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Martha K. Baker

It is rare that a film addresses so many -isms so well, but "Belle" does this and more. "Belle" considers not only the damage of racism but of sexism in a country so classist as to be, well, classic. "Belle" does that, too, and in so doing, it raises the whole issue of color as related to gender.

Four-time world champion ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine is nothing if not debonair. His movements are graceful; his air, elegant. His every step has purpose. So when he decides to do something, he puts his foot down. "Dancing in Jaffa" proves it's not that simple to pursue a dream.
 

Landing on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, the largest Allied operation of World War II, was choreographed and orchestrated and designed to a T -- with a few unpredictable contingencies, the weather for one. Who knew what it would do nor what the enemy, the Nazis and its Axis forces, would do.
 

Solving this mystery is amazing in itself. Even a clumsy filmmaker could have captured interest in this story of a young man who bought 100,000 negatives that turned out to be art. But John Maloof is not a ham-handed filmmaker, nor was he an ordinary bidder at the auction that netted all those negatives.

"Nymphomaniac Vol. 1" had something to say and a clever way to say it, what with all the graphics and flashbacks and analyses. But "Vol. 2" demands much and grants little. It will make even the least prudish person turn away to cover your eyes or roll them. 

He is large and rather furry. She is small, tiny even. He is brown and she is grey. Ernest is a bear and Celestine, a mouse. Each has heard how the other is unbearable. The enemy. But they don't see it that way, this mousie who draws and this bear who makes music.

There's no way this thing is going to end well. That is a spoiler sentence to anyone who does not know Texas movies about alcoholics and ex-cons or novels by Larry Brown. "Joe" is set in the workaday world of a gang hired to poison trees so they die and have to be removed for the corporate landowners. 

Saturday, 22 March 2014 08:25

'Bad Words' includes those and more

The motivation behind "Bad Words" comes out about mid-way through this short film. I won't spoil that, but I will say, don't hold your breath because it is not reason enough for the shenanigans that go on before and after the reveal.
 

Just when you thought you'd never laugh again, along comes "Alan Partridge" to remind you that laughter is cleansing, purging, releasing. That laughter, welling up from the belly, is not only the best medicine but also pretty darn cheap. Alan Partridge has been a character played by Steve Coogan for years in various media. 

Imagine that! a dog adopting a human for a change. Well, that is just what Jay Ward and his minions did on their breaks from the "Rocky and Bullwinkle Show." They imagined a very, very smart dog in charge of the education of a very willing boy. 

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