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What has this got to do with the movie coverage in this week's issue? Well, nothing, except that this week I review The Raven, with John Cusack as a sleuthing Poe, so I happened to read "Valdemar" for the first time and really dug it. I'm just waiting for the right movie to come along that I can label "a nearly liquid mass of loathsome, detestable putridity." I probably won't have to wait long.
Also in this issue, we have a sidebar for Facets Cinematheque's ten-day retrospective on Romanian filmmaker Lucian Pintilie, and new capsule reviews of The Avengers, the latest Marvel Comics adaptation; The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a British ensemble drama with Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, etc; The First Season, a documentary about life on a dairy farm in upstate New York; Hit So Hard, a documentary on Hole-drummer-turned-drug-casualty-turned-dog-caregiver Patty Schemel; Keyhole, the latest exercise in recombinant movie magic by Canadian cult hero Guy Maddin; Sing Your Song, a documentary portrait of musical icon and all-around hell-raiser Harry Belafonte; and Surviving Progress, a documentary on the threat posed to humanity by its own technological innovation.
Best bets for repertory: Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989), Wednesday at Doc Films; Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel (1930), Sunday at Doc; Roman Polanski's Chinatown (1974), Saturday and Sunday morning at Music Box; Jack Hill's Coffy (1973), midnight Friday and Saturday at Music Box; Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978), Tuesday at Doc; Johnnie To's Exiled (2006) and Kim Jee-woon's The Good, the Bad and the Weird (2008), next Thursday at Doc; Ari Folman's Waltz With Bashir, Friday and Tuesday at Gene Siskel Film Center; and two programs of pioneering gay erotica by Bob Mizer, Saturday and Sunday at Nightingale.