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Thursday, November 20 2008

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.


Thursday, November 13 2008

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.


Sunday, November 9 2008

I’ve Loved You So Long: Interviews with Kristin Scott Thomas and Philippe Claudel

Kristin Scott Thomas delivers the performance of the year in Philippe Claudel’s I’ve Loved You So Long, and tells Mazur how she did it.


Thursday, November 6 2008

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.


Thursday, October 30 2008

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.


Tuesday, October 28 2008

Blinded by Science

While Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a wonderful tale of a tortured man and his experiment, I’ll take Hollywood’s version of the block-headed monster any day.


Thursday, October 23 2008

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.


Thursday, October 16 2008

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.


Sunday, October 12 2008

The Secret Life of Bees

What could have been a brave film turned out lukewarm, lost in its own self-importance, stripped of its feminist overtones and watered down for mass consumption.


Thursday, October 9 2008

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.


Tuesday, October 7 2008

DIY: Takahiko Iimura

Takahiko Iimura read about the American underground film movement and began making experimental works based only on what he'd read. Soon he was a leading experimental filmmaker.


Monday, October 6 2008

Bukowski: What Lies Beneath

During the rare moments when Charles Bukowski's vulnerable side are shown, they manage to break through the "dirty old man" parody of himself that he had become.


Thursday, October 2 2008

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.


Thursday, September 25 2008

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.


Wednesday, September 24 2008

Retelling the History of Black Music: Bert Williams, Godfather of the Black Stage & Studio

Bert Williams in blackface started a conversation about representing blackness within a mainstream context that has continued through virtually every crossover moment in black American life.


Thursday, September 18 2008

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.


Wednesday, September 17 2008

Horrors in the Closet: Transgressing All Boundaries

David Cronenberg and Clive Barker constantly pushed the boundaries of representations of sexual identities, yet their films feel not condemning, paranoid, or xenophobic -- but alluring and fascinating.


Thursday, September 11 2008

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.


Thursday, September 4 2008

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.


Thursday, August 28 2008

Katrin Cartlidge: The Working Actress

Whether it was through silence, grotesquerie, fury or intelligence (or, at times, lack of intelligence), Cartlidge was not afraid to upturn the dark corners of the women she portrayed.


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