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The Stultifying Speeches of ‘The Monuments Men’

Theoretically an adventure film about saving the culture of the Western World from rampaging Nazi philistines, George Clooney's first serious misstep as a director is somehow both painfully serious and trite.

Recent
Film

The New Classics - The 30 Best Films of 2008

Unlike previous years, where classics came crawling out of the celluloid woodwork with regular reckless abandon, 2008 was more calm… and considered. That's not to say that choosing 30 top titles was hard. The difficulty in placing them in some manner of rank order suggests the actual depth of quality involved.

Film

OMG - The 20 Worst Films of 2008

There's bad, and then there's 2008 level bad. You know this list is looking down into a deep dark bottomless pit of cinematic despair when Mike Myers' shameful Love Guru didn't even make the Top 20!

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Off the Radar - The Top 30 DVDs of 2008

Oddly enough, while the major studios continue scratching their heads over how to sell yet another new format (Blu-ray) to disinterested consumers, several outside distributors made sure that this would be a digital year to remember.

Film

Celulloid Culpability - Top 10 Film Guilty Pleasures of 2008

Like comedy or music, one's choice in cinematic pleasure can be very personal - and very peculiar. Take this tantalizing list of shameful indulgences. You can argue over their artistic value, but their individuals rewards definitely speak to those who champion them.

Reviews

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

It's an inelegant but provocative means to measure Benjamin and Daisy's ostensibly transcendent connection: as he grows young and she grows old, they share but a single moment when their bodies and visions and hopes can easily coincide.

Film

Talk, Talk, Talk: December 2008

Just like the end of an inspiring speech that may or may not succeed in making its point, these final four weeks before 2009 tend to define or defeat the entire awards season purpose.

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I'm Not There, and Neither Are You

The Bob Dylan film, I’m Not There, shows that the main puzzle behind pop music’s most enigmatic personality resides right here, within us all.

George Reisch, Peter Vernezze and Paul Lulewicz
Reviews

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

It is a little surprising to see the silliness that leads to Crystal Skull's gargantuan climax, a series of antics simultaneously hyper and enervated.

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The Return of the Popcorn Circus: May 2008

In the first act of this four-part production, Tinsel Town decides to do some unbelievable front loading. Will there be room for independent offerings, or former HBO carnal comedy divas? Who knows? Without a doubt, it's an interesting way to start the season.

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A Gallery of Good Works: The Best Films of 2007

From Julian Schnabel's artsy The Diving Bell and the Butterfly to the legendary Coen Brothers splendid adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, PopMatters counts down the 30 best films of 2007.

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Performance Art: The Best Acting of 2007 - Female

From the most sweetly nuanced performance of Jennifer Jason Leigh's career to Cate Blanchett's revelatory portrayal of Bob Dylan in I'm Not There, the women of 2007 were stellar.

Reviews

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

The movie feels more superficial than significant, like it's stuck behind a pane of glass.

Reviews

Babel: Borders Within

As a director, Inarritu is kinetic, adventurous and deeply motivated by spontaneity of feeling. The new edition of Babel is worth getting ahold of for the extra feature documentary alone.

Rebecca Chang
Reviews

Babel: Lest We Be United

The great, overarching question one asks during a film such as this is: where is the light? At 143 minutes, this much sadness and tragedy becomes somewhat numbing.

Stuart Henderson
Reviews

The Good German (2006)

Instead of a deeply involving present-tense drama, we get an essay on how such dramas used to look and work.

Brian Holcomb
Reviews

Notes on a Scandal (2006)

Oscars – like secrets – can be seductive, and this little film means to tempt us. Dame Judi gives an absolutely pulverizing performance.

Jarrett Berman
Reviews

Babel (2006)

With a movie that encompasses international relations, broken families, personal epiphanies, romantic longings, painful secrets, and our constant aching need for human connection, Iñárritu might have bitten off more than he could chew.

Jack Patrick Rodgers
Reviews

Notes on a Scandal (2006)

As much as Barbara judges, you may find yourself in a quandary, not judging so much as taking pleasure in her vile, brilliant perfection.

Film

The Pay Off: The Best Film of 2006

For many of the movies on PopMatters' 2006 list of the year's best films, it is clear that a heavy personal and professional stake was riding on the final product.

Reviews

The Good German (2006)

The Good German's visual evocations of 1940s movies only underscore its many deconstructions, of nostalgia, heroism, and political coherence.

Film

Babel (2006)

Associated by instances of violence, the stories in Babel all concern children caught up in circumstances beyond their easy comprehension, while adults struggle to maintain some semblance of illusory order.

Film

Little Fish (2005)

Jacquelin Perske's script delivers Tracy's story in a series of snapshots, brief, highly detailed moments, comprised of close-ups or bits of dialogue.

Nikki Tranter
Reviews

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: Criterion Collection (2004)

'That's what the movie's sort of about,' observes Wes Anderson, 'self-invention, and making their own art, and all those things.'"

Cynthia Fuchs
Reviews

The Aviator (2004)

The Aviator portrays Hughes as a rebel and a genius, a dashing young man with ambition, hope, and nerve.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

Wes Anderson's film and Steve's filmed life creak a little, exposing seams and efforts to make sense of experience.

Cynthia Fuchs
Reviews

Coffee and Cigarettes (2004)

Coffee and Cigarettes is a return, of sorts, for Jim Jarmusch.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

Coffee and Cigarettes (2004)

Coffee and Cigarettes is a return, of sorts, for Jim Jarmusch.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

Coffee and Cigarettes (2004)

On its own terms, Coffee and Cigarettes is an effective addiction movie, self-indulgent but also familiar and low-key.

Jesse Hassenger
Reviews

The Missing

At the first moment you see Maggie (Cate Blanchett) on screen in Ron Howard's The Missing, you know this is one of those Cate Blanchett tough-girl projects.

Cynthia Fuchs
Reviews

The Missing

Maggie's toughness is surely enhanced by Blanchett's fabulous cheekbones and icy eyes.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

Veronica Guerin (2003)

Such moments illustrate Veronica's earnest incentive while undermining her hard work with crazily implausible coincidences.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

It's useful to remember that, offscreen, both good and bad tend to be tricksy.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

Heaven (2002)

Heaven begins with assorted ascents. Written by the late Krzysztof Kieslowski (with Krzysztof Piesiewicz), and intended as part of a trilogy (Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory), it explores accident and fate, guilt and grief, time and truth.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

Charlotte Gray (2001)

... challenges the national ideologies, nostalgia and idealization that have become so commonplace in popular cultural imaginings of the 'great war'.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

Charlotte Gray (2001)

The obvious reason for the glut of overly celebratory WWII films of the past few years is nostalgia for a time in American life when things like international politics and warfare were clear-cut.

Todd R. Ramlow
Reviews
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