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'Pan's Labyrinth' (*** 1/2)

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Posted: Friday, January 19, 2007 10:00 pm

I'm not usually of fan of self-important acceptance speeches in which celebrities get up on their soap box and tell us what we - the common folk - should be doing differently. However, at Monday night's Golden Globe awards, best actress winner Meryl Streep skillfully dodged the usual political rant in favor of a topic not often addressed by the Hollywood elite: the sub-par quality of films that somehow gain wide release while other, better movies are toiling in limited runs.

Among the films Streep mentioned was Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth," a dark fantasy film that is roughly 10 times better than the vast majority of recycled tripe being shown at the local multiplex. Unfortunately, you would have to travel to Sacramento in order to see it, as foreign language films that don't involve martial arts are apparently not welcome in chain theaters. But believe me when I say it's worth the effort.

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