Archives for July 2009



Watching more horror movies is good for you
Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard and Isabelle Fuhrman
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

I laughed all the way through the evil child thriller Orphan. Was that a good laugh? Was that a bad laugh? I don't know. I never figured it out. All I can report is that I was laughing. When the little dark haired homicidal maniac forces a nun's car off the road and kills her with a hammer? That's depraved! When she asks her curly-haired kid sister to help her hide the body? Am I chuckling ... more >

Harry Potter: the Half-Blood Prince

We're back to hormoneville
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint
Directed by David Yates

I’ve always thought that if the evil sorcerers really wanted to finish off Harry Potter, they would just kill his friend Hermione. It would be such a cakewalk. People are so obsessed with the myth of Harry that nobody pays much attention to the brains of the operation. She does all the work. He gets all the credit. In countries where the Harry Potter books are less famous, the movie series is ... more >


Ich don't think so
Sacha Baron Cohen, Gustaf Hammarsten and Clifford Bañagale
Directed by Larry Charles

How will you know if Bruno is your type of film? Answer this question. How do you feel about a running gag involving an exercise bike converted for use as a super-dildo? Funny? Or obnoxiously revolting? Compared to Sacha Baron Cohen's breakthrough in Borat three years ago, Bruno is more outlandish, more perverse, more obvious, more rambling, more gag-oriented, more unfocused, much more ... more >

Public Enemies

That famous Michael Mann movie
Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard
Directed by Michael Mann

While watching Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, I was reminded of a particular character in Heat, the getaway driver who drops his day job on the spot for the slightest hint of a heist. That’s the essence of a Mann criminal – they really know nothing else. Such is the case with his version of John Dillinger, aced by Johnny Depp, born only to rob banks and die young. Mann fashions the infamous ... more >


And what about Israel's Arab citizens?
Dana Ivgy, Moni Moshonov and Ronit Elkabetz
Directed by Keren Yedaya

Newscasts and op-eds tell us plenty about the headache and heartache of the relation between neighboring and intermingled Palestinian and Israeli communities and the sporadic efforts to bring a solution to a problem that doesn’t have any good one. But we know less about Israel’s Arabs, second-rate citizens who actually live in the country. Keren Yedaya’s “Jaffa” uses this context to tell us the ... more >

State of Play

In case you missed it
Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams and Ben Affleck
Directed by Kevin Macdonald

Let’s be honest, no film experience is quite as satisfying as a good thriller—and “State of Play” is an excellent thriller, in the corridors-of-power genre. Set in Washington’s political world, it gives us the shenanigans and the dark doings that confirm everything we suspect from that particular area of human endeavor. Great, great acting by Russell Crowe. Ben Affleck’s congressman is ... more >

Les Plages D’Agnès

New doc from France
Agnès Varda, André Lubrano and Blaise Fournier
Directed by Agnès Varda

Noirmoutiers, in northwestern France, is an island when the tide is high and part of the mainland when it’s low. A quirky, peculiar place, then, where Agnès Varda, a major figure of the French New Wave, has made her home these many years. Varda now uses herself and her life to give us a documentary/memoir of her eighty years. The movie is light and whimsical, yet deep in its quiet insights, ... more >