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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer / **** (R)
Not only does "Perfume" seem impossible to film, it must have been amost impossible for Patrick Suskind to write. How do you describe the ineffable enigma of a scent in words? The audiobook, read by Sean Barrett, is the best audio performance I have ever heard; he snuffles and sniffles his way to greatness and you almost believe he is inhaling bliss, or the essence of a stone. I once almost destroyed a dinner party by putting it on for "five minutes," after which nobody wanted to stop listening.

January 5, 2007 / * ()
Miss Potter
Freedom Writers
Happily N'Ever After
The Beales of Grey Gardens
La Brune et Moi, The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, Brothers Quay: Programs 1 & 2

Pan's Labyrinth / **** (R)
by Jim Emerson Editor, Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" is one of the cinema's great fantasies, rich with darkness and wonder. It's a fairy tale of such potency and awesome beauty that it reconnects the adult imagination to the primal thrill and horror of the stories that held us spellbound as children. If you recall the chills that ran down your spine and the surreal humor that tickled your brain in the presence of "Alice in Wonderland," "Little Red Riding Hood" or "The Wizard of Oz" when you were a child (or, later, in the nightmarish dream-films of Luis Bunuel, Jean Cocteau, F.W. Murnau or David Cronenberg), you'll discover those sensations once again, buried deep in the heart of "Pan's Labyrinth."

December 29, 2006 / * ()
The Painted Veil
Family Law

Great Movie: The Rules of the Game (2006)
I've seen Jean Renoir's "The Rules of the Game" in a campus film society, at a repertory theater and on laserdisc, and I've even taught it in a film class -- but now I realize I've never really seen it at all. This magical and elusive work, which always seems to place second behind "Citizen Kane" in polls of great films, is so simple and so labyrinthine, so guileless and so angry, so innocent and so dangerous, that you can't simply watch it, you have to absorb it.

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Weekend Box Office: December 29-January 1, 2007
Night at the Museum tops the box office with $48.2 million

Daily Box Office: Thursday, January 4, 2007
Night at the Museum tops Thursday's box office with $3.4 million

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