Archives for November 2009


Bad Lieutenant

That's my story ...
Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes
Directed by Werner Herzog

Right, so last Saturday--and literally minutes after a friend left my house at midnight (we had Indian for dinner and watched 'The Soloist,' which I disliked just as much the second time around, for the same reason I disliked 'Forrest Gump'--I jumped in a taxi and traveled from Chelsea to Greenwich Village where my favorite theatre, the Angelika Film Center, is located. The popcorn is usually ... more >


The latest Oprah phenom
Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique
Directed by Lee Daniels

I could talk about Precious as a film, but it’s far more interesting to talk about the cultural impact of Oprah Winfrey. Derived from an Oprah Book Club selection called ‘Push,’ the arrival of Precious as a huge indie circuit hit and critical favorite is testament to her much-bowed–to influence. When Winfrey started her book club a decade, cultural observers were skeptical. Would housewives ... more >

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Dig the life fantastic
George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman
Directed by Wes Anderson

Smart. Witty. Cool. Hip. Imaginative. Different. And, like any good fox, sly. Those are the words that apply to The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson’s impressively retro journey into stop-gap animation. The film is a breakthrough for those thirsting for something other than CG animation. It is also a breakthrough for Anderson, who has been looking for a second act. The Fantastic Mr. Fox is ... more >


Focus on European cinema
Directed by Alain Cavalier

French director Alain Cavalier revisits his life with long-dead Irène, the wife who died in a car crash thirty-five years ago. To use the French qualifier for extreme self-centeredness, this is the “nombrilist” or belly button-focused “docu par excellence.” Cavalier, a thorough craftsman of much promise in the sixties and author of a number of good films uses voice-over, objects around the ... more >

An Education

The innocence of the young
Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard and Alfred Molina
Directed by Lone Scherfig

[SPOILER WARNING] I once wrote Steven Spielberg never creates an interesting moral dilemma that a boy in a helicopter can’t fly his way out of. I feel the same way about Lone Scherfig’s An Education, a film that repeatedly Medivacs its teenage heroine out of real complication and back to the Army Field Hospital for Conventional Wisdom. The film is the American Beauty of 2009, teasing us with a ... more >

The Concert

It went down at the Bolshoi Theatre
Aleksey Guskov and Mélanie Laurent
Directed by Radu Mihaileanu

Aleksei Guskov is one of the most popular Russian movie actors, having starred, according to the French press release of The Concert in more than 70 films. Mélanie Laurent, the violinist, we remember from her part in Inglorious Basterds. These two, and a number of French actors better known in France and of Russian ones presumably better known in Russia pull together, barely, the film The Concert ... more >


Does evil know it's evil?
Kerry Fox and Anamaria Marinca
Directed by Hans-Christian Schmid

The long-awaited trial by the International Tribunal at the Hague of Radovan Karadzic, one of the Serbian leaders responsible for the Bosnian genocide and accused of crimes against humanity has not yet taken off. Like his mentor Milosevic who actually died before sentencing—a death that in its timeliness, one might think orchestrated by the devil himself—the Serb uses every kind of loophole to ... more >