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Shame, Tree of Life: Ambiguity or bust?

Did somebody say "ambiguity"? I'm a big fan. Generally speaking, I much prefer movies with a little uncertainty, or a little emotional ambivalence, to those that spell everything out and tell me exactly how I should feel about it. Most…

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My First 2011 "Ten Best" List

(Picture the headline above in Comic Sans.) MSN Movies contributors have selected our Top 10 Movies of 2011. What does that mean? Whatever you want it to mean. Are these movies "the best"? Are they our favorites? Are they "movies…

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Idiocracy and the ten-best trolls

"Related to this, and common in the comments sections of blogs, is the position that because some random person on the internet is unable to defend a position well, that the position is therefore false. All that has really been…

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The Artist, Shame and hype-season backlash

Over the last ten days or so I have been serially obsessed with "A Dangerous Method," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "Margaret," "Moneyball," "A Separation" -- and I haven't had time to really devote myself to following these obsessions because I…

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A piece of David Cronenberg's mind

(Photo by Roger Ebert) In his splendid Salon.com interview with David Cronenberg focusing on "A Dangerous Method," Andrew O'Hehir begins by noting that Cronenberg is "a beloved interview subject for film journalists" -- both because of the richness of his…

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Goodfellas & badfellas: Scorsese and morality

[This was originally published at MSN Movies in 2006, but MSN has taken down their archives.] "You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is bullshit,…

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We could shoot a Russian unicorn

"I got a porcupine called 'Zazoom' He leaves his scent on people's graves." -- "Russian Unicorn" You know the Kuleshov Effect, illustrated by the famous Soviet montage experiment in which an actor's performance seems to change, depending on whatever image…

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Why we love zombies

I made a wisecrack recently that, as far as I can tell, the zombies on AMC's "The Walking Dead" are metaphors for zombies. (Fortunately the show has the sense to hire guest stars like my friend Scott Wilson to add…