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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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"In history we'll all be dead." -- W.

"W." is the third in what could turn out to be Oliver Stone's five-part trilogy of movies containing pronounceable capital letters in the titles (after "JFK" and "U-Turn"), if you don't count "Natural Born Killers" and "World Trade Center," sometimes known as "NBK" and "WTC," respectively, in which case it may already be the fifth film in a proposed diptych about the tetralogy of power.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but the timing seems inopportune. Few public figures have faded into irrelevance more quickly in recent months than George W. Bush, whose popularity and name-recognition numbers are now running slightly behind Sanjaya, and I'm not sure I remember who that was.

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Oliver Stone: The XYZs of "W."

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Oliver Stone says he believes first lady Laura Bush, secretary of state Condoleeza Rice and presidential advisor Karen Hughes play like "a trinity of Macbeth witches" in the life of George W. Bush," in the sense that they are totally enablers." But Stone's new film "W." leaves that conclusion to the viewer. "The film foregrounds Bush, and everyone else is shown more or less as we already see them," he told me Wednesday in an e-mail exchange.

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