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Wormwood

A fascinating piece of filmmaking that challenges the form in new ways as it recalls themes its director has been interested in his entire career.

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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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Conservative for 'Crash'

From: David Norton

I was thrilled to hear that “Crash” was named this year's best picture at the Oscars. Many have said that it was an alternative to “Brokeback Mountain” that good liberals could vote for and still feel that they were upholding their liberal values (what are those, anyway?). However, I think “Crash” could have been named one of the best conservative movies of the year.

The message of the movie really is that everyone has hidden attitudes of prejudice, even those who are the most self-righteous. These feelings exist not only between races, but also between classes, like when the poor mom tells her rich older son that he didn't give a rip about his family -- even though he had just bought her groceries and sacrificed his own ideals to lie and keep his brother out of prison. Often, we think of the rich looking down their noses at those less privileged than themselves, but so often, the poor, defiant in their insecurity, glare right back.

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Also, I love how the movie shows that some stereotypes are true. Near the beginning, the two black young men are acting so insulted that a white woman would feel threatened by them, and then they turn around and steal her car. We hate labels that people put on us, yet generation after generation, we continue to act them out. I mean, all stereotypes have to have started somewhere, right? Would there be racial profiling in airports if most people who have hijacked planes weren't from the Middle East? So when it comes to race relations, there are no easy answers.

Lastly, the subplot involving Sandra Bullock is really similar to the Good Samaritan. After breaking her ankle, she found out all her rich, snobbish friends didn't give a hoot about her, but her Mexican servant, who she had treated like garbage and had had such prejudice against, sacrifices to take care of her in her time of need. Like Jesus Himself said, "Who acted as a neighbor? The one who showed compassion, so go and do likewise."

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