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A Mighty Heart / ***1/2 (R)
"A Mighty Heart" (R, 100 minutes). Angelina Jolie in a superb performance as Mariane Pearl, whose husband Daniel, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was kidnapped in Pakistan in 2002. British director Michael Winterbottom focuses on her during the search for her husband, in a harrowing story of courage and death. Filmed largely on location, in a world that is an unreadable puzzle for the searchers. Rating: Three and a half stars

Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman / ***1/2 ()
By Jim Emerson The death penalty makes executioners of us all. That is the idea, of course: Collectively, as a society, we choose to punish certain transgressors by putting them to death. But we don't have to actually pull the lever or the trigger or the switch ourselves. We hire people -- contractors or government employees -- to do the killing on our behalf.

You Kill Me / ** (R)
By Jim Emerson Has "The Sopranos" whacked the mob comedy? It sure feels that way -- at least for now. Just about anything is going to feel slight next to David Chase's 86-episode magnum opus, the rare genre piece that matches or exceeds its influences, from "The Godfather" movies to "GoodFellas." But "You Kill Me" is as flimsy and uninspired as the double entendre of its title. It looks lightweight next to "Analyze This." Maybe even "Analyze That."

June 22, 2007 / * ()
Evan Almighty
1408
Eagle vs. Shark
Klimt, Ten Canoes


La Vie en Rose / **** (PG-13)
by Roger Ebert She was the daughter of a street singer and a circus acrobat. She was dumped by her mother with her father, who dumped her with his mother, who ran a brothel. In childhood, diseases rendered her temporarily blind and deaf. She claimed she was cured by St. Therese, whose shrine the prostitutes took her to. One of the prostitutes adopted her, until her father returned, snatched her away, and put her to work in his act. From her mother and the prostitute she heard many songs, and one day when his sidewalk act was doing badly, her father commanded her, "Do something." She sang "La Marseilles." And Edith Piaf was born.

Great Movie: Woman in the Dunes (1964)
Hiroshi Teshigahara's "Woman in the Dunes" has just been released in a Criterion Collection DVD edition. This is Roger Ebert's Great Movies review: "I love staying at local homes,'' the man says, accepting an offer of hospitality after he misses the last bus back to the city. He has been collecting insects in a remote desert region of Japan. The villagers lead him to a house at the bottom of a sandpit, and he climbs down a rope ladder to spend the night with the woman who lives there. She prepares his dinner, and fans him as he eats. During the night, he awakens to observe that she is outside, shoveling sand. In the morning, he sees her sleeping, her body naked and sparkling with sand. He goes outside to leave. "That's funny,'' he says to himself. "The ladder is gone.''

Movie Answer Man: An overlooked movie master
Q: Ousmane Sembene's "Moolaade" was my favorite film at your Overlooked Festival this year. I was so saddened to hear of his recent death. Greg Nelson, Chicago A. So was I. Sembene, 84, from Senegal, "The Father of African Cinema," was also a gifted novelist, and his films took strong stands against what he perceived as the Western use of aid to undermine local agricultural communities. In his "Guelwaar" (1992), he was prescient in telling the story of a clash between Catholics and Muslims. But he enriched his politics with humor; the clash comes when a Catholic body is mistakenly buried in a Muslim cemetery, and the Muslims feel that to move it would demean their ancestors. His last and best film was "Moolaade," attacking the practice of female circumcision. Not a film you'd like to see, right? My review was a cry from the heart: "Sometimes I seek the right words, and I despair. What can I write that will inspire you to see 'Moolaade'? This was for me the best film at Cannes 2004, a story vibrating with urgency and life. It makes a powerful statement and at the same time contains humor, charm and astonishing visual beauty." I met Sembene at Cannes, in the company of Daniel Talbot, whose New Yorker Films distributes all his work in the United States. We had a nice chat in the hotel where we were all staying. Afterward, Talbot pulled me aside. "In my opinion," he said, "that is the greatest director in the world."

Commentary: AFI 100: 'Kane' still number one
by Roger Ebert Welles' "Citizen Kane" is still the greatest American film of all time. Coppola's "The Godfather" is second. Scorsese's "Raging Bull" and Hitchcock's "Vertigo" have cracked the Top 10, booting out "The Graduate" (No. 7 to No. 17) and "On the Waterfront" (No. 8 to No. 19). And Ford's "The Searchers" hurtled from No. 96 to No. 12.

Commentary: Great cinema, Italian style
A summerlong retrospective devoted to Italian master Michelangelo Antonioni begins at the Gene Siskel Film Center. "L'Avventura" (1960), one of the director's most iconic efforts, screens this weekend in the series. Roger Ebert's Great Movie essay on the film follows.

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Weekend Box Office: June 15-17, 2007
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer tops the box office with $58.1 million

Daily Box Office: Thursday, June 21, 2007
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer tops Thursday's box office with $3.9 million

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