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Manohla Dargis

Sleepless in Montmartre

Writing in The New Yorker some 10 years ago, critic Terrence Rafferty memorably declaimed that the absurd pop thriller La Femme Nikita was “the end of French cinema as we know it.” The line and the outrage behind it were both funny, intentionally or not, but they also said something......

Childhood’s End

Photo by Dale Robinette In the unsettling new film Donnie Darko, a teenage boy can’t figure out whether the world’s gone mad or he has. Set in 1988 against a backdrop of middle-class abundance — the houses are all big, the women thin — it was written by its talented......

Truly Sad, Truly Monstrous

A dream of the movies as well as a nightmare, David Lynch‘s newest film is a phantasmagoria of hot bottle blondes, cold-blooded monsters and all the things that go boo in your head. The time is the present, or maybe three weeks ago, or maybe tomorrow. The place is Los......

Born To Be Bad

Photo by Robert Zuckerman Training Day, a direly familiar story about a bad-to-the-bone cop and the gung-ho rookie who rides shotgun with him, is one of those movie equivalents of a freeway pileup — it’s a mess, at once insistently watchable and a total dead end. The film was directed......

Male Malfeasance

Why does Michael Douglas still insist on playing good guys? As his appropriately titled new film, Don‘t Say a Word, only confirms, it isn’t a persuasive fit. Douglas plays Dr. Nathan Conrad, a psychiatrist for the neurotically inclined offspring of Manhattan‘s elite who enjoys the perks of upscale living --......

Not a Movie

We go to the movies for many reasons — for the sheer love of movies, because we are bored or lonely or anxious, or perhaps because we simply need to get out of the house. As the events of September 11 unfolded before us, it became clear that we go......

Pauline Kael

Photo by Deborah Feingold Pauline Kael died last week at the age of 82. Her readers have always tried to figure her out, film critics in particular, and they’re still trying. As so frequently happened when she was alive, most of us have been trying to figure her out in......

Whole Lotta Love

Photo by Claudette Barius Good enough, funny enough, sweet enough — Rock Star is the sort of movie you don’t feel crummy about the next morning. Its pleasures are minor but guiltless and, for all the black leather, slashing guitars, and billows of teased and tortured hair, pleasingly old-fashioned. The......

Repo Men

Not long after the new ramshackle comedy from Kevin Smith lurches to a start, sometime after the 43rd use of the word suck and the 84th reference to giving and getting dick, this giggly, unambitious film kicks into gear as first one character, and then another, declaims, “Fuck Miramax!” Although......

The Last Movie

Apocalypse Now Redux Courtesy of American Zoetrope and Miramax Films I mean, the war is essentially a Los Angeles export, like acid rock. —Francis Ford Coppola The priciest cult movie to take Cannes by storm, Apocalypse Now has always been as famous for the excesses of the men who made......
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