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  • March 16, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    The last awards ceremony of the year may well be the best, and not just because Phoenix film editor Peter Keough is one of the presenters. For the 19th year, the Chlotrudis Society will present awards to the best of the year's offbeat, obscure, and independent films in a program notable for its puckish humor and musical ingenuity - just try writing a song with the name of Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul in the lyrics.

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  • March 14, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    Compare any of today's so-called romantic comedies with the elegant confections of Ernst Lubitsch from eight decades ago and you'll probably get depressed. So just forget about them and enjoy the offerings in the Brattle Theatre retrospective series The Lubitsch Touch. It starts tomorrow tonight with Ninotchka (1939), in which Greta Garbo plays a Soviet commissar whose party-line propriety is shattered when she visits Paris on assignment and falls for the couture and the charms of a class enemy, a Count played by Melvyn Douglas.

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  • March 12, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    Still from "Landfill 16" by Jennifer Reeves

    One of the most innovative and intriguing film series around, Balagan doesn't disappoint with tonight's program, DIY Dystopia. It includes experimental shorts, made the old fashioned way - on celluloid, that draw parallels between the doom of traditional filmmaking and the downfall of the environment.

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  • March 10, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    Korean director Seung-Jun Yi's documentary Planet of Snail (2011) traces the outer and inner lives of an extraordinary couple: Young-Chan, a deaf and blind poet, and his wife Soon-Ho, whose body is shrunken to the size of a child's from a spinal disorder. Together they overcome life's obstacles, such as changing a light bulb, while sharing a life of poetic imagination.

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  • March 05, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    Many of you will get your first taste of the visionary, disturbing, and seductive cinema of Park Chan-wook with his first Hollywood film, Stoker, which opens Friday. For the full course, you should sample his Vengeance Trilogy, which will be screening as a triple bill at the Brattle Theatre on Wednesday, March 6.

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  • February 19, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    Some experiences need to be shared to be endured. The Academy Awards is one of them. Every year the Brattle Theatre complies by throwing a pre-program bash. Okay, it's $75, but it goes to a good cause, the Brattle Foundation, and it gives you a chance to put a buzz on before Oscar-show host Seth MacFarlane starts reprising his Family Guy voices and so that even if Les Misérables wins Best Picture, you'll be having such a good time you won't care.

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  • February 10, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    In Carlo Guillermo Proto's documentary El Huaso (2012), the director's father, Toronto retiree Gustavo Proto, returns to his native Chile to fulfill his dream of becoming the rodeo star of the title. But tests suggest that he might have Alzheimer's, which could complicate, or maybe simplify his plans, since he intends to end his life once his condition becomes hopeless.

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  • February 09, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    It's a lot shorter than the Oscar show later this month, and it's a lot more fun, as well. The Boston Society of Film Critics Annual Awards and Screening takes place tomorrow night at the Brattle Theatre, and the featured film will be Best Documentary winner How To Survive a Plague (2012), with the director, David France, accepting his award in person and sticking around for a Q&A after the screening.

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  • February 03, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    This Is Not a Film

    Under house arrest in Tehran, Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi managed to smuggle his film This Is Not a Film (2012; 7:30 pm ) out of the country by putting it on a flashdrive and sticking it in a cake. Under house arrest in China, world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei gets his message out via Twitter and other ironic acts of subversion, as seen in Alison Klayman's Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012; 5:30 + 9:15).

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  • January 31, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    Beasts of the Southern Wild

    Benh Zeitlin's debut feature Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012; 3:30 + 7:30 pm) raised some eyebrows by scoring Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Director, Actress, and Screenplay. Eagle-Tribune film critic Greg Vellante will explain the appeal of this sui generis, magical-realist tale of moonshine, squalid poverty, childhood innocence, and environmental disaster as it opens the Brattle Theatre's "(Some of) The Best of 2012" series.

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  • January 26, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    Documentaries remain the hottest genre in filmmaking today, and The DocYard continues to bring the best and most recent to their series at the Brattle Theatre. On Monday night they present Jason Tippett and Elizabeth Mimms's debut feature Only the Young (2012), a poetic study of teenagers growing up in the economically blighted setting of a small, Southern California desert town.

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  • January 25, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    Well, it's not so different now, as many have tried and failed to reproduce the surreal, absurdist hilarity of the ingenious clowns celebrated in Monty Python Week! at the Brattle Theatre. Every evening, in tandem with screenings of A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman, Bill (son of Terry) Jones's documentary about the late member of the troupe, they'll present a classic film from the Python canon, starting Saturday, January 26 with - what else? - the potpourri of skits that made them famous, And Now for Something Completely Different (1971).

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  • January 23, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    The Brattle's "Dead of Winter: Satan on the Screen" comes to a diabolical climax with Roman Polanski's sardonic, twisted masterpiece, Rosemary's Baby (1968). Adapted from the Ira Levin novel, it doesn't need many special effects to evoke the chill of pure evil in its story of a young couple (Mia Farrow and John Cassavettes) who make friends with some interesting neighbors when they move into the creepy Dakota (a/k/a "Bramford") building in an otherworldly Upper West Side Manhattan.

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  • January 17, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    The cold weather makes everyone long to visit someplace warm, but the Brattle might be taking that impulse to infernal extremes with their series "Dead of Winter: Satan on Screen." Their round-up of hellacious hits begins today with the European cut of Ridley Scott's Legend (1985), in which Tom Cruise plays a hero who must save his land from a demon played by Tim Curry.

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  • January 10, 2013
    By Peter Keough

    Not so long ago Paul Thomas Anderson's brilliant, bizarre, and beautiful parable about a whacked-out WWII vet (Joachim Phoenix) and the charismatic founder of a Scientology-like cult (Philip Seymour Hoffman) was seen as an Oscar shoo-in. It's since been eclipsed by other wannabes, but don't be surprised when in a decade or two it makes it into Sight & Sound's Ten Best List.

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