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The Mill and the Cross is, in the vein of Snyder's 300 and Singh's Immortals; history by way of artistic artifice -- a comparison I'm sure turned most reading this off of this film already -- a highly artificial take on historical material. In an act of simultaneous retrofitting, Rutger Hauer plays Peter Bruegel as he walks in and out of, and crafts, his own painting, "Way to Calvary." Michael York plays a participant in the drama that is the inspiration for the piece, and consults Bruegel as he works on it. With incredulity, he looks at Hauer's confident artist gazing upon tragedy and asks, "You think you can express this?" Our view of history is shaped entirely by secondhand accounts and beyond, and in that regard, artists play a huge role in the aesthetic we associate with an era we've no filmed or photographed recording of. Never before has the phrase "it's like a painting brought to life!" been more accurate than here. This isn't Barry Lyndon. It's old school painted Hollywood backdrops with modern green screen artificiality, accentuated with art direction appropriate of the premise in both style and impressiveness. Only 3 characters have discernible dialogue in the film, and none of it is within the painted background action that Majewski has given full life to.

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Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:43 pm
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B-Side wrote:

What have you seen?

The Wind and The Phantom Carriage

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:59 am
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I saw Batman vs. Jack Sparrow again last night. My feelings were lukewarm during my original theater experience, but since then the film has lingered in my mind, and the rewatch has confirmed my positive impression.

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:16 am
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Trip wrote:
possabs ehhh


This is disappointing. Should I still see it for the IMAX n stuff tho?

Also, that mill and the whatever sounds neat, B. Would I like it?

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:23 am
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B-Side wrote:
The Mill and the Cross is, in the vein of Snyder's 300 and Singh's Immortals; history by way of artistic artifice -- a comparison I'm sure turned most reading this off of this film already -- a highly artificial take on historical material. In an act of simultaneous retrofitting, Rutger Hauer plays Peter Bruegel as he walks in and out of, and crafts, his own painting, "Way to Calvary." Michael York plays a participant in the drama that is the inspiration for the piece, and consults Bruegel as he works on it. With incredulity, he looks at Hauer's confident artist gazing upon tragedy and asks, "You think you can express this?" Our view of history is shaped entirely by secondhand accounts and beyond, and in that regard, artists play a huge role in the aesthetic we associate with an era we've no filmed or photographed recording of. Never before has the phrase "it's like a painting brought to life!" been more accurate than here. This isn't Barry Lyndon. It's old school painted Hollywood backdrops with modern green screen artificiality, accentuated with art direction appropriate of the premise in both style and impressiveness. Only 3 characters have discernible dialogue in the film, and none of it is within the painted background action that Majewski has given full life to.


This actually sounds amazing. Must watch.


Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:52 am
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Trip wrote:
It's better than the last two, mind.

Kind of loved the third, but have only seen it the once. This can't be awful news.

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:12 am
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Quite-Gone Genie wrote:
I saw Batman vs. Jack Sparrow again last night. My feelings were lukewarm during my original theater experience, but since then the film has lingered in my mind, and the rewatch has confirmed my positive impression.


I wish that film were longer. It feels like it should be longer than it is.

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:20 am
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Philosophe rouge wrote:
The Wind and The Phantom Carriage


Those are both brilliant. I've heard He Who Gets Slapped is good as well. Want to see that one.

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:06 am
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dreiser wrote:

Those are both brilliant. I've heard He Who Gets Slapped is good as well. Want to see that one.

That it is.


Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:07 am
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I adored The Skin I Live In. Not at all what I expected, but in the best way possible. Trip makes a good point regarding the penultimate scenes, but that segment is so short it didn't detract from the film.

I'm baffled by accusations from some critics, saying the film is impassive or sterile. Certainly the decor is sterile, and Banderas' character is very stoic, but there's so much at play under the surface. Sometimes I watch films and their impact is so great they affect me physically. This film left me with a strange but very warm feeling in my gut. More than a feeling, even. A presence.

