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A Thousand Years Of Good Prayers Review

Director Wayne Wang has spent much of the past decade wandering in the wilderness of inconsequential fem-coms such as Maid in Manhattan and Last Holiday. With A Thousand Years of Good Prayers he returns to his indie origins. This is the Wayne Wang we admire: helming a small-scale story that is intimate in its scope but universal in its themes.

In a generic condo block outside of Spokane, Washington, elderly Chinese man Mr. Shi (Henry O) is reuniting with his adult and fully Americanized daughter Yilan (Fiehong Yu) for their first visit together in a long time. Although Mr. Shi is a stranger in a strange land, he is eager to improve his English and learn about American culture. Yilan, however, is having none of it. Though she goes through the motions of being happy to see her father, she is clearly distressed by his arrival, leaving him alone most of the time and dismissing his attempts at conversation. Something's not quite right between these two. As some critics have pointed out, there are echoes here of Ozu's gut-wrenching Japanese masterpiece Tokyo Story, in which elderly parents from the sticks come to the city to visit their grown children only to be patronized, ignored, and ultimately disposed of.

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The Basket Review

Very Good
It's Hoosiers: Episode 1, in this oddball period piece about the early days of basketball and its arrival in a small Washington farming village. The eccentric new schoolteacher (Peter Coyote) -- he plays German opera in class! -- also brings a game involving the tossing of a round ball into a peach basket. In order to raise money for farm equipment, the town pools together to send the local boys to play against the state champs. Lots of feelin' good ensues.

The Hangman's Curse Review

According to The Hangman's Curse, there are select citizens secretly commissioned by the government to investigate strange mysteries, crimes, and unusual occurrences across America. Working undercover, these people are known as The Veritas Project (Veritas is Latin for truth).

The Hangman's Curse, which is based on a novel by Frank Peretti, opens as Abel Frye--a troubled student in small town Washington state--hangs himself in the dark corridors of Rogers High School. Apparently Abel's peers teased him to the point where he didn't want to live any longer.

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