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Mao's Last Dancer

The title of Bruce Beresford’s film biography isn’t really evocative of anything in particular, even if it is the same as the autobiography on which it’s based. Li Cunxin (Chi Cao), the Chinese-born ballet dancer whose story is the subject of both, was arbitrarily pulled from his isolated rural life and made a student in Communist China’s Beijing ballet program during the last years of Mao Tse Tung’s rule. He was eventually sent off to study with the Houston Ballet, but that scarcely made him the dictator’s “last dancer.” The title also implies a stronger, more coherent political thrust than the film delivers. For the most part, it presents Mr. Li’s story as a personal saga of great gifts developed by great will, and through singular circumstances, over grave individual and social obstacles. Mao’s Last Dancer doesn’t ignore political contexts, but its emphasis is on the inspirational and on emotionally satisfying scenes.

Lovely, Still

Robert (Martin Landau), a lonely senior citizen working as a supermarket shelf stocker, comes home one December evening to find his front door open and a strange woman (Ellen Burstyn) in his living room. From this inauspicious start a relationship quickly develops.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

Owls? Really?

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