BLESSED IS THE MARTYR

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Hannah Senesh is the Jewish Joan of Arc. As part of the only military operation to attempt a rescue of Jews held in concentration camps, the Hungarian Senesh left Palestine to parachute into Yugoslavia, where she was arrested, tortured and eventually executed. Her story has inspired millions, so why does she comes across as such [&hellip
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OF TIME AND THE CITY

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Movies, at their greatest, are personal endeavors. That’s true for audiences as well as filmmakers—especially Terence Davies, whose newest film Of Time and The City continues his individual exploration of the medium. Once again, Davies revisits his youth growing up in post-WWII Liverpool, England—as in the masterly features Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Long [&hellip
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THE LODGER

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Unlike Terence Davies, whose use of the cinematic past becomes a felt element in his storytelling, writer-director David Ondaatje repeats the past so inexpertly that The Lodger (an update of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1926 film) is almost comically schlocky. Ondaatje’s poor technique lowers the basic material—the Jack the Ripper legend, which has already been remade three [&hellip
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SCHOOLYARD NERD TO HIP HIP STAR

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Not long after The Notorious B.I.G. (aka Christopher Wallace) was killed in 1997, a grieving Voletta Wallace made this candid admission about her late son’s hip-hop records: “He used filthy language because the stories he was telling were filthy.” But Notorious, a new biopic about the late rapper, does not share the ambivalence of a [&hellip
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CHERRY BLOSSOMS

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Doris Dorrie is best known for the 1985 German film Men, a modest feminist comedy taking on sexual hierarchies. Its praise made Dorrie the Sofia Coppola of her day, celebrated as a standard-bearing female director. But unlike Coppola, Dorrie actually examined her characters social and psychological circumstances—perhaps because she had a fundamental connection to feminist [&hellip
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MADE IN THE U.S.A

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In grad school at Columbia, we were able to study a private print of Jean-Luc Godard’s Made in U.S.A. Never theatrically released in America, its scarcity made it special, so I watched it repeatedly. It was one of the experiences that made me unafraid of movie art; drawn-in by Godard’s dense narrative and thrilled by [&hellip
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SILENT LIGHT (STELLET LICHT)

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Mexico’s critically overrated Carlos Reygadas is unlikely to breakthrough to popular acclaim with his latest film, Stellet Licht, while Mexico’s highly publicized “Three Amigos”—Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro Gonzáles Iñáritu and Guillermo del Toro—are just that: commercial clowns. Between these camps stands Julián Hernández, Mexico’s finest filmmaker with the greatest human touch—which may be why his masterpieces [&hellip
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TELLING STORIES

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Imagination is Adam Sandler’s response to bad times. As Bedtime Stories’ hotel employee Skeeter Bronson, Sandler helps his single-parent sister (Courteney Cox) during her new job search by babysitting his niece and nephew. He tells them bedtime stories that spur their own fantasies and—magically—come true in his own life. This is an inspired metaphor for [&hellip
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DEFIANCE

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Torn between making an art movie and an uplifting entertainment feature, Edward Zwick can’t stop the gun-battles and genocide of his Holocaust movie Defiance from seeming like cheap thrills and mawkishness. It’s time for Zwick to man-up to his intelligence and go for broke. Defiance needed the moral and formal rigor of a Jean-Marie Straub [&hellip
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