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The Amazing Pudding

Sunday, January 1 1995

Loser (2000)

All this said, I'm inclined to like Loser, because it wants so badly to do well by its college-age heroes, and there are so many movies that have exactly the opposite intention.


The Legends of Rita (2000)

But with asylum also comes a false identity and a new life devoted to hiding and secrecy: Rita (Bibiana Beglau) is given a new name and personal history -- a legend -- and must forever forfeit her life as a revolutionary.


The Little Vampire (2000)


Love & Sex (2000)

It's somewhat refreshing to watch a male character exhibit an immature sexual insecurity in the face of a more experienced female lover, and even more refreshing -- if not downright liberating -- to watch that female character refuse to apologize for her sexual appetites.


Left Behind (2000)

These are the questions that drive Buck Williams -- who fancies himself a relentless seeker of truth -- through the rest of 'Left Behind', a Christian fundamentalist film styled as a grade-B sci-fi action thriller.


The Low Down (2000)

Frank (Aidan Gillen) makes props for tv shows. It's not really what he wants to do. He's an aspiring artist in his late twenties, but so far he but doesn't have the ambition to move on. And so he survives, fashioning big clown heads and painting giant hands during the days, hanging out with his North London mates by night.


The Last Castle (2001)

What makes 'The Last Castle' worth talking about is something the filmmakers could never have foreseen: the alarming timeliness of its release.


Last Night (1999)

It's December 31, 1999 and the world is about to end in just six short hours. There is no explanation for this sudden demise. The film's opening shot looks down on Patrick (played by McKellar) as he lies sprawled on the floor gazing ceiling-ward.


The Luzhin Defence (2000)

It's disturbing that a movie adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's woeful tale of a Russian Chess grandmaster can be so trivialising.


Love’s Labour’s Lost (2000)

In the hands of able actors, Shakespeare's 'taffeta phrases, silken terms, precise, three-piled hyperboles, and spruce affections' are a passport to the land of milk and honey.


Liam (2000)

Sadly, and perhaps realistically, 'Liam' never fills in its silent spaces.


Life as a House (2001)

Unfortunately, it only thinks it's American Beauty, and instead, ends up being Regarding Henry.


Last Resort (2001)

'Last Resort' is a deft and moving study of displacement and self-discovery.


Last Orders (2002)


Lies (2000)


Limbo (1999)

Polar bears. Carved totem poles. Eskimo dolls on souvenir shop shelves. Salmon getting their heads chopped off on an assembly line. These are the images that welcome you to 'America's Last Frontier,' or more precisely, to the Juneau, Alaska of John Sayles's latest film, Limbo. As this opening sequence suggests, the frontier is less wild than it once was; nowadays, it's exploited and compromised, shaped and reshaped daily by routine and thoughtless violence.


Lantana (2001)

Proves that local storytellers no longer need loveable anti-heroes and a supporting cast of offbeat simpletons to get noticed.


The Luzhin Defence (2000)

It's disturbing that a movie adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's woeful tale of a Russian Chess grandmaster can be so trivialising.


The Lady Eve / Sullivan’s Travels (1941/2001) - PopMatters Film Review )

One gets the feeling that Preston Sturges shot his creative wad early on, then exhausted by fighting the suits' efforts to censor his work.


Lost and Delirious (2001)

Somehow, lesbianism (even girl-girl crushes or experimental sexual activities) is completely unheard of and so, much feared and mocked.


Light It Up (1999)

In the case of Light It Up, crossing-over occurs on several levels, not the least significant being the use of a famously hard rapper like Ja Rule to pitch a movie that argues against kids being hard. The slip-the-yoke-and-change-the-joke crossing over here comes in the soundtrack's brilliant marketing moves of the soundtrack crossover.


Liberty Heights (1999)

This sign, set outside a suburban Baltimore country club in 1954, appears early in Barry Levinson's Liberty Heights, establishing at once the irony of its title (the name of a suburban Jewish neighborhood where its protagonists reside) and the film's focus on the insidious workings of prejudice, ranging from conspicuous to subtle.


L.I.E. (2001)

PULL.


Legally Blonde (2001)

If you pay money to see it, 'Legally Blonde' presumes, you get the joke: all this foofiness is really just a way to sugar-coat Elle's steely resolve, admirable ingenuity, and fabulous moral fiber, and -- more importantly -- to indict the entrenched gender/class/race systems that put her in her place (on top, sort of).


Lady Vengeance (2005)

Lady Vengeance offers its characters what was missing in Chan-wook Park previous vengeance films: the hope of redemption.


Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale (2001)

'Keep the River on Your Right' is an exemplary piece of documentary filmmaking. Not only do the writer-directors narrate the life of a truly remarkable and complex individual, they also give Schneebaum much latitude in narrating his own life.


K-PAX (2001)

K-PAX trots out all the old cliches about humanity's barbarism, intolerance, and generalicky-ness. Yeah, we know, we're all a bunch of spoiled brats.


Kingdom Come (2001)

What the film does especially well is explore the perpetual strains and stresses of family relationships, especially with the added duress of scraping by, day to day, in an economy that shows no mercy. That 'Kingdom Come' does all this through comedy makes the exploration both more and less painful.


