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Weekend Box Office: June 22-24, 2007
Evan Almighty tops the box office with $31.2 million

Daily Box Office: Thursday, June 28, 2007
Live Free or Die Hard tops Thursday's box office with $5.9 million

Sicko / ***1/2 (PG-13)
Michael Moore's litany of horrors about the American health care system, which is run for profit, and insurance companies, who pay bonuses to employees who are successful in denying coverage or claims. Moore tones down his usual humor and seriously, sympathetically, listens to such people as a 9/11 volunteer who can't get the treatment she needs. Likely to strike home with anyone, liberal or conservative, who has had serious illness in the family.

Evening / *1/2 (PG-13)
Upstairs, in the big Nantucket mansion, a woman is dying in a Martha Stewart bedroom. She takes a long time to die, and the movie is flashbacks from her reveries. An all-star cast sinks in a turgid weepie that commits the cardinal sin: it doesn't make you weep. One cliché after another is done awkwardly; the movie lacks even the self-confidence of soap opera. With Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Natasha Richardson, Toni Collette, Eileen Atkins, Hugh Dancy, Patrick Wilson, Glenn Close and Meryl Streep.

Live Free or Die Hard / *** ()
by Richard Corliss I'm not the sort of film critic who jots down ecstatic remarks during a screening. But about an hour into "Live Free or Die Hard," I scrawled in my notebook: "Ah, American movies!"

June 29, 2007 / * ()
Six Days, Rock the Bells

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."

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: Dead teenage wasteland
Q: I disagree with your contention that, after having seen all 100 movies on the American Film Institute's "greatest" list, one would no longer have the desire to see a Dead Teenager Movie. Such a statement does a disservice to the ranks of dedicated horror fans and critics who could intelligently construct arguments for why many of these movies are quite worthwhile. There is a baseness to them, certainly, but horror's essential function is base -- to create a sinister echo in the darkest wells of our psyche. Dead Teenager Films add a layer of exploitation that makes the experience easier to digest, but the chord they strike is necessary. There is room for both the cinematic elite and movie sleaze in the moviegoing experience. To quote the great horror icon Vincent Price, "A man who limits his interests, limits his life." Nate Yapp, Editor,, Phoenix A. And to paraphrase Pauline Kael, the movies are so rarely great art that if we cannot appreciate great trash, there is no reason to go. I'd draw a distinction, however, between the classic horror genre, which has produced masterpieces from "Nosferatu" to "The Silence of the Lambs," and the Dead Teenager Movie, which I define as a movie that starts out with a lot of teenagers, and kills them all, except one to populate the sequel. However, DTMs have their defenders; Alex Jackson of Logan, Utah, writes: "There are a handful that I definitely prefer to Hitchcock's cowardly "Vertigo" -- "Friday the 13th" Parts 2, 4, 5 and 8; "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4," and maybe 5, and "New Nightmare"; "Sleepaway Camp"; "Dr. Giggles," and "Halloween" (you yourself gave this four stars!). Ebert again: "Vertigo" is cowardly? I think it is relentlessly brave. I agree that "Halloween" is great, but disagree that it is a DTM.

People: Joel Siegel: In Memory
by Roger Ebert Joel Siegel, the “Good Morning, America” film critic, was a brave man, and a hell of a nice guy. Diagnosed with colon cancer in 1997, two weeks before he learned he was about to become a father, he was given a 60 percent chance of living long enough to see his child. But he fought those odds for a decade, and once told me, “I’ve gone up one side of the bell curve and down the other side, and am now advancing into enemy territory.”

People: Joel Siegel's advice for cancer patients
Joel Siegel wrote the following for an American Cancer Society newsletter: You probably know me as the movie critic on "Good Morning America." What you probably don't know is that I was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 1997. The cancer was much advanced and more serious than the doctors had anticipated. It was followed by a horrific bout of chemotherapy and simultaneous radiation (treatment has improved tremendously since then) and a temporary colostomy. Two years later it showed up in my left lung, a year after that in my right lung. I've been through five surgeries, four different chemotherapies, two bouts of radiation, two emergency hospitalizations but I've worked and been on the air through most of it, and I'm still here.

People: Welcome back, Roger!
Film critic Richard Corliss offers a hearty "welcome back" to Roger Ebert at Roger Ebert, who's 65 this week, began writing on movies 40 years ago, mainly as a critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, but syndicated to some 200 newspapers. He's created a body of work — virtually all of it available on his handsome, helpful website — that is as broad, deep, reliable and rewarding as it is insanely prolific. I'll take a blind stab and say Roger has written more than 10,000 individual movie reviews, plus another 3,000 or so essays.

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