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American lie

This Film Is Not Yet Rated investigates Jack Valenti’s legacy

Basehead of the class

Low-key yet brutal, Half Nelson is exactly the kind of movie Hollywood will never make. Notably, it's entirely cliché free. There's no deliverance for Dan Dunne (Ryan Gosling), an eighth-grade teacher whose raging crack...

Pedro’s progress

An incomplete retrospective charts Almodóvar's shift from outrage to profundity


With the simultaneous advent of personal computers and video games on a massive scale in the early ’80s, it was unsurprising that Hollywood tried to fit all things virtual into the exploitable framework of...

The slither king

Snakes on a Plane wrangler Jules Sylvester sssspeaks!


In its almost 27 minutes, Samantha Reynolds's Back to Life doesn't break down the history of taxidermy, but it does prod, stumble, and finesse its way into some memorably off-kilter portraiture, not to mention...

Fifteen, minute

Quinceañera celebrates details that summer blockbusters miss

Found in translation

John Byrum revisits The Razor's Edge and Bill Murray's dramatic debut

To hell with the world

One question that has swirled around Oliver Stone's World Trade Center is whether it is too soon to make a film about the WTC attacks. Survivors have compared their experiences to Bruce Willis movies,...

Stone’s throw

Should a movie called World Trade Center have a happy ending?

Swordplay time

The tug in the 2003 girl samurai flick Azumi between that J-cult of kawaii, cute — as embodied by the button-nosed, bee-stung-lipped assassin Aya Ueto, who resembles a pert Japanese version of Jessica Alba...

A flickering light

Frank Borzage: modest master of melodrama and more

Royal Fleischer

The journeyman director makes a killing at 10 Rillington Place


Last year I put the Uruguayan movie Whisky on my top-10 list and voted for it and its lead actress, Mirella Pascual, in many film polls, including Film Comment's and the Village Voice's. With...

Past ain’t past

History haunts Jewish Film Festival docs

Mortality play

Meryl (Justine Clarke) is basically the human incarnation of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, except without the "survival" part. As she rides the train home after her father's funeral, animated thoughts of fiery collisions...

Polly wanna rob ya!

The Unholy Three invades Silent Film Fest

Comedy with overbite

The indefatigable Jerri Blank takes it to the Bridge in Strangers with Candy


"My basic photography lesson is this: You frame the perfect composition, exactly like you want it, and then you step forward," says Larry Clark. "What that does is screw things up a little bit,...

Johnny bravo

Depp and company return for a savvy Pirates of the Caribbean sequel

Deadly cure

He may have the world's largest collection of Kim Wilde posters on his apartment walls, but caterpillar-browed Mr. Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu) is no kid in America: He's an aging drunk in Romania with a...

Steel crazy

Superman Returns basks in hero worship


What's a three-letter word for ejaculate? Whether 58 down in the May 28 edition of the New York Times crossword is meant as a noun or a verb is unclear, but I'm hoping it...

Torture Inc.

Michael Winterbottom goes where Hollywood won't: The Road to Guantánamo