Kikujiro (2000)

Despite this familiar story, and the ubiquitous display of angels' pictures, angels' wings, and angels' bells, the film does not unfold as a predictable sentimental tale.


Kiss of the Dragon (2001)

'Kiss of the Dragon' belongs to that rare breed of Hollywood film that does some justice to the talents of Hong Kong crossover stars -- in this case, Jet Li and martial arts choreographer Cory Yuen.


Kissing Jessica Stein (2002)

Kissing Jessica Stein suggests that love and sexual attraction are not functions of gender or even a fixed-for-life self-identification, per se.


Keeping the Faith (2000)

The representative New York of Keeping the Faith lies somewhere in between the hyperreal absurdity of NYPD Blue and the boutique-chic, antiseptic Manhattan of Friends.


Keeping the Faith (2000)

The directorial debut of actor Edward Norton, Keeping the Faith wastes his considerable talents and those of his co-stars on a script that cannot hold many surprises for anyone who has been to the movies in the last quarter-century.


A Knight’s Tale (2001)

They hold this discussion against the backdrop of a couple of dead bodies, one hanged and still dangling, the other in a cage suspended from the same scaffolding. The meaning is clear: life (and death) in this time and place kind of sucks if you're not of 'noble birth.'"


Jeepers Creepers (2001)

If these characters are tedious, what is most annoying about 'Jeepers Creepers' is The Creeper itself. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer my slasher flick psycho killers to be decidedly human.


Jackpot (2001)

the imagery in 'Jackpot' is gorgeous, detailed, crisp, and just slightly heightened, in a video-grainy-grim kind of way.


Julien Donkey-Boy (1999)

A girlish figure skater glides across the ice, accompanied by a sorrowful Puccini aria. A young man (this is Julien, played by Ewan Bremner, best known in the United States as Trainspotting's hapless Spud) runs through snowy woods, his breath coming in gasps.


Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

'Josie and the Pussycats' is 'so' witless that I cannot imagine it finding an audience even in a country that made 'Tomcats' (this has been a bad month for films with cats in the title) a top-five grosser.


Just One Time (1999)

Janger and co-writer Jennifer Vandever's screenplay ultimately compromises its sexual politics in order to make the film both gay- and straight-friendly. And yet, 'Just One Time' still has an underlying appeal due to its terrific ensemble cast and Janger's talent as a director, able to handle the film's occasional shifts in tone, between the more serious moments shared by Amy and Anthony, and the lighter touches of comedy, such as the guys' excursion to the gay bar.


The Journeyman (2001)

With a final polish, 'The Journeyman' might be a feature debut as important as Robert Rodriguez's 'El Mariachi'. Kick ass.


Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

As demonstrated by artists as different from one another as Eminem, Blink-182, and Andy Dick, there are many jokes to be made at the expense of the current crop of pop stars.


Joe Gould’s Secret (2000)

Joe Gould (Ian Holm) is what they used to call a 'character.' You see him early in Stanley Tucci's film, scuttling into a diner where New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell (Tucci) is having coffee.


Joe Dirt (2001)

Are 'rednecks' funny? America seems to think so.


Jurassic Park III (2001)

Digital dinosaurs in digital stereo.


Jesus’ Son (2000)

The elegance of Maclean's film, however, lies i


Judy Berlin (2000)

In the movies, suburbia is usually plastic and colorful, familiar and pockmarked by Pier Ones, Burger Kings, and Walmarts, as well as American Beauty roses.


Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

Here's the short version of this review: 'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back' is a very funny movie.


Iron Ladies (Sa Tree Lex) (2001)

The movie serves up the surface layer of gay style, with none of the substance.


In the Mood for Love (2000)

A swoony, adult film of unexpected restraint, 'In the Mood for Love' shines with radiant color schemes and two devastating central performances, by Maggie Cheung ('Irma Vep') and Tony Leung ('Chungking Express', 'Happy Together').


Iron Monkey (1993/2001)

Fighters in 'Iron Monkey' don't float or glide toward each other. They rocket, bounce and whip.


Intimacy (2001)

Wordless sex suddenly seems more appealing than the nasty arguments that repeatedly erupt. "


I Am Sam (2001)

'I Am Sam' will not let these characters be: they must run the gamut of movie-of-the-week emotions... A to B.


Innocence (1999)

'Innocence' offers a brave take on love, fidelity, and sexuality that often flies in the face of traditional, age-defined preconceptions of all.


The Insider (1999)

Michael Mann's film The Insider is about blowing the lid of conspiracy off the tobacco industry. Although the film is ostensibly about one corporate produced addictive narcotic, that is nicotine, it is really about two, the other one being capital.


Italian for Beginners (2001)

Where 'Italian for Beginners' differs from other Dogme 95 fare is that its end isn't totally catastrophic. This isn't to say it has a happy ending, just that it doesn't end with the usual emotional wasteland littered by human wreckage.


The In-Crowd (2000)

The In Crowd's script, by Mark Gibson and Phil Halprin, is extremely predictable (to the point that Warners' request that reviewers not give away the 'film's ending' is a joke in itself).