Elena Anaya is astounding in the film. Granted, I cannot offer an objective opinion on her performance because I'm helplessly in love with her. But I found her astounding.

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:24 am
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The Mill and the Cross had that painting in it from Melancholia.

Also that long take B posted, quite impressive. The film on the whole really.

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:24 am
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Macrology wrote:
I adored The Skin I Live In. Not at all what I expected, but in the best way possible. Trip makes a good point regarding the penultimate scenes, but that segment is so short it didn't detract from the film.

Credit should be given in that the revenge stuff isn't Last House of the Left-level ridiculous. She simply shoots them once each as to escape. At the same time, it's so uninteresting. A friend suggested an ending with "Vincente becoming wholly Vera, Robert's beloved and vice versa, a curious puzzlement no one but they could ever make sense of" which I agree would have been something.

I forgot to mention the use of the tiger costume, which was gold.

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:29 am
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Philosophe rouge wrote:
The Wind and The Phantom Carriage


Definitely check out He Who Gets Slapped. It's great.

fist wrote:
Also that long take B posted, quite impressive. The film on the whole really.


:)

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:01 pm
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Quote:
I forgot to mention the use of the tiger costume, which was gold.


Yes. Brilliant.


Also,

I like how the super-skin (which felt emphasized in the trailer) was pretty much a red herring. It has virtually nothing to do with the film itself.

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:41 pm
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I've just returned from a double feature of We Need to Talk About Kevin and Zulawski's Possession. Excuse me while I take a 45-minute shower.


Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:58 pm
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Derninan wrote:
I've just returned from a double feature of We Need to Talk About Kevin and Zulawski's Possession. Excuse me while I take a 45-minute shower.


=0

both amazing, Possession best ever


Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:02 pm
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Trip wrote:
A friend suggested an ending with "Vincente becoming wholly Vera, Robert's beloved and vice versa, a curious puzzlement no one but they could ever make sense of" which I agree would have been something.

i think i may have preferred that ending as well, but i have no real problems with the extant one.


Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:06 pm
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I thought of that ending as a possibility, but I don't know that I would have preferred it. The final moments of the extant one is perfect in many ways.

Also,

There is a moment in the revenge scene which makes this ending seem inevitable. When Vera/Vicente returns to the room with the gun and lube, just before Banderas realizes what's going on, we see how eager he is. And that eagerness brought the perversity of what was going on into sharp perspective for me, this situation which hearkens back to the misogynistic obsessions in Vertigo and Eyes Without a Face, but which takes them to another level of cruelty and self-delusion. What I found most touching about the film is how Vera/Vicente comes to accept the transformation which has been forced upon him (giving the title greater resonance), how he even improves and discovers himself in these conditions, and how he still yearns for what he has lost -- namely his freedom and a home where people love him. Reducing this to a case of Stockholm syndrome would be a disservice to Vera's/Vicente's character and the thematic complexities of the film.

Perhaps what I admire most about the film is its ethical standpoint and how it forces us to rethink certain expectations and cliches. We start out hating Vicente as a man; his encounter with Banderas' daughter is a mistake on his part, but one steeped in unfortunate circumstances, making it difficult to point fingers. The modern and feminist impulse is to demonize him regardless, but the film forces us to reconsider this assumption when he is kidnapped (a development we may initially celebrate), given a forced sex change (an act of literal castration and symbolic rape), and imprisoned and experimented on against his will. Later he is literally raped. He quickly becomes the victim and the heart of the film, a development which breeds enough questions and ideas that I'd need a dissertation to elaborate on them all. But the notion of female victimization is challenged, in particular the misogynistic notion that women must be victims and the misandrist notion that men are always tormentors -- and in true cinematic tradition, Vicente must become a woman to become a victim. Almodovar challenges both traditional and feminist preconceptions about rape and victimization; it's a fascinating and confrontational approach to the subject matter, and I really admire it.

(I'm hesitant to use "he", but I'm not sure how to approach that matter; Vicente clearly accepts the change he's experienced, but I believe he still identifies strongly with his former self and the life he had.)

