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Ferdinand

A mostly pleasant surprise in a year that has produced a lack of stellar animated outings.

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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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John Updike on the movies

From Jimmy Jacobs, Columbia, SC:

When someone recently asked me why I love movies, I couldn't help but think of something John Updike wrote:

"Movies] lifted the men and women of drab American towns and cities from their ordinary lives onto a supernatural level. We all tried, in our small ways, to live up to the stars—to dress as smartly, to act as bravely, to love as completely. No wonder that so many of the vacant theaters are now churches. We worshipped in those spaces, and for all the frequent shoddiness and imbecility of the mass-market motion picture, there was nothing to prevent grandeur from occurring; there were, in the mad profusion, the weekly tumble, works of cinematic art that moved and transformed us absolutely as the best and noblest painting, music, and poetry. For Americans, it was our native opera, bastard and sublime."

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