Archives for September 2008


Goodbye Luke

Paul Newman leaves us

Actual stars may die, movie stars never do. Not the ones that shine as brightly as Paul Newman. His eyes were the bluest, his brilliant smile lit up the screen like no other. As for his film career, his roles jump at you, a criterion for distinguishing true actors from simply competent ones. The name Paul Newman starts an honor roll of great parts that only he could have done justice to. The ... more >

Parlez-moi de la pluie

A French instant classic
Agnès Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Bacri and Jamel Debbouze
Directed by Agnès Jaoui

The couple Agnès Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Bacri have brilliantly pulled it off again, after The Taste of Others and Look at me. The scriptwriting team of actors (married in real life) seemingly can do no wrong and Agnès Jaoui as director is blessed with perfect pitch. Florence (Jaoui), is running for office, her boyfriend is thinking of running away, period, to escape her cell phone and her ambition, ... more >


Based on the best-selling novel
Gianfelice Imparato, Salvatore Abruzzese and Toni Servillo
Directed by Matteo Garrone

Everyone is, alas, familiar with the Mafia. Tony Montana, Al Capone, the Sopranos, the Italian gang of Scorcese, Pacino, and de Niro have made Godfathers as real as our own. The Japanese Yakuza we have also vaguely heard about. Same with the Chinese triads or the Russian mafia. Far more secretive as organized crime goes is the murderous Napolitan Camorra. Roberto Saviano, a brave young ... more >

Inju: The Beast in the Shadow

Is there justice after all?
Benoît Magimel, Lika Minamoto and Shun Sugata.
Directed by Barbet Schroeder

It is not easy to review a truly horrendous film. For one thing, I know they exist out there but I don’t see enough of them to have determined a standard for the low point. For another, a corollary, there’s generally some redeeming feature in the worse films. Not in Barbet Schroeder’s Inju, however. It is just plain awful, an absurd thriller/horror story (the slash is particularly appropriate ... more >

Ghost Town

Time to review that dental coverage again
Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear and Téa Leoni
Directed by David Koepp

Do you know many people perfectly matched to their job? With Dr. Bertran Pincus, dental work fits his personality like a drill in a cavity. Without the Novocaine. For a misanthropic British crown maker, it’s always a gleeful moment when you can stick cotton in a person’s mouth anytime they try to start a conversation. Oh, the majesty of a good fluoride rinse. Be a dentist, indeed. As if living ... more >

The Duchess

Should've hired the American
Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes and Dominic Cooper
Directed by Saul Dibb

It’s fitting in The Duchess that, despite the obvious passage of years, no one seems to age. It’s a wonderful analogy for British film and the way it seems frozen in time. No film industry in the world more needs a swift kick in the knickers. If Martians landed and could only use modern films to assess British culture, they might conclude all Britons present are gangsters and all Britons past ... more >

Righteous Kill

The folks can still get around
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Carla Gugino
Directed by Jon Avnet

The real reason—perhaps the only reason—to watch Righteous Kill is the rare match-up of screen giants Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. While they are forever linked to one another in acting style, cinematic era and New York attitude, they actually have only appeared in the same film twice (The Godfather, Part II and Heat) and have only shared screen time in Michael Mann’s bank heist epic. Unless ... more >