The Screener
Oscar Nominated Short Films 2009

Unlike stiff features like The Reader or even the wildly uneven Curious Case of Benjamin Button, this year's Oscar-nominated shorts program is pretty much a risk-free venture.

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Two Lovers: All Your Choices Are Bad Ones

What James Gray bravely does in Two Lovers is return the idea of pain, and the threat of bad decisions, to the American film romance.

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Taken: Daddy Tortures Best

Mill's towering righteousness is just too much for this weak little film, whose only interest is in affirming the white patriarchal prerogative.

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A Perverted Perception of Movies

The success or failure of The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema hinges greatly on what one thinks of Slavoj Zizek's free-range associations on desire, blood, human waste, castration, and social control in films.

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22 Jan 2009 // 8:59 PM

On the End of Every Fork

Our Daily Bread is a 21st century naked lunch in the true sense of what Burroughs meant, not a scattershot impressionistic sensory assault, but an eye-opener that can actually change the way one views the world.

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Slumdog Millionaire: All Eyes East

Slumdog Millionaire's Golden Globe win for Best Motion Picture/Drama is like a flare warning Hollywood about its future in cinema.

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8 Jan 2009 // 8:59 PM

Guerrilla Patton

Soderbergh's supersized retelling of the Che Guevara legend is an uncomfortable mix of war procedural and unabashed hero worship; ingenious but flawed.

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18 Dec 2008 // 8:59 PM

Exquisite Agony

This holiday season, Mickey Rourke (in The Wrestler) and Will Smith (Seven Pounds) suffer for all us sinners.

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11 Dec 2008 // 8:59 PM

Shameful Exposure

A fiery Kate Winslet saves morality tale in 'The Reader' while a similarly powerful Meryl Streep can't do the same for the overly certain 'Doubt'.

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Frost/Nixon: An Interview with a Vampire

Frank Langella seethes and pulsates with cunning as the deposed president in 'Frost/Nixon', a far cry from the grinning cowboy executive Josh Brolin presented in 'W'.

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20 Nov 2008 // 10:00 PM

Cut to the Whatever

Marc Forster's Quantum of Solace slices away nearly every element of the old Bond, and leaves nothing in its place.

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Dying on the Mind: ‘A Christmas Tale’ and ‘House of the Sleeping Beauties’

In the moody House of the Sleeping Beauties, an aging widower fights despair with a succession of naked beauties, while in the sprawling A Christmas Tale, a family bickers around their mother’s terminal illness.

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6 Nov 2008 // 10:00 PM

Keith Haring: Warhol, Jr.

The Universe of Keith Haring digs under the artist's pop veneer and goes all the way to the surface, finding some kind of meaning in simplicity.

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Robot Roll Call: Mystery Science Theater 3000

The 20th anniversary DVD release of Mystery Science Theater 3000 is less a greatest-hits package than a reminder of simple joys, like mocking lousy movies.

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23 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

Identities in Flux

Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York is performance art as civilization-annihilating Godzilla, whereas Eastwood's Changeling is a film that wins the stranger than fiction category, hands-down.

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16 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

Why, Spike, Why?

For all of Spike Lee's status as the eternal Young Turk, he's also a moviemaker who came of age just a few years after the brat pack of Spielberg, Scorsese, de Palma, et al.

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9 Oct 2008 // 10:59 PM

Irrational Exuberance

Watching Mike Leigh’s sublimely fresh Happy-Go-Lucky, you could be forgiven for wondering what the rest of humanity is so depressed about, anyway.

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2 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

In the Land of the Blind

Fernando Meirelles’ adaptation of Jose Saramago’s Blindness fails because the source material doesn’t easily lend itself to cinema, and because the filmmaker is clearly out of his depth.

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25 Sep 2008 // 11:00 PM

Pretty Vacant

The world of The Duchess should have been one of fiery tumult, but little of that foment makes it into this film’s garden party landscape.

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18 Sep 2008 // 11:00 PM

The Cold Season

Just when you start worrying about the state of American movies, and wondering whether the business is going to swandive into irrelevance, along comes something as vital and jolting as Frozen River.

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11 Sep 2008 // 10:59 PM

Women Without Men

Diane English’s version of The Women barely nudges from its Martha Stewart interiors, exchanging insights for platitudes. It’s a cup of lukewarm tea, without even a biscuit on the side.

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Are We Not Funny? Laugh, Damn You!

The problem with the (inexplicably popular) Tropic Thunder may be that Ben Stiller is just not a funny filmmaker. Not even remotely.

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//Mixed media

Robert DeLong Upgraded for 'In the Cards' (Rough Trade Photos + Tour Dates)

// Notes from the Road

"Robert DeLong ups his musical game with his new album In the Cards and his live show gets a boost too.

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