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  • April 11, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Under their façade of gaiety, carnivals conceal a sinister side of cultural mythology and power relationships. Or so suggests Margaret Brown in her documentary The Order of Myths. It delves deep into Mobile's Mardi Gras celebration - the oldest in the country and, in 2007, still racially segregated. There she finds secret societies, twisted violence, and lots of sequins.

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  • April 09, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    The Wizard of Oz (1939) is such a sacred text for cinephiles that it seems a bit blasphemous to subject it to a mash-up, but if it must be done, Pink Floyd's seminal album The Dark Side of the Moon is the way to go. The result is "The Dark Side of Oz" a mix of song lyrics and dialogue that the Brattle Theatre promises does proper homage to both sources.

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  • April 08, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Among the campy sci-fi movies that never quite made it big, one worthy of greater cult status is The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The Eighth Dimension (1984). Peter Weller plays the title hero, whose talents range from neuroscience to electric guitar and who along with his sidekicks the Hong Kong Cavaliers battles the evil alien invaders the Red Lectroids.

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  • April 07, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    The real world lags behind the movies when it comes to attempts to reconcile the Western and Islamic worlds. One of the more disturbing and eloquent such film efforts is Bruno Dumont's Hadewijch (2009), in which the young title heroine (a haunting Julie Sokolowski) proves too zealous for the convent in which she studies to be a nun.

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  • April 04, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Alfred Guzzetti at work

    Alfred Guzzetti takes the poignancy we all feel for our family albums and home movies and makes it universal in his documentary Family Portrait Sittings (1975), a collection of films, photos, and audio recordings edited into an elegant account of four generations of his own relatives.

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  • April 04, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    The film with the year's oddest title by the director with the hardest-to-spell name might be 2011's best movie. Actually, the title of celebrated Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives pretty nicely summarizes what it's about: a dying man retires to the forest he loved as a child and waxes nostalgic about previous incarnations and chats with the ghost of his wife and son about the meaning of it all.

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  • March 31, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Bike Porn: for some reason when you put those two words together, they sound extra dirty. "Bike Porn 4: Play" is the fourth annual reprise of the travelling film show which features shorts - bicycle shorts? - that show what a true velocipedist ("pedalophile?") is capable of. Or, to quote the event sponsor, Truth Serum Productions, it's a celebration of "bikesexuality, bikeuriosity, and bike objectification."

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  • March 30, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    The surprisingly robust activism stirred up by Wisconsin's recent union-busting policies recall the glory days of the peace movement that probably peaked with the debacle of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Those unfamiliar with the story might take a look at Brett Morgen's zesty, animated Chicago 10 (2008) about the subsequent show trial in which demonstration leaders Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, and others were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot.

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  • March 27, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    The regular-person-becoming-a-superhero genre continues in popularity with James Gunn's Super, which will receive a special preview screening tonight at the Brattle under the auspices of the Independent Film Festival of Boston. Rainn Wilson (The Office) plays a guy who becomes a crime fighter named Red Bolt when his wife leaves him for a drug dealer.

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  • March 26, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    As can be seen from the MFA's ongoing Turkish Film Festival, Turkey isn't just an economic and geopolitical powerhouse - it also has a vibrant cinema. Today we get a program of "Boston Turkish Film Festival Competition Winners" anchored by the jury's choice for Best Documentary, Bingöl Elmas's My Letter to Pippa, a courageous and affecting testament to women's rights.

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  • March 26, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    The Boston Underground Film Festival doesn't get truly underground until "CineMental Gets BUFF." The Cinemental folks have put together a memorable short-film program that they guarantee will include "the sexy, the queer, the intellectual, the experimental, the mainstream love, and, best of all, horror and singing nuns."

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  • March 25, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    If the Irish Film Festival wasn't green enough for you, take a look at the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival. It starts tonight with a panel discussion on energy moderated by Robin Young of WBUR that takes place at 6 pm at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, 41 Berkeley St, Boston. Saturday, there will be a screening of the film Carbon Nation and a "locavore" tasting session at the Mass College of Art & Design.

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  • March 24, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Every now and then, two trashy genres collide and something wonderful happens. As when blaxsploitation met grindhouse horror and gave rise to William Crain's Blacula (1972). An African prince (William Marshall) visits Count Dracula to get him to lay off the slave trade. Our hero gets bitten for his troubles and is buried in a coffin.

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  • March 23, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    "The Final Sentence"

    This would seem to be a good day to go to the movies. For 10 years, Central Productions has presented the best in local film in its Boston Cinema Census, and this year's selection looks like one of the best. Among the shorts being screened are Kevin McCarthy's ambitious "66/20-23," which plays audio of a conversation taking place on the title bus over broadcasts from the title cable channels, and J.

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  • March 23, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Now that all the St. Patrick's Day hoopla is over, we can take a look at what's really up in the Ould Sod. Films featured in the 12th Annual Irish Film Festival include Darragh Byrne's Parked, in which an Irish guy (Colm Meaney) returns home to find that he has nowhere to live but his car. Also timely is Risteard Ó Domhnaill's The Pipe, a documentary about a village's quixotic battle against Big Oil.

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