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Manohla Dargis

Un Certain Disregard

Photo by Guy Ferrandis "WHERE IS THE RECTUM?!" AS AN ABSURDIST cri du cinéma and a possible festival metaphor, it was hard to beat this line plucked from Gaspar Noé's scandal-seeking Cannes competition entry, Irréversible. More shocking for its intellectual puerility than for its violence -- which includes a much-vaunted......

Identity Trap

Anyone familiar with the dire straits of American film distribution shouldn‘t have been shocked that no one wanted to chance a digitally shot feature about a Jewish Nazi. And, as it turns out, The Believer looks great on television. Jim Denault’s camera work, much of it hand-held and impeccably framed,......

Unhappily Ever After

Adrian Lyne, the English television-commercial director turned Hollywood philosopher of the bedroom -- and the freight elevator, the public restroom and the grubby stairwell -- knows that sex not only sells, it freaks us out. But since seriously and deeply freaking the audience is one sure-fire way to commercial perdition,......

I, Bug

AS PETER PARKER AWOKE ONE MORNING FROM uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. Unlike the hero of Kafka's great and unnerving story, however, the Queens teenager doesn't turn into an immense bug but an enhanced human, endowed with the strength and physical gifts......

To Live and Skate in L.A.

Jay Adams: Poetry in motion Tony Alva: Lighter than air Val Kilmer: Whatever kilmer, stephan vaughan From the minute the movie industry set up shop in Los Angeles, it began selling the city to the world. Nearly 100 years later, it’s still at it, even if these days moviemakers tend......

Good Work

Photo by Robin Holland IMAGINE: YOU WAKE ONE MORNING, a morning like any other, you drink your coffee, eat your cereal, brush your teeth, wash your body, dress, kiss your wife or husband or kids goodbye, then go to work. Or maybe you don't. Maybe, instead, you drive and you......

Music Drill

THE COVER OF ELFRIEDE JELINEK'S NOVEL THE PIANO Teacher hints at an intimate world of softcore pleasures -- a naked woman sits at a piano in high heels, a small clef sign tattooed on her backside. But the photograph is a tease, a con, for the world inside the book......

The Good Enough Thriller

In the new thriller High Crimes, Morgan Freeman gives one of his now-patented performances -- he’s loose, sly, at once watchful and unwatchful, stealthy as a cat. The first time we see Freeman, he‘s lying on a couch, dressed, with one hand behind his head and the other resting lightly......

Home Security

THERE'S A SCENE AT THE BRUTAL, BLOODY CLOSE OF David Fincher's Panic Room that's so terrifying it rips you out of the movie's fiction and into your own sinkhole of fear. For nearly two hours we've been following an endlessly clever variation on cat-and-mouse that's pitted a mother and daughter......

The Cruelest Month

Watching movies in March is a lot like shivering through the last days of a New York winter -- both are seasons of seemingly interminable desperation. As most of the country fights off seasonal affective disorder (SAD), filmgoers endure movie affective disorder (MAD) brought on, year after year, by exposure......
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