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A Hidden Life

It’s one of the year’s best and most distinctive movies, though sure to be divisive, even alienating for some viewers, in the manner of nearly…

Bombshell

Bombshell is both light on its feet and a punch in the gut.

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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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Watching movies on cellphones

From Rodney Welch, Elgin, SC:

Is watching a movie on a cellphone an artistic crime?

Probably, and I've never done it -- but then I remember that as a budding movie-lover I grew up watching classic cinema on a small portable black and white TV. That's where I fell in love with Citizen Kane, Sergeant York, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Casablanca and all the other Hollywood classics. I was 10 or 11, and I couldn't have cared less about aspect ratio or poor lighting. All I cared about was decent reception and sound -- and if I had that, then I have to say that at that time and that age I had as fine an artistic experience as I could have hoped for. The story, the performances, the script, the allure -- all those most important elements can very definitely come through a tiny screen if you're an alert and interested viewer who yearns for a good story. Didn't Scorsese grow up the same way -- watching afternoon movies on the tube? Didn't we all?

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Watching a movie on your cellphone, with stereophonic sound (if you use headphones) is actually probably a step up from what I had then. If you handed me an iPhone and a Netflix or Hulu Plus subscription in 1974 -- I would have thought I had died and done to heaven! (Especially if you grew up in the rural South, and you knew that you would be forever denied any chance at all of seeing a movie by this guy Bunuel that Pauline Kael raved about unless you moved to a big city.)

By all means I think you should see a movie on a big screen with a fantastic print and superior sound -- that's the ultimate experience -- but if a cellphone is all you have to work with, go for it.

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