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Like listening to someone else tell you about their dream.

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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 People vs. George Lucas

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A documentary called "The People vs. George Lucas" gives disgruntled, hard-core, "Star Wars" a chance to vent on the decisions George Lucas has made over the last several years, regarding the alterations to his beloved original trilogy as well as the overall outcome of that series' prequels. It may be safe to say that these fans' gargantuan expectations were not fully met.

I have to wonder if such expectations were realistic to begin with, I also ask myself if it was the world we live in today that drastically changed the rules of the game for the release of the maligned prequels. Let's face it, the insufferable Ewoks never had to face the same fate that Jar Jar Binks did when days after the release of the first prequel, a web site called www.jarjarbinkssucks.com became the talk of the web in its early days.

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The rules of Jean Renoir's "Game"

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Long before Luis Bunuel's "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" there was Jean Renoir's "The Rules of the Game," a 1939 classic tragicomedy about French upper crust society and its lack of morals. Billed as a "dramatic fantasy," Renoir's sharp-eyed satire was far ahead of its time, and took no prisoners, throwing both caution and political correctness to the wind.

Though filmed in beautiful, timeless black and white, "The Rules of the Game"(La Regle Du Jeu) is arguably the most colorful film ever made. It bursts with energy and life. The film is a multifaceted look at the emotional boundaries and battlefields of love and forbidden passions between men and women. The sexes openly hunt each other like prey, discussing their strategies, targets, regrets and longings with each other and amongst themselves. Mr. Renoir crafts a riveting anthropology of these vacant and trifling human creatures. Each is tinged with irony. Few have time for self-awareness or reflection.

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Waiting and waiting for Godot

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The prospect of filming "Waiting for Godot" has always fascinated me. Can film do it any justice? Better yet, will it even translate well on film? I believe it could work. However, it depends on who adapts the screen adaptation. I'm not talking about a re-imagining but a direct adaptation. I cannot see anything being changed in "Waiting for Godot" because if anything is changed it will not be Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" but [Director's Name]'s "Waiting for Godot."

Still, if nothing is changed, it still doesn't mean it will work as a motion picture. Some of the greatest works of literature have been adapted to the silver screen with a faithful structure and direct character quotations, only to fail miserably. Take Henry James' "The Europeans" for example. The novel is a perfectly enriched with interesting characters trying to adapt in a sudden clash of cultures.

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Apocalypto: Epic in a real jungle

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I truly enjoy Mel Gibson's work as a director. His films, whether he stars in them or not, always reflect a passion and heart like few others. His best work these days, more and more, seems to be coming from behind the camera. It seems to me he really makes the movies for himself first and second for everybody else, no test audience previews to influence the final product.

"Apocalypto" is a film about the demise of the Mayan civilization. It tells the story of Jaguar Paw, whose small village is attacked by a group of hunters from the nearby metropolis, their job literally being to pillage small defenseless groups while looking for "volunteers" for their "most dangerous game": the sacrificing rituals that the city's leaders use to keep the masses entertained.

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Tony is troubled as you can get:The villains of "Iron Man 2"

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I've always thought Tony Stark looked a bit like a porn star. It wasn't just the pencil moustache, though that certainly helped. It was his aura, his veneer of venal virtue, his lascivious lothario lifestyle. Plus he was a right-wing arms merchant with a dodgy heart and a drinking problem, who spent half his time in a robot suit serving shoe-pie to people in full anonymity. Even in the Marvel Universe, where other superheroes were only occasionally allowed to venture into shades of grey, Tony Stark stood out as a genuinely troubled character.

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"Metropolis" in its restored glory

There must be many ardent admirers who know far more than me about Fritz Lang's "Metropolis"(1927), one of the great movies in the 20th Century. They will provide you more detailed and accurate knowledges about this unforgettable masterpiece after watching, no, experiencing it. So, I think I have to talk about my experience during the evening of May 4th and my several thoughts, instead of making a fool of myself by talking about what I do not know well.

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Wolfman versus Werewolf

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Something strange happened to me while watching the recent Benicio del Toro movie "The Wolfman." I suddenly realized I wasn't being scared in the very least. Nada. Like Dr. Chilton once said referring to Hannibal Lecter in "Silence of the Lambs" "my pulse never got above 80".

Despite the movie's constant and frantic attempts to scare the audience with surprising and loud growls, with beheadings and half-eaten corpses, nothing worked, I've a hard time understanding why.

Is it my attitude towards the genre?

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The cinema of scarred hearts

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I have a friend who walked out of THERE WILL BE BLOOD during that baptism scene, when Daniel Day-Lewis exclaimed, "I've abandoned my child!" My friend was just divorced, lost custody of his children, and was tormented with the remorse that follows these things. As Daniel Day-Lewis shouted, my friend almost needed to cover his ears. He returned to his seat shortly afterwards, but needed that moment to collect himself.

I have another friend who was molested by a family friend. She refuses therapy, but she attributes multiple aspects of her personality, that she herself identifies as disorders - social ineptitude, sexual dysfunction and confusion, chronic despair - to that period of molestation. When she watched MYSTIC RIVER, a movie speaking of the physical and psychological abuse of children and the long term consequences on their hearts and minds, she found herself painfully revisiting those experiences, but not where we might expect.

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"Don't mess Malcolm up"

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From its incendiary opening to its somber but exultant conclusion, Spike Lee's grand and important film "Malcolm X" captures the life of a complex, charismatic and gravely misunderstood man who fought for human rights and justice for Africans and African-Americans. The film, based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, is arguably Mr. Lee's best and most universal film, and one of the great American film biographies.

For context, "Malcolm X" had extraordinary publicity leading up to its 1991 production. Numerous black activists in New York City and elsewhere had forecasted that Mr. Lee's film would not accurately depict the essence of Malcolm. "Don't mess Malcolm up," was a refrain the director heard over and over again.

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A brave film about a fake miracle

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Regardless of how one feels about the Vatican and its handling of its recent crises, one cannot help but doubt how much we feel let down. Religion of any sort has long been regarded as our moral authority. Some today will think it is outdated, others still necessary.

Everyone should be able to believe want they want to, but there is no doubt that when it comes to belief, there is nothing quite as dangerous as blind faith.

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