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‘Le Week-end’ forecast: 100% chance of confusion

In Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play “Waiting for Godot,” two bickering vagabonds wait for someone or something they can’t define and aren’t even sure exists. Some scholars have suggested that the travelers are waiting for God, but at least one of the bickering vagabonds in “Le Week-end” would…

April 13, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Estranged father and son change course in 'Nebraska'

Seven years ago, my wife and I got married in a town called Valentine, Neb. We chose it because of the name, but many couples from neighboring South Dakota choose it because the marriage-license fee is cheaper in Nebraska.

December 12, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Lesbian love story blurs art and erotica

Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart said he didn’t know the definition of pornography, “but I know it when I see it.” Mark Twain is credited with an early version of the quote, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.”

November 14, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

'Mother of George' imports African values to Brooklyn

At the wedding of Ayodele (Isaach De Bankolé) and Adenike (Danai Gurira), the gender-specific rituals, the ancestral language and the long, colorful vestments suggest we are in colonial Nigeria. But this is modern-day Brooklyn, a melting pot where assimilation simmers on the back burner.

November 14, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
'Prince' has wispy aspirations

'Prince' has wispy aspirations

Many young directors would sell their souls for a ticket to Hollywood, but few filmmakers have taken a career detour as extreme as David Gordon Green’s.

August 29, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
2 great actors infuse 'Unfinished Song' with life, naughty joy

2 great actors infuse 'Unfinished Song' with life, naughty joy

It won't be long before retirement homes are crawling with baby boomers. In the rec room, old hippies and old punk rockers will fight over the remote control, while by the pool, old bikers and old strippers will compare tattoos.

July 28, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
'Renoir' a lovely portrait of the legendary artist

'Renoir' a lovely portrait of the legendary artist

Photography - and thus filmmaking - is painting with light. The connection is illuminated in the lovely "Renoir," a twilight-years biography of the great French Impressionist.

May 23, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
'The Sapphires' treads lightly on plot but sparkles with fun

'The Sapphires' treads lightly on plot but sparkles with fun

Among the many ways that Australia's history mirrors our own is that both nations sent native peoples to reservations and sent soldiers to fight a futile war in Vietnam. Yet those two shameful episodes Down Under are the background hum for a calculated crowd-pleaser called "The Sapphires."

April 18, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
'Lore' is a rich description of postwar Germany

'Lore' is a rich description of postwar Germany

After the horrors of World War II came the horrors of reconstruction. The occupying armies divided the spoils, redrew the borders and brought the defeated foes to justice.

April 04, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
Gore is leavened with wit in 'John Dies'

Gore is leavened with wit in 'John Dies'

The body-horror genre is a niche within a niche, but the challenge of filming icky critters crawling from human bodies attracts ambitious directors.

February 21, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

By all means, see 'Sugar Man,' and don't research its ending

Before the Internet, shocker movies such as "Psycho" could build ad campaigns around preserving the secret of their endings.

October 04, 2012 12:00 amLoading…
'Sugar Man' a moving story of enigmatic US troubadour

'Sugar Man' a moving story of enigmatic US troubadour

Before the advent of the Internet, shocker movies such as "Psycho" could build ad campaigns around preserving the secret of their endings. But nowadays, even if conscientious critics invoke the term "spoiler alert," there are social-media knuckleheads who are eager to reveal that Bruce Willi…

September 20, 2012 12:00 amLoading…
'Farewell, My Queen' is a fresh take on the 'cake' queen

'Farewell, My Queen' is a fresh take on the 'cake' queen

One of the shrewdest movies of the past decade was Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette," which followed the French queen from girlhood to the guillotine as if she were the victim of her own privilege.

September 06, 2012 12:00 amLoading…
'Cat in Paris' like a brief, refreshing cartoon dream

'Cat in Paris' like a brief, refreshing cartoon dream

Pixar makes fine films, but in addition to life lessons, the company and its Hollywood competitors are teaching kids that all animated movies look alike.

August 02, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

'Footnote' has fablelike sweetness

It's a sly joke that a pivotal scene in the Israeli film "Footnote" takes place during a performance of "Fiddler on the Roof." Two Talmudic scholars - venerable Eliezer Shkolnik (Shlomo Bar-Aba) and his grown son Uriel (Lior Ashkenazi) - are seated at opposite ends of a row. Uriel secretly k…

April 26, 2012 12:00 amLoading…
Profile of 'Jewish Mark Twain' is intriguing

Profile of 'Jewish Mark Twain' is intriguing

If I were a rich man, I'd build a time machine so documentarians could capture footage from the era before motion pictures. Without it, many nonfiction filmmakers are forced to pan across still photographs a la Ken Burns or resort to talking-head interviews with authorities.