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:58 pm
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Macrology wrote:
I thought of that ending as a possibility, but I don't know that I would have preferred it. The final moments of the extant one is perfect in many ways.

Also,

There is a moment in the revenge scene which makes this ending seem inevitable. When Vera/Vicente returns to the room with the gun and lube, just before Banderas realizes what's going on, we see how eager he is. And that eagerness brought the perversity of what was going on into sharp perspective for me, this situation which hearkens back to the misogynistic obsessions in Vertigo and Eyes Without a Face, but which takes them to another level of cruelty and self-delusion. What I found most touching about the film is how Vera/Vicente comes to accept the transformation which has been forced upon him (giving the title greater resonance), how he even improves and discovers himself in these conditions, and how he still yearns for what he has lost -- namely his freedom and a home where people love him. Reducing this to a case of Stockholm syndrome would be a disservice to Vera's/Vicente's character and the thematic complexities of the film.

Perhaps what I admire most about the film is its ethical standpoint and how it forces us to rethink certain expectations and cliches. We start out hating Vicente as a man; his encounter with Banderas' daughter is a mistake on his part, but one steeped in unfortunate circumstances, making it difficult to point fingers. The modern and feminist impulse is to demonize him regardless, but the film forces us to reconsider this assumption when he is kidnapped (a development we may initially celebrate), given a forced sex change (an act of literal castration and symbolic rape), and imprisoned and experimented on against his will. Later he is literally raped. He quickly becomes the victim and the heart of the film, a development which breeds enough questions and ideas that I'd need a dissertation to elaborate on them all. But the notion of female victimization is challenged, in particular the misogynistic notion that women must be victims and the misandrist notion that men are always tormentors -- and in true cinematic tradition, Vicente must become a woman to become a victim. Almodovar challenges both traditional and feminist preconceptions about rape and victimization; it's a fascinating and confrontational approach to the subject matter, and I really admire it.

(I'm hesitant to use "he", but I'm not sure how to approach that matter; Vicente clearly accepts the change he's experienced, but I believe he still identifies strongly with his former self and the life he had.)


Spot on. I agree completely.

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:50 pm
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great post.


Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:17 pm
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I really enjoyed Horrible Bosses but I'd never admit it. Charlie Day is adorable and very funny. Turns out Colin Farrell is great at comedy as well. Film is extremely under-directed, at least in any formal sense, but if guy's direction meant honing the performances then it doesn't matter. And hey, it was cowritten by the kid from Freaks and Geeks.

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:41 pm
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Trip wrote:
Turns out Colin Farrell is great at comedy as well.

Image

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:08 pm
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Colin Farrel is one of the funniest guys working right now

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:11 pm
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I've totally forgotten that film.

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:04 pm
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Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is a great joy ride.

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:15 pm
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hallway screen device sequence :)

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:56 pm
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Oh yes. :)

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:23 am
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That first like 40 or whatever minutes of El Dorado were so dry and confusing, but then it got back to alcoholic Mitchum in his coral-coloured shirt and it was like watching an inferior Rio Bravo, nonetheless an improvement on what came prior. Even the sherrif's office and jail set looked like the one from Bravo.

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:43 am
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Trip wrote:
That first like 40 or whatever minutes of El Dorado were so dry and confusing, but then it got back to alcoholic Mitchum in his coral-coloured shirt and it was like watching an inferior Rio Bravo, nonetheless an improvement on what came prior. Even the sheriff's office and jail set looked like the one from Bravo.
I believe it was. Hawks remade Rio Bravo twice.

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:50 am
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Quite-Gone Genie wrote:
I believe it was. Hawks remade Rio Bravo twice.

Is the other Rio Lobo? Decent?

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:26 am
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Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol (Bird, 2011)

Did the whole IMAX premiere thing last night. The most intense film I've seen in years, from start to finish. I was sweating during the Dubai sequence. Montana is like a breeding ground for good filmmakers.

Wanda (Loden, 1970)

Elia Kazan's wife had fantastic legs.

