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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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Stick to your guns

From: David Kelsey

After reading your column, I see why I enjoy the characters in Dickens and in a movie like "Crash." Great Expectations, which is similarly hated/loved, is my all-time favorite book, and "Crash" is up there in my list of great movies. I like them, because as you explain, they feel emotionally real, if not really real. To get its emotional realness and power out, I don't think "Crash" could or should have been more subtle... although, frankly, I've always thought subtlety overrated when it comes to movies, but then again, Bette Davis is my favorite actress.

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All this talk from its detractors about "Crash" being too preachy and didactic, and that the "stupid" "brainless" Academy voted for it because they're guilty white limo liberals who want to feel good about race I think misses the point.

Critics and the movie intelligistia, because they are critics and have long lost the ability to simply be swept away by good popcorn flick, are overthinking it a wee bit too much. What about people like me, who are neither white nor liberal, and agreed "Crash" was far and away the best movie of the year (and of last year too)? With white liberal guilt left out, I guess that just leaves stupid. I don't think I'm that dumb, although I could make a case for the stupidity of going into a movie about a racial hotbed like Los Angeles boldly titled "!!!CRASH!!!" and expecting a plaintively reflective meditation on the races quietly brushing past each other, but I digress.

Here's a thought: maybe they voted for the movie just because... GASP... they enjoyed the movie, and enjoyed it more than the important but yawningly slow
"Brokeback Mountain," just like they enjoyed the overblown and heavy-handed "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Academy voted for it because of its subtle, realistic and harrowing portrayal of addiction to rings and its quiet approach to battle scenes between orcs and fairies.

In other words, all the backlash and second guessing aside: if it looks good, sounds good, and makes you feel good...maybe it's just good. *Shrug.* Only time will tell.

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