February 09, 2012 12:00 amLoading…
Images are striking, but 'Mixtape' lacks context

Images are striking, but 'Mixtape' lacks context

Fighting over the words is part of the problem. In the late '60s and early '70s, black/colored/Negro/African-American people embraced a pride/power/nationalist/separatist movement that left many of its soldiers/ spokespersons/leaders/ luminaries trapped in the Man's ghettos/prisons/tombs/suburbs.

November 03, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
Siren's story will titillate your inner 'Tabloid'

Siren's story will titillate your inner 'Tabloid'

There are three sides to most love stories: his, hers and the truth. But on London's Fleet Street, the three sides are his, hers and the tabloids'.

September 01, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
Romantically, 'Bride Flight' travels light

Romantically, 'Bride Flight' travels light

A caravan of marriage-minded pioneers was the premise of the sitcom "Here Come the Brides" and the musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." But the Dutch film "Bride Flight" is a melodrama set in a different place and time.

August 18, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
3-way friendship crashes in 'Heartbeats'

3-way friendship crashes in 'Heartbeats'

Three's company and two's a crowd in "Heartbeats," a love triangle with decidedly dotty lines.

May 19, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
'Winter in Wartime' more than boy's tale of heroism

'Winter in Wartime' more than boy's tale of heroism

One of the first adventure books that captured my imagination was "Snow Treasure," a classic true story about Norwegian children who outwit Nazi occupiers to smuggle a town's gold bullion to safety. "Winter in Wartime," another story about a young hero in a frosty clime, belongs in the same class.

May 12, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
'Certified Copy' frustrating but has its original moments

'Certified Copy' frustrating but has its original moments

Ordinarily, a new movie by Abbas Kiarostami ("Taste of Cherry") would be an opportunity to remind readers that Iran produces some of the finest films in the world.

April 28, 2011 12:00 amLoading…

James Gunn goes from 'Slither' to 'Super'

James Gunn, whose horror film "Slither" was one of the best-reviewed movies of 2006, is back in theaters this week with the vigilante satire "Super."

April 21, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
Goofy, ghastly mix in unsettling 'Super'

Goofy, ghastly mix in unsettling 'Super'

If you're skeptical about "Rainn Wilson, Romantic Hero," wait 'til you got a load of "Rainn Wilson, Psychotic Avenger."

April 21, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
Enigmatic thriller 'Housemaid' adds cool beauty to old truisms

Enigmatic thriller 'Housemaid' adds cool beauty to old truisms

The enigmatic opening scene of the South Korean drama "The Housemaid" will ring true for anyone who's ever been lost in an Asian metropolis. Above the neon welter of modern Seoul, as shoppers and kids riding scooters are distracted on their cell phones, a barefoot young woman steps out on a …

March 24, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
'Cedar Rapids,' a tribute to innocence, is funny yet respects heartland values

'Cedar Rapids,' a tribute to innocence, is funny yet respects heartland values

It's a question that still echoes through the small towns of the heartland: How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Cedar Rapids?

March 10, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
'Barney's Version' unsatisfying, but Giamatti as a jerk compels

'Barney's Version' unsatisfying, but Giamatti as a jerk compels

Most men in movies are jerks. The typical Hollywood hero is drunk, disheveled and disloyal. But if he looks like Bradley Cooper, all is forgiven.

February 17, 2011 12:00 amLoading…

Coppola explores off-camera stardom

ST. LOUIS - With "Somewhere," a Hollywood father-and-daughter story, Sofia Coppola has directed her fourth film in 11 years. That's more prolific than, say, Terrence Malick, who has completed four films in 38 years, but the modest output is a disappointment for those who expected Coppola to …

January 20, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
Filmmaker's ambition fulfilled, just not much for viewers to care about

Filmmaker's ambition fulfilled, just not much for viewers to care about

Lena Dunham surely wasn't the first college graduate whose dream was to write, direct and star in a movie based on her own life, but she may be the first to use a consumer-grade SLR camera and a cast full of family members to earn art-house screenings with paying customers.

January 20, 2011 12:00 amLoading…

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