I’m the One That I Want (2000)

In the film's most heart-wrenching moment, Cho describes how she lost all sense of her own identity in being so transformed into a commodity for public consumption.


In the Bedroom (2001)

The movie does not back down from the pain or rage it sets up.


The Hurricane (1999)

Hurricane. One word, one name, one man. One man whom I - and probably most of my generation - had never heard prior to seeing The Hurricane. His name is remembered, however, by members of his generation, most notably, celebrities.


Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

...reminds us that rock per se has a long history of celebrating alienation and ambiguity.


Hannibal (2001)

As his immense popularity suggests, there is something about Lecter that appeals to 'us', there appears to be some level on which 'we' all wish we could be a little more like him, which is precisely what the filmmakers are banking on. And this is, in the end, the scariest thing about 'Hannibal' -- its perverse worship of the cannibalistic Doctor.


Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

Hedwig and the Angry Inch's insight into the fluidity of gender is made all the more powerful by Hedwig's own attempts to puzzle through these conundrums. The film doesn't moralize, or try to give set answers.


The House of Mirth (2000)

Lily's detractors can use her slightest slip-ups -- for instance, smoking a cigarette or gambling at cards -- as weapons against her -- in her set, women's smoking is considered improper and even a sign of promiscuity.


Hardball (2001)

The fact that Hardball's Conor is white means nothing, of course, except that he's one in a long line of white characters who become 'better people' because they meet adorable, courageous, noble, and/or doomed minority characters.


Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages (1922/2001) - PopMatters Film Review )

Haxan is a documentary grounded in extensive research about the history of witches in Western culture.


Himalaya (2001)

The Himalayas themselves are the majestic 'stars' of this film.


Head Over Heels (2001)

Beware films packing the one-two punch of Freddie Prinze, Jr. as romantic lead and supermodels as objects of toilet humor.


Human Traffic (1999)

What ensues probably won't tell you anything you don't already know: ecstasy makes you chatty, affectionate, and thirsty, dance music is infectious, and young people, like adults, but by different means -- fight boredom with emotional rollercoastering and philosophizing into the wee hours.


Happy Accidents (2000)

'Happy Accidents' is either a sci-fi love story, or a love story in which one of the lovers is crazy.


Hollow Man (2000)

When he and the team are unable to reverse the effect and he's stuck in a transparent state indefinitely, Sebastian becomes not just mean, but insane.


Heartbreakers (2001)

Longtime 'Simpsons' writer and executive producer David Mirkin's predilection for wickedly witty cartoonishness is only slightly tempered in his live-action movies.


Highlander: Endgame (2000)

The Highlander series has these problems and more, being first a film franchise that started well and then went suddenly sickeningly wrong, then a syndicated TV show, and now again a film property.


Hamlet (2000)

Hamlet often speaks in a voice-over or directly to the video camera that he is rarely without. Sometimes we see the results of these 'video diaries' as he rewatches them on his monitor -- his own Real World confessional.


Hatari (1962/2001)

['Hatari'] reminds us as well that, as David Thomson observes, Hawks is 'the greatest optimist the cinema has produced.' He delineates a world in which men and women, humans and animals, co-exist and achieve an enviable degree of harmony and serenity.


Hearts in Atlantis (2001)

The nostalgia infusing 'Hearts in Atlantis' often makes the film infuriating, as well as just plain dopey.


The Hurricane (1999)

There's a moment partway through The Hurricane that may cause you to catch your breath. It's a cramped shot, as are most of those showing Ruben Hurricane Carter (Denzel Washington) in his New Jersey State Prison cell.


Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks (2000)

Gordon Parks' hollering is, of course, far from the usual. Elegant and intelligent, poignant and political, Parks' art encompasses a remarkable range of subjects and forms.


Holy Smoke (1999)


A Hard Day’s Night (1964/2000)

A smooth amalgamation of Richard Lester's intricate direction, Alun Owen's hysterical screenplay, and the natural charms of John, Paul, George, and Ringo, 'A Hard Day's Night' is a film perfectly of its time and perfectly timeless.


Ghost World (2001)

'Ghost World' is smart, sensitive, and insightful about the lunacy that constitutes adolescence, and never forgets how real and how complicated kids' feelings are.


Gossip (2000)

As metaphor, the film's extreme look, its architecture, camera angles, weather -- externalizes the characters' extreme emotional (and occasionally mental) states.


The Green Mile (1999)

ound dogs baying, wildflowers bending to the wind, angry white men in shirt-sleeves carrying shotguns, a swatch of cloth clinging to a tree branch. The details are all a little too familiar. You know you're looking at yet another recreation of the scary Old American South, specifically, you're looking at the set up for a lynching. This first scene of Frank Darabont's The Green Mile...


Gladiator (2000)


Glitter (2001)

The film's depiction of an ecstatic New York City might be its only strength.


The Golden Bowl (2000)

Adam (Nick Nolte) is introduced on screen with the title, 'America's First Billionaire' (this is the level of overstatement to which the film resorts repeatedly, not trusting its audience to follow even the simplest plot points).


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