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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Afghan chiller

Girl takes haunting name to fight Taliban rule.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2004 at 12:00 AM

A 12-year-old Afghan girl passes as a boy to escape the Taliban’s crushing oppression of women. Not surprisingly, the ruse fails. A harrowing film that will haunt you for many days. In Dari with subtitles.

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Touchez Pas au Grisbi

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2004 at 12:00 AM

The usually pedestrian director Jacques Becker rises to the challenge of a compelling script and a cast that includes Jean Gabin, an actor who was as iconic to the French as Humphrey Bogart or John Wayne was to Americans. The result is a prime example of hard-boiled existentialism and tough guy gloom. The 1954 film is newly restored, subtitles and all.

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Eurotrip

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2004 at 12:00 AM

From the producers of Road Trip and Old School comes a sexified comedy of delightful errors and running jokes that manage to stay funny all the way through. See American teens set free from high school and hungry for wild European sex! See full frontal (and rear-al) male nudity! And it's OK. Remember, they’re in Europe. With Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts.

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The Big Animal

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2004 at 12:00 AM

This modest ’70s fable from Poland balances absurdist humor and social commentary. A circus ditches a camel, which is in turn adopted by a man and his wife. This makes for considerably merriment for the village, until officials decide to intervene. Starring and directed by Jerzy Sturh, this is more bittersweet than tragic and obviously allegorical. In Polish with subtitles.

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Against the Ropes

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2004 at 12:00 AM

The story of groundbreaking Detroit boxing promoter Jackie Kallen falls short of being the next Norma Rae or Erin Brockovich. Starring Meg Ryan as Kallen, Omar Epps as boxer Luther Shaw and substituting Cleveland for Detroit, this is a mostly flat and problematic drama with a few moments of comedy, romance and interracial tension.

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Welcome to Mooseport

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Mooseport is a harmless, fictitious place where an ex-president (Gene Hackman) can end up running against his plumber (Ray Romano) for mayor. Meanwhile, the plumber’s girlfriend catches the ex-president’s divorcee eye, and a double-headed crisis rears its fuzzy antlers. It’s all so inoffensive as to be barely there.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The French Ass

Bresson classic immortalizes a donkey and his woman.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Many critics regard this as one of the best films ever made. Any chance to see a Robert Bresson (1901-99) film on the big screen is bound to make most cineastes’ mouths water. Balthazar’s titular character is a donkey. The film follows his short and brutish life from an idyllic farm to cruel owners who exploited him. Paralleling his life is the story of Marie, his first owner, a young girl with a similar journey. In French, with English subtitles.

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The Dreamers

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2004 at 12:00 AM

The MPAA no doubt bestowed the dreaded NC-17 rating on this film because Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci’s latest picture displays penises for longer than a few seconds. Bertolucci, best known in America for 1972’s Last Tango in Paris, this time employs three young and beautiful film buffs who sulk and rage against the bourgeoisie and get naked while drinking wine and smoking pot in 1968 Paris.

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Hukkle

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Hukkle, the directorial debut of Hungarian director Gyorgi Palfi, is an odd little movie that seems, for about half its short running time, to be a psychedelic nature film. It starts with an old man sitting on a bench at the side of a village road, hiccupping. Watching a beekeeper from a bee’s point of view or a fish contemplating a baited hook is only marginally more exotic than watching silent men and women shovel gruel into their waiting mandibles.

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Miracle

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Everyone knows the ending, but director Gavin O’Connor and screenwriter Eric Guggenheim do a fine job of telling the story within the story of how the U.S. hockey team beat Russia in the 1980 Olympics. Fabled coach Herb Brooks is played with macho, stony-eyed intensity by Kurt Russell. Miracle does a good job of keeping the story rolling without a lot of schmaltz.

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