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Film

'X-men-Origins: Wolverine' Can't Tell Which Story to Tell

Conflicting viewpoints and intentions and external issues beyond anyone's control culminate in a film that is an unfocused, inconsistent mess.

Recent
Television

Thrilla in Manila

Thrilla in Manila argues that the fight's promotions were so obnoxious, the race-class-and-gender politics of the sport so backwards and oppressive, that neither Ali nor Frazier could emerge intact.

Reviews

Sputnik Mania

Hoffman avoids the “talking head” approach and relies more on actual footage than modern interviews.

Dan Heaton
Film

Best Complexities in 2008

The most remarkable films of 2008 were small, smart, and complicated. While they're surely worth seeking out for their own pleasures, they also represent the sort of movies that will find theatrical releases even harder to manage in the shrinking economy.

Reviews

Defiance

Defiance's tendency to melodrama drags the rest of this ostensibly historical saga into a decidedly middling territory.

Television

Independent Lens: Operation Filmmaker

Operation Filmmaker brilliantly reveals how films, politics, and desires do their work.

Television

Independent Lens: Chicago 10

Opening the Fall 2008 season of Independent Lens, Chicago 10 revises old ideas -- about what constitutes history and documentary.

Reviews

Chicago 10

Where is our Chicago Ten? Where are our “conspirators”? Is Obama really supposed to fix everything? Can we really pretend that things are still getting better all the time?

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.

Film

Operation Filmmaker

Engaging, provocative, and often discomforting, Operation Filmmaker reveals increasing tensions between Muthana and his would-be benefactors, including filmmaker Nina Davenport.

Reviews

Chicago 10

You can't make this stuff up: Bobby Seale, bound and gagged in a Chicago courtroom. But there it is, again, in big, brightly colored animation, in Brett Morgen's Chicago 10.

Reviews

The Painted Veil (2006)

The Painted Veil uses its narrative limits to make its political case, that privilege breeds ignorance.

Film

The Omen (2006)

By the time poor Kate visits a shrink who embodies all the institutional and moral restrictions she faces daily, you're wanting everyone to jump off rooftops, preferably with nooses.

Reviews

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

Demme's movie reasserts that the fabled U.S. political landscape isn't transparent or democratic, but instead, corrupted by the individuals who manage it.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

The Manchurian Candidate draws a line between the corporation and the government, sustaining a hope that the U.S. system might be salvaged by an honestly free election.

Cynthia Fuchs
Reviews

Party Girl (1995)

As Parker Posey dances around the library to a club beat, Daisy von herler Mayer's songless musical is briefly in full bloom.

Jesse Hassenger
Film

The Sum of All Fears (2002)

Tom Clancy's novels and the movies they spawn have never had much truck with credibility.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

Kate & Leopold (2001)

Never mind that Leopold is clueless when it comes to actual labor or the concept of class; as long as he's upper, he has no need to know anything more.

Cynthia Fuchs
Reviews
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