that no joke is in such bad taste that it cannot be told. Friday, that tradition may have ended, as a roast for Whoopi Goldberg turned into such a tasteless display that some audience members hid their faces in their hands, and others left.

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