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Manohla Dargis

All the King’s Men

In the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising. —Pauline Kael, 1973   Nearly three weeks after Titanic won 11 Academy Awards, the question that burns most brightly isn’t how much money the behemoth will eventually earn, but what the L.A. Times will......

Oy!

Being Jewish on the American screen has always meant suffering indignities, whether historical, as in The Life of Emile Zola, or hysterical, as when Sam Goldwyn (né Goldfish) forced Danny Kaye (né Kaminsky) to bleach his hair blond because, "Let’s face it, Jews are funny looking." Tough as it’s been......

The Man

Japanese director Takeshi Kitano's Fireworks is a funny, strange, elliptical, sentimental, intensely moving story about the absurd and violent poetry of everyday life, that begins, somehow fittingly, in a parking garage. The lead character, an ex-cop named Nishi played by the director himself, encounters a pair of workmen who've eaten......

Passion Play

MEAN STREETS Directed by MARTIN SCORSESE Written by SCORSESE and MARDIK MARTIN Produced by JONATHAN T. TAPLIN Starring HARVEY KEITEL ROBERT DE NIRO DAVID PROVAL and AMY ROBINSON Released by Warner Bros. At the Nuart, March 13-19 Looking at Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets again, 25 years after its initial release,......

The Brothers Freak

THE BIG LEBOWSKI Directed and written by JOEL COEN Produced and written by ETHAN COEN StarringJEFF BRIDGESJOHN GOODMANJULIANNE MOORESTEVE BUSCEMIDAVID HUDDLESTON and PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN Released by Gramercy Pictures At selected theaters The Big Lebowski is an amiable mess about L.A. and the importance of being nobody - an agreeably......

In the Flesh

The "queen of the nudies" buttons her green suede coat and orders the photographer back another 10 feet: After a lifetime behind the camera, director Doris Wishman is in no mood for pictures. In town last week to promote a screening of three of her films, including a fallen-woman cautionary......

Vengeance Is His

Best known here for Black Rain, his devastating shocker about the catastrophe visited on Hiroshima, Shohei Imamura is one of the greatest directors alive. Too bad his name - or the unforgettable cast of bosomy hookers, country gargoyles and other assorted lowlifes who people his 17 films - barely registers......

Bad Girl

Before there was Sundance, before there was sex, lies and videotape, Harvey and Bob and Quentin, there was exploitation cinema - the original independent film. Off-Hollywood in every respect, exploitation movies were born out of the hypocrisy and fear of a studio system that gave up creative freedom in the......

Days for Night

Before: Although most of the Sundance Film Festival takes place in the small resort town of Park City, Utah, festival films are shown in the state capital, Salt Lake City, throughout the week, including the opening-night selection, Sliding Doors. Written and directed by first-timer Peter Howitt, the Miramax release stars......
LA Weekly