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    NOFF Review: Naomie Harris' Breakout Performance Can't Save Staid, Reverent 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' (TRAILER)

    "You alone are small," a Xhosa elder tells Nelson Mandela and his contemporaries during a rite of passage marking the transition from adolescence to manhood. "Together, your people are big." A wise sentiment, and perhaps a cautionary one: "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" is a lesson in the cinematic ...

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    In Criterion's New Boxed Set, Bergman and Rossellini Make Love Among the Ruins

    In 1947, Ingrid Bergman dashed off an admiring letter to Italian director Roberto Rossellini. Inspired by his neorealist classics "Rome, Open City" and "Paisan," she suggested he might use her multilingual talents. "I am ready to come and make a film with you," she wrote, as though it were destined ...

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    Ophuls' 'The Earrings of Madame de...' on Blu-ray from Criterion: Before the New Wave, a New Woman (VIDEO)

    More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones, Saint Teresa of Avila reputedly opined, but she never met Louise, Madame de... (Danielle Darrieux). For the vain, tragic heroine of Max Ophuls' "The Earrings of Madame de..." (1953), the price of a direct line to the heavens comes in a ...

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    DVD Review: Pema Tseden's 'Old Dog,' a Powerful Political Allegory of Modern Tibet (TRAILER)

    Forget Uggie. My favorite canine companion in recent cinema is the shaggy, steadfast nomad mastiff of Tibetan writer-director Pema Tseden's contemplative and ultimately wrenching "Old Dog" (2011), available today on DVD from Icarus Films Home Video/dGenerate Films Home Video Collection.

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    Review: Microbudget Indie 'By Way of Home' Punches Above Its Weight (TRAILER)

    Reunited after a two-year estrangement, childhood friends Brooke and Morgan spend the early stages of "By Way of Home" catching up. The former, laid off and living with her parents, describes this state of affairs with a gentle euphemism ("the whole family's home"), but her delivery carries the unmi...

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    Now and Then: Mizoguchi's Bitter Masterpiece 'The Life of Oharu' Now on Criterion

    Director Kenji Mizoguchi's "The Life of Oharu" (1952), newly available in a high-def digital restoration from the Criterion Collection, teems with contradictions. It's epic yet delicate, set in feudal Japan but animated by modern anxieties, at once a traditional picaresque and a bold feminist classi...

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    Now and Then: Hollywood's Civil War Obsession

    Director Ron Maxwell's "Copperhead," on VOD and in select theaters Friday, is the sixth Civil War-era film to debut in the past 12 months, the most earnest and straightforward in a burgeoning subgenre. Nearly 150 years after the Battle of Gettysburg, The War Between the States remains Hollywood's fa...

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    Now and Then: Obituary for 'The Big C,' Starring Luminous Laura Linney

    Cathy Jamison was a brave bitch. Through four seasons of Showtime's "The Big C," which ended its run Monday, she suffered the indignities of metastatic melanoma, chemotherapy, brain tumors, hospice, and bad insurance, yet remained steadfast in her belief that "surviving" and "living" do not necessar...

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    Now and Then: In Two 'Steel Magnolias,' the Times Are Not A-Changin'

    The first thing one notices about "Steel Magnolias" (Herbert Ross, 1989) is the hair. Truvy's Beauty Shop overflows with tight-rolled pastel curlers and foot-high teases, held in place by enough hairspray to commit arson -- a style so far out of fashion it seems historical, as rococo as Marie Antoin...

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    Now and Then: Olivier and the Bard

    "I can smile, and murder while I smile," confides that notorious noble, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Laurence Olivier), "and frame my face to all occasions." For Olivier, pronouncing "frame" like "feign," it's an auspicious beginning. In Shakespeare's words, he finds his performer's credo.

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