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Just Getting Started

Just Getting Started never really gets going. It only kept me thinking, “Is this ever just going to finish?”

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The Rape of Recy Taylor

A documentary with a great subject and powerful testimony, undone by its unnecessarily obtrusive style.

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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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Another queasy victim of Shakycam

From Tom Puchniak, Montreal:

Can I suggest you add one more category to film ratings? In addition to things like “language, nudity, violence, sexual situations” etc. it would be a great service to people like me -- who get literally nauseous when watching shaky camera work on a large screen -- if you would include “hand held camera work” or “shaky camera work” in the rating. I have had to walk out of too many films in recent years because the director believes that waving and jerking the camera around constantly gives a sense of immediacy and a documentary feel to a film. Firstly, this is bogus. Most documentary cameramen try to keep the camera steady so the viewer can actually see what is happening on screen. Secondly, the human eye compensates when we run or move around, so that the image does not shake or jiggle. Yet this gimmick is increasingly used by Hollywood film makers and I’ve had to make an early exit to films like “District 9", “The Hurt Locker”, “Once”, and “Syriana”, because of it. Maybe I’m just getting old (I am) but I simply cannot watch films made this way in a cinema with a large screen. And with rare exception, in my opinion it adds nothing to the impact of the film. I would sure like to know if a film features it before buying my ticket.

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