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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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* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.

Before "Airplane!" there were the Airport movies

May contain spoilers

There's nothing quite like the movies if you want to learn what people's hopes and dreams were during the period in which they were made. Take for instance the recent "Up in the Air". In the present when air travel has turned into something to be endured, George Clooney's Ryan Bingham showed us how it can become an enticing way of life. The same subject was also portrayed extensively, under a very different light, some forty years as the "Airport" movies dealt with our fears of dying in new and horrible ways, while glamorizing our dreams of flying first-class, surrounded by a movie star in every seat. As the trailer for one of these features once put it: "on board, a collection of the rich and the beautiful!" They also marked the advent of a new genre (the Disaster Film) as well as the "Ark movie" which Ebert's Little Movie Glossary defines as "mixed bag of characters trapped in a colorful mode of transportation". How many films can claim to this kind of impact?

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Does IMDb's top 250 films list Have a long-term memory gap?

Q. Thank you for your heads-up regarding Rod Lurie's "Nothing But the Truth," but I have to cringe in anticipation of Kate Beckinsale's character. If she is indeed meant to be [New York Times reporter] Judith Miller, I dearly hope she is not portrayed as some saintly, sympathetic figure. The real Miller carried so much water for Bush's attack on Iraq that some of us may never forgive her. I hope her role in the rush to war is not forgotten in the examination she may get from this movie.

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Starry, starry nonsense

Q. How can you be so dead-on correct about 99 percent of the movies you review, but be 100 percent off about a piece of crap like "Marley and Me"? Boring material, terrible script and totally misleading advertisement -- worse than a Lifetime cable movie! We took our 5-year-old to what was supposed to be a fun family movie about a dog, not a slice of life from a totally uninteresting family. I won best jazz guitarist in all the major guitar magazines for two years in a row. I'm not perfect and neither are you, but I've never made a piece of music that's as horrible and dead wrong as your review.

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The Mann and his movies

Michael Mann is one of those select American directors who has become a brand name -- not by marketing himself, but by making movies so distinctive and with such visual fluency that they are immediately identifiable as Michael Mann films. With the release of the darker-toned feature film version of his candy-colored 1980s television series "Miami Vice," we look back at what Roger Ebert has written about Mann and his movies over the years.

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