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Manohla Dargis

Ordinary Heroes

If you think the title sounds ominous, like an elegy to the late Beatle as sung by a children’s choir knee-deep in Beulah Land, consider the rest of Harrison‘s Flowers. There’s Andie MacDowell, a performer of light, brittle talent if excellent hair and teeth, plus earnest Everyman David Strathairn, best......

Mexican Hot Wax

HOW DO YOU SEDUCE AN AMERICAN audience, one that's lost the taste for subtitles and the pleasures of complex moral tales, into watching a foreign-language film with no stars, no familiar names, no recognizable way in? Well, you could start with the promise of flesh, of naked boys without an......

Boozers and Schmoozers

There are generally two types of boozers in the movies, visionary barflies and ordinary sad sacks. The barfly is the guy with the stubble, the one-sided conversation (always with a giggle and a weary, knowing shake of the head) and the constellation of piss stains adorning the fly of his......

How Neatly Spreads His Claws

“Go for it,” said the crocodile, “if I can do it, you can too.” Onstage before a packed audience, the crocodile swiveled its leathery head, basking in the hot television light of adoration. The crowd erupted in applause; moments earlier, when the crocodile had slithered behind the lectern, the audience......

Let It Flow

The Taiwanese film What Time Is It There? is awash in the effluents of everyday life -- the piss, the puke and especially the tears. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang, whose work generally flows and at times even gushes with wet emotion (there‘s a reason his 1996 drama is titled The......

Worlds of Wonder

© 2001 New Line Productions Cherished by fantasy fans and the now-graying habitués of head shops everywhere, J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic novel The Lord of the Rings has long existed in a pipe-weed haze of geek love. It was first published in the 1950s, becoming a cult first for bookworms, then......

High Hopes

Wes Anderson is an authentic original -- an eccentric and heretical talent. Now 31, he has directed only a handful of films, including an extended version of a short called Bottle Rocket and two other features, the oddball romance Rushmore and, now, The Royal Tenenbaums, about a family of former......

Nice ’n’ Easy

Photo by Bob Marshak Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven is pure fizz — a shimmering champagne bubble of a movie. Nominally based on the 1960 Rat Pack heist flick, the one with Frank Sinatra in tangerine angora and Dean Martin deep in his cups, the film is a remake but shares......

See Owen Run

The new military thriller Behind Enemy Lines takes as its very loose point of departure the story of NATO fighter pilot Scott O’Grady‘s Bosnian misadventures. Shot down by Serb forces in 1995, the pilot dined on grass and insects, dodged the enemy, and embraced the Virgin Mary before being scooped......

Just Mild About Harry

Photo by Peter Mountain In the latest installment in the ongoing and wildly lucrative adventures of Harry Potter — conqueror of bookworm children everywhere, scourge of literary lions and freaked-out Christians alike — the boy wizard has taken on the dragons of Hollywood and come out of it, well, a......
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