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Wonder Park

A young girl takes refuge in her imagination when her mother is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

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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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Great Movie Archives

Director sings praises of digital

PARK CITY, Utah - For a century, movies have been projected onto a big screen by a bright light shining through a moving strip of celluloid. If the prophets of the coming digital age are correct, film will disappear from that equation at some point in the next decade, and movies will be recorded and projected by digital means. Already the comfortable old word "photography" is being replaced by "image capture."

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Wrong movies? These aren't

PARK CITY, Utah I spend a lot of my time at the Sundance Film Festival being told I am at the wrong movie. Think how I felt when "Saving Grace," a comedy set in Cornwall and starring Brenda ("Secrets and Lies") Blethyn made this year's top distribution deal of $4 million, and a local TV station asked me what I thought about it. "Saving who?" I asked.

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Jury honors works with serious themes, viewers stay course

PARK CITY, Utah -- "Girlfight," Karyn Kusama's story of a tough Brooklyn girl who wants to be a boxer, and "You Can Count on Me," Kenneth Lonergan's story of an orphaned brother and sister who uneasily get to know each other as adults, shared the grand jury prize for best dramatic film here Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition, Lonergan won the Waldo Salt screenwriting award, and Kusama was picked as best director.

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Houses of pain

PARK CITY, Utah -- Two documentaries about wounded families, one angry, the other healing, have caused a stir during the closing days of the Sundance Film Festival. "Just, Melvin" is the lacerating portrait of a monster who molested almost everyone in two families and seems to have gotten away with murder. "Legacy" is the story of how a family from a Chicago housing project, devastated by the murder of a 14-year-old relative, was able to break the cycle of welfare and make a new beginning.

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Sundance film fest stays on the safe side

PARK CITY, Utah At the midpoint of this year's Sundance Film Festival, no great blinding vision has dazzled audiences. The festival seems mostly mid-range, skewed toward safe, quirky comedies and lacking the discoveries of years past such as "In the Company of Men" or "American Movie."

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Tucci's movie full of secrets

PARK CITY, Utah I've seen 10 movies so far at this year's Sundance Film Festival, some of them, I fear, destined to play nowhere else. I'll comment on some of them in later articles, but here's one for today: Stanley Tucci's "Joe Gould's Secret," about the strange and strained long-term friendship between New Yorker staff writer Joseph Mitchell (Tucci) and a brilliant, charming bum named Joe Gould (Ian Holm).

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Tammy Faye's story captured in documentary

PARK CITY, Utah -- "When she was born," her aunt recalls, "she had perfectly manicured fingernails." She still does. She also has eyelashes so firmly attached that she never removes them: "They have to sort of wear out. When one falls off, I replace it." Tammy Faye Bakker, once the evangelizing queen of a global satellite network, now "living in virtual exile in a gated community in Palm Springs," came to the Sundance Film Festival over the weekend and won the hearts of the heathens.

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Indie filmmakers go digital

SALT LAKE CITY -- About half of the films at the Sundance Film Festival this year have been shot the low-cost digital way, and 26 percent of them were directed by women. Those two statistics, possibly related, point the way into the new millennium for American independent filmmaking.

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Rays of hope at Sundance

PARK CITY, Utah -- Beverly Hills slicksters and Manhattan indie distributors are packing their goose-down coats and Elmer Fudd hats and gearing up for the Sundance Film Festival, held every January here in this Utah ski resort, often in the middle of a snowstorm.

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