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"Heaven and Earth Magic" is a mere 66 minutes, but it seems like 66 hours. Fans of Terry Gilliam's cut-and-paste animation will be curious about this strange, symbolic Harry Smith film, but they're bound to be disappointed. Start with its stilted motion and dull, black-and-white, two-dimensional imagery (the action is shot against a dark background and feels almost like a photogram). Add a non-existent plot -- it apparently involves, um, chasing after an escaped watermelon? -- and an irritating soundtrack full of animal noises, crowd murmurs and sloshing water. No dialogue at all. Yes, this is a grim labor to grind through. Recurring visual elements include skulls, skeletons, birds, dogs, mallets, Victorian women and things being "oiled." The central character is a tiny, bratty man whose movements are so stiff and repetitive that you'll hope something will squash him. Unfortunately, this sweet relief never arrives.
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