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It’s not exactly “good,” per se, but it does what it sets out to do in terms of putting us on edge, which makes it…

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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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Listening to language: Our dumb media

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First off, I agree with Angus T. Jones -- well, about one thing, at least. The child actor of whose existence I hadn't been aware until a few days ago said on digital video that he was employed on a lousy sitcom that was basically "filth." Who's going to argue? Really, is he wrong? Have you ever seen Two and a Half Men? (I admit I've only witnessed bits and pieces, but that was enough to get the tenor of the show. And I knew there was a "half" involved -- the title tells me so -- but I didn't know Jones was it.) So, the young man says this:

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