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  • November 21, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    It's been a dozen years since the last Muppet movie. But a new one will be opening in a couple of days, and you can prepare yourself by taking a look at the last one, Tim Hill's Muppets From Space (1999). Here's where Gonzo gets in touch with his long lost alien family by means of his breakfast cereal. Bad idea; the Feds kidnap him by à la E.

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  • November 14, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Unlike Werner Herzog, New Hampshire filmmaker Jacqueline Goss didn't need to go to Antarctica to experience the end of the world. Instead she climbed the highest peak of her home state's White Mountains for her feature The Observers. It's a visually stunning, bleakly evocative adaptation of "The Great Carbuncle," Nathaniel Hawthorne's allegorical short story about wrong-headed ambition that's set at the wind-blasted Mt.

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  • November 08, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    In what might be every Republican's worst nightmare, the aliens in John Carpenter's They Live (1988) are not only illegal, but they've disguised themselves as rich people! They've infiltrated the seats of power and delude the masses with the media and advertising, even as they suck up billions of dollars of taxpayers' money! Until, that is, some right-thinking dude gets a pair of magic glasses and sees the truth! Time to lock and load and take this country back.

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  • November 05, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    No matter what country you're from, telling your parents you're gay can be difficult. Assi Azar, popular Israeli TV personality, host of that country's Big Brother program, and named by Out magazine as one of the 100 most influential gay people in the world, shares what he went through in his moving but funny documentary, Mom & Dad: I Have Something To Tell You (2010).

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  • October 17, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Chores (2011)

    When the Balagan Film Series went on hiatus a few years back, Boston cinephiles who had come to love its offbeat, eclectic programming of independent and experimental films felt the loss. Now the series is back, starting with Native Short Works, a selection of some of the best offerings from local filmmakers over the past four decades, including Chores (2011) by Louisa Conrad, Covert Action (1984) by Abigail Child, and Star Film (1971) by Saul Levine.

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  • October 14, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Given the recent introduction of rental bikes to the city, this should be a banner year for the Boston Bike Film Festival, now in its seventh year. Velocipede enthusiasts with a camera and a story to tell have been invited to contribute their work. Proceeds go to local cycling advocacy groups, including MassBike.

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  • October 06, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Local icon Jimmy Tingle, one of the few bonafide practitioners of the great tradition of political comedy, now adds a film to his credits. Directed by Vincent Straggas, Jimmy Tingle's American Dream (2010) follows the funnyman as he seeks the meaning of the title phantasm, querying pundits such as Howard Zinn, Robert Altman, Willie Nelson, and his own mother, Frances.

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  • October 04, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Dr. Strangelove (1964)

    Here's a cinephile's dream: Stanley Kubrick directing a Marx Brothers movie. The next best thing might be this twin bill of the two cinema legends' funniest, and most politically incisive, films. In Duck Soup (1933; 7:15 pm), Groucho plays Professor Rufus T. Firefly, a disreputable wise guy and con man who finds himself unexpectedly appointed the dictator of Fredonia.

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  • September 09, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Just one day before the 10th anniversary of the biggest intelligence failure in US history is the Frontline screening of Top Secret America, a look at what the spy boys have done in the meantime to compensate for that lapse and make America safe from terrorism. Or is their War on Terror just an excuse to impose an oppressive, surveillance state? If the film doesn't answer that question, or raises others, stick around for the panel discussion that follows with producer Michael Kirk and journalist Dana Priest, who co-wrote the doc's tie-in book at the Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St, Cambridge | Saturday, September 10 @ 2 pm | free | brattlefilm.org.

  • August 31, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    After seeing Federico Fellini at his most tragic in La Strada earlier this week, you can catch him at his most cynical, self-reflective, and satiric in 8-1/2 (1963; 2:30 + 5:15 + 8 pm). Marcello Mastroianni serves as Fellini's persona in this dreamlike portrait of a director losing his grip under the pressure of trying to come up with a new movie.

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  • August 28, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Citizen Kane theatrical trailer

    The photography and editing are revolutionary, but the score deserves a lot of the credit for making Orson Welles's masterpiece Citizen Kane (1941; 2:15 pm) number one on everyone's ten-best-movies-of-all-time list. Watch it with that in mind when it screens as part of the Brattle Theatre's ongoing Music For Movies: Bernard Herrmann Centennial Repertory Series

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  • August 22, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Twisted Nerve (1968) opening credits

    You might not remember what you've seen in a film with a Bernard Herrmann score, but you'll probably remember what you heard. Like the taunting rhythms of the title music to Sisters (1973; 3:15 + 7:30 pm), Brian De Palma's diabolical thriller about a beautiful pair of divided Siamese siblings who give added meaning to the term "evil twin."

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  • August 16, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Viva Riva!

    A recent overlooked mini-masterpiece, Austrian director Benjamin Heisenberg's The Robber (2010; screens at 3:30 and 7:30 pm) features an electrifying performance by Andreas Lust as the real-life felon of the title, who supplements his compulsive bank robbing with marathon running, two metaphors of existential futility that prove not altogether complementary.

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  • August 12, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Disco. Bad hair. Roller skates. Scott Baio. Will we ever get enough of the glorious bad taste of the '70s? All these elements, plus an appearance by legendary dwarf Billy Barty and the late Patrick Swayze in his first big role, come together for one huge hurrah in Skatetown, U.S.A. (1979). Swayze plays Ace, leader of a hardboiled roller skate gang that tries to take over the title roller disco rink the night of the big dance contest.

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  • August 07, 2011
    By Peter Keough

    Of all the murderous thugs who ravaged Liberia during its civil war, Joshua Milton Blahyi may have been the most feared. He and his army were notorious for ripping their clothes off, running amok, and killing indiscriminately. Blahyi lay low when the war was over until reappearing in a new guise: evangelical preacher.

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