Mondovino and the Future of Wine

04.20.2005 | Bret Csencsitz | Film, Food | 4 Comments
The French term terroir translates to soil but in the world of wine it also connotes the “old” ways of winemaking that is more expressive of the individual winemaker, his land, grapes and the fickle moods of Mother Nature. Big business, on the other hand, would prefer a reliable and consistent product with appeal to a broad market.

War, Unfairness and Film

03.16.2005 | Bret Csencsitz | Film
In Gunner Palace the camera at times becomes merely an expression of the footage as its operator is forced to flee and all we see is the whirling images from what otherwise might be an amateur video. The sounds of machine guns, shouting and running keep us aware of the immediate danger as we see only the chaotic images, unaware of from where the shooting is coming or why.

The Mismanagement of Hollywood

03.4.2005 | Jonathan Leaf | Film | 1 Comment
Does it continue to make sense to allow young performers to control their level of pay and their choice of projects from their first hit movie onwards?

A Look Askance at Sideways

02.28.2005 | Bret Csencsitz | Film | 1 Comment
Perhaps the uninitiated will find humor in silly depictions of an overly eager wine “aficionado” who knows the lingo but doesn’t understand the intention; all ceremony and no substance. But the metaphor is fingered and pulled thin. Think “Life is like a bottle of wine” and you’ll have the idea.

Marilyn's Earthquake

01.21.2005 | Michael Dorr | Film | 1 Comment
“[A salesman] don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell you the law or give you medicine. He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back—that’s an earthquake.” —Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

Wes Anderson and the Aesthetics of Autism

01.12.2005 | Jacob Siegel | Film | 4 Comments
Anderson's films are a valentine to his own uniqueness, their subject increasingly the Andersonian aesthetic itself. What began as honest whimsy has lately become so rich and thick it could clog the arteries.

Mom Always Looks So Young

12.1.2004 | Jonathan Leaf | Film | 2 Comments
Doris Day and Jeanne Moreau both turned down the role of Mrs. Robinson, in part because they thought they were too young for it.

Our Man on Sideways

11.22.2004 | Jonathan Leaf | Film
The Payne-Taylor accomplishments are large enough that we can already talk about them as against other heralded American moviemakers, past and present. After all, to have crafted four highly imagined, original and funny comedies for adults is to have accomplished a lot: especially if one of these, as the current one, may be a classic.

King Leer's Cheesecake Dreams -- Our Man Remembers Russ Meyer 

10.7.2004 | J.E. D'Ulisse | Film | 2 Comments
When Kirk arrives, he stands at the end of the street, framed in the eternal High Noon shootout shot. From behind the camera, two of the women, one on each side, walk into the frame until their collective derrieres consume it. It is magnificent.

The Affleckization of Hollywood

09.27.2004 | Jonathan Leaf | Film, Theater | 3 Comments
In Reindeer Games Affleck was so limp that audiences rooted for Gary Sinise's sneering, over-the-top villain, while in Gigli, he managed to be more cloddish and less engaging than a co-star playing a retarded person. And that's not to mention Paycheck, the most aptly titled movie in film history.

Our Man Asks Moore: Sir, Have You No Sense of Decency?

08.16.2004 | Jonathan Leaf | Film | 19 Comments
Once Joseph McCarthy had been shown to be the demagogic fraud that he was, the serious issue of Communist activity in the United States ceased to be taken seriously. Today, Michael Moore's equally scurrilous accusations have the same effect on the significant issues his films explore.

Our Man on La Dolce Vita

08.9.2004 | Jonathan Leaf | Film | 1 Comment
It's now fashionable to be a gossip-monger; it's a means of getting into the hip parties and trendy restaurants. Yet, when writing about the famous and dealing with their powerful publicists, the wise gossip is obligated to kowtow.

The Man Who Made a Star of Will Smith

08.2.2004 | Jonathan Leaf | Film | 1 Comment
"When I watch him now", Borowitz says, "he doesn't seem to me to be acting -- which, after all, is what you aim for."

Metallica Loves You

07.30.2004 | Richard O'Keeffe | Film, Music | 3 Comments
How could any thinking person endure such a barrage of feel-good do-goodery and psychobabble without killing? Luckily, Metallica's members lack inner lives.

Moore's Utopia

07.3.2004 | David Walley | Film | 9 Comments
The Right weighs in with Ann Coulter and P.J. O'Rourke types who view national and international affairs from the comparatively "enlightened" perspective of a high school cadet who, joint in hand, looks down from his perch on the bathroom sink to disparage the spirit committee's do-gooding, soft-minded liberal Democrats and their weak-kneed, New Age-demented neohippie spawn.

O'Keeffe on Spider-Man, Fathers and Power

06.29.2004 | Richard O'Keeffe | Film | 3 Comments
Disappointing a parent as a young man is a slightly killing experience.

Mugger Takes on The Day After Tomorrow

06.2.2004 | Russ Smith | Film | 2 Comments
Any attack in Los Angeles, even if didn't cost a single life, might dispel the entertainment industry's unspoken assertion that We're All Arabs Now.

Our Man On "My Architect"

04.12.2004 | Jonathan Leaf | Film
Few arts are so dominated by fashion as is architecture. When modernism came in, novelists, poets and painters with traditional approaches didn't lose their audiences. But a beaux-arts architect with the skill of Stanford White was out of a job by 1950.

Agnes Paterson on Hepburn's Oscars and the Emoters of Hollywood

04.6.2004 | Agnes Peterson | Film
The comic film is in much the same position as the comic novel; the comic actor and director is just as undervalued as the comic writer. Film criticism usually treats comedies as entertaining pablum for the masses, with no admission that such films can actually be art. Even the few writings which, ahem, treat comedy seriously are usually, to borrow a phrase from the great comic novelist PG Wodehouse, of the naso-labial variety.

Our A.R. Brook Lynn On The Hunt For a Modern Katharine Hepburn

04.2.2004 | A.R. Brook Lynn | Film
It's as though gaining ten pounds and allowing the make-up girl to cut your hair into a mullet is the modern analog to intelligence, wit, and breeding.

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