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:47 am
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dreiser wrote:
Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol (Bird, 2011)

Did the whole IMAX premiere thing last night. The most intense film I've seen in years, from start to finish. I was sweating during the Dubai sequence. Montana is like a breeding ground for good filmmakers.
And good Bullocks. I can tell you were really impressed, with no mention of either Seydoux or Patton. ;)

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:03 am
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Colonel Kurz wrote:
I can tell you were really impressed, with no mention of either Seydoux or Patton. ;)


:P

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:12 am
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Husbands and Wives-Solid Allen film, obviously doesn't touch Scenes From A Marriage, but very enjoyable still.


Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:51 am
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I like that one a lot

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:56 am
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Because of a "short wait" I received 2 Flix DVDs today.
Young Törless (1966) Volker Schlöndorff
Killer Kid (1994) Gilles de Maistre

Watched them both.

Enjoyable. Interesting. That kind of stuff.

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:10 am
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I like the scene where Judy Davis had a freak out when she was getting in the taxi.

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:25 am
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Ekinflog wrote:
Husbands and Wives-Solid Allen film, obviously doesn't touch Scenes From A Marriage, but very enjoyable still.

One of his most impressive, if I'm recalling correctly.

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:21 pm
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Reitman does the same thing in Young Adult that he did in Up in the Air, instead of fully fleshing out his protagonist and their consistent mindset and attitude throughout the film, he tidies everything up and veers into the whole "there is hope" for me trope. It's not an awful film, but very forgettable.

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:01 pm
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Wow, I'm thinking The Life of Oharu may be the best Mizoguchi I've seen yet. Not sure what to say that can't be said about all his masterful work... just so emotive, so tragic, cinematically virtuosic.

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:59 pm
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The Strawberry Blonde, lovely and smart.

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:03 pm
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plain wrote:
Reitman does the same thing in Young Adult that he did in Up in the Air, instead of fully fleshing out his protagonist and their consistent mindset and attitude throughout the film, he tidies everything up and veers into the whole "there is hope" for me trope. It's not an awful film, but very forgettable.


Your interpretation of the film is so different than mine. I really don't understand how you could get to that conclusion based on what you see on screen. And what's even more strange is that I don't feel it's very ambiguous at all.

The conversation between Mavis and the Sandra, the sister of Matt (Patton Oswalt), was reaffirming her inability to grow up and realize that she shouldn't be so vain. She stars as a despicable character and ends as a despicable character. Even with all that happened with Buddy, she still gets no real wake up call. She is still a contemptuous person.

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:07 pm
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Wait, Up in the Air didn't do exactly that either?


Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:08 pm
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Yeah, it's been a while, but I don't think the ending gives Clooney some tidy everything will be okay resolution, either.

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:10 pm
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I didn't particularly like it, but it wasn't quite "see an icy man's exterior melt away."


Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:17 pm
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meliorism wrote:

Your interpretation of the film is so different than mine. I really don't understand how you could get to that conclusion based on what you see on screen. And what's even more strange is that I don't feel it's very ambiguous at all.

The conversation between Mavis and the Sandra, the sister of Matt (Patton Oswalt), was reaffirming her inability to grow up and realize that she shouldn't be so vain. She stars as a despicable character and ends as a despicable character. Even with all that happened with Buddy, she still gets no real wake up call. She is still a contemptuous person.


Her writing that story at the end WASN'T a metaphor for her own life? That's how I took it..

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:28 pm
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So Contagion was real good. Felt a bit like Unstoppable to me, what with the constant information dissemination and internet age allegorical content. A fractured and anecdotal smattering of characterizations seems appropriate given the film's employment of the aforementioned internet age themes. Bits and pieces of larger life stories swept into the mixing bowl of international tragedy and paranoia.

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:13 pm
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So has anyone seen Margaret?


Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:51 am
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ADD wrote:
So has anyone seen Margaret?

rouge and meliorism, not sure who else.

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Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:47 am
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The Interrupters is a fascinating piece of journalism, insight into a world we've seen before, done with a fresh perspective and executed with a daunting sense of urgency.

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