Bob Mondello

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Souls waiting to be selected for life on Earth sounds like a movie plot - right? - like a specific movie, in fact - Pixar's "Soul." Well, it's also the premise of "Nine Days," a live-action drama that was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival. Critic Bob Mondello says "Nine Days" took him a lot more than nine days to process.

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The band Sparks – really a duo, of L.A.-born brothers Russell and Ron Mael – is marking its fifth decade as a living enigma this year. As director Edgar Wright wonders in his new documentary, The Sparks Brothers: "How can Ron and Russell Mael be successful, underrated, hugely influential and overlooked, all at the same time?" (You can hear my review of the film in the audio player above.)

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Actor Samuel E. Wright, the voice of Sebastian the crab in Disney's "The Little Mermaid," has died. Wright was 74 and a stage veteran who had appeared in Broadway musicals and other films, as critic Bob Mondello remembers.

With Hollywood blockbusters still missing-in-action — it'll be weeks before A Quiet Place Part II makes your local cinema a less quiet place — it's nice to report that other countries are happy to fill American screens.

Scotland's refugee dramedy Limbo, opens in select art-house theaters this weekend, as does Cliff Walkers, a spy-flick from celebrated Chinese director Zhang Yimou, and both boast visual palettes eminently worthy of the big screen.

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