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The Albanian Candidate
Wag the Dog bares its teeth at the White House
, January 01, 1998
When was the last time the audience applauded a trailer and the movie lived up to it? Independence Day enticed millions with its preview shot of... More>>
1997, by the numbers: Our film critics' "ten best"lists
, January 01, 1998
Peter Rainer 1. Hamsun 2. L.A. Confidential 3. A Self Made Hero 4. La Promesse 5. Grosse Pointe Blank 6. Wag the Dog 7.... More>>
Cuddly or Crude?
As Good As It Gets aims for both. And misses.
, January 01, 1998
The ad line proclaims As Good As It Gets "a comedy from the heart that goes for the throat." Isn't this simply another way of saying, "You'll... More>>
Magic for Adults
The Iranian film Gabbeh weaves an old-fashioned tale
, January 01, 1998
There seems to be an unwritten rule in American cinema that adults don't go for original fairy tales. Fantasy, sci-fi, sure -- but it's a rare... More>>
Dinner and a Movie
, December 25, 1997
You knew it had to happen: When the Tinseltown and AMC 30 movie megaplexes sprang up complete with in-house coffee bars and pizza joints, it... More>>
Post-Pulp
Jackie Brown shows Tarantino looking for direction
, December 25, 1997
If Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown didn't arrive weighted with post-Pulp Fiction expectations, it might be easier to see it for what it is: an... More>>
The Devil and Woody Allen
, December 25, 1997
Woody Allen's Deconstructing Harry is a film made by a free man -- free, certainly, in a good way, and perhaps also in a not-so-good way.... More>>
Paying the Piper
Atom Egoyan asks who's to blame for a tragedy. But he offers no answers.
, December 25, 1997
With 1994's Exotica, Egyptian-born Atom Egoyan clinched his claim to being Canada's leading director. His new film, The Sweet Hereafter, should... More>>
Return to Sender
With The Postman, Kevin Costner fails to deliver
, December 25, 1997
It's been just two years since the Academy nominated the Italian film Il Postino (a.k.a. The Postman) for multiple Oscars, including Best... More>>
Meaning and the Movies
In a new book, film critic David Thomson shows himself at his best -- and worst
, December 18, 1997
It's an old joke, told by people who don't write criticism, that those who do are failed practitioners of the art they critique. With London-born... More>>
007 By the Numbers
Most of Tomorrow Never Dies lacks the wit and inventiveness of the best Bond
, December 18, 1997
Now that the Japanese Tora-san series -- with fiftysome entries in 30 years -- has presumably drawn to a close following the death of star... More>>
Schlock Poetry
Don't come looking for subtlety, but Titanic is a great big, romantic cornball success
, December 18, 1997
If one is in a Biblical frame of mind, the sinking of the White Star Line's R.M.S. Titanic about 400 miles off the southern coast of Newfoundland... More>>
Second Time as Farce
Scream 2 is as good a follow-up as one can imagine, given the difficulties of sequels
, December 11, 1997
Wes Craven's Scream, which opened almost exactly a year ago, was the surprise hit of an overcrowded Christmas season. In part, the success was a... More>>
Civics Lesson
Steven Spielberg's Amistad aims high, but oversimplifies
, December 11, 1997
Steven Spielberg's Amistad is being given the big picture treatment -- Schindler's List big, not Jurassic Park big. Last week's Newsweek featured... More>>
The Manic Professor
This antiquated vehicle becomes a showcase for digital effects
, December 04, 1997
First, The Heiress was unofficially remade as Washington Square, then Ace in the Hole as Mad City, and The Day of the Jackal as The Jackal. But... More>>
Send in the Clones
An artful director brings flair to the Alien franchise
, December 04, 1997
You can't exactly call Alien Resurrection a pleasurable experience, but, then again, you wouldn't say that about its predecessors either.... More>>
The Odyssey
Everything old is New Wave again in Godard's Contempt
, December 04, 1997
It's hard for anyone under, say, 35 to understand the impact that the so-called French New Wave directors in general -- and Jean-Luc Godard, in... More>>
Denatured Dixie
, November 27, 1997
In John Berendt's beguiling travel-cum-true-crime book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the people of Savannah (in Berendt's words)... More>>
Workers of the World, Unite in Song!
East Side Story explores Soviet musicals. Yes, musicals.
, November 27, 1997
Soviet film, whatever its glories, is not particularly remembered for its frothy musicals (or even, for that matter, for its comedies).... More>>
Outlaws in the Outback
Kiss or Kill offers an Aussie take on Bonnie and Clyde
, November 27, 1997
This Australian answer to Bonnie and Clyde, inelegantly titled Kiss or Kill, is the kind of film that carries you along even as you know exactly... More>>
War Story
All's more than fair in Welcome to Sarajevo
, November 27, 1997
In his 1993 book Sarajevo: A War Journal, the Bosnian journalist Zlatko Dizdarevic reported on an 11-year-old who was waiting in line for water... More>>
French Originals
A new film festival displays the latest in Gallic cinema
, November 20, 1997
Fans of French film haven't had it very good over the last decade or so. Where once U.S. distributors were happy to screen the latest in Gallic... More>>
Down by Law
Even Francis Ford Coppola can't make much of John Grisham
, November 20, 1997
John Grisham's The Rainmaker lulls you into the mindset you get while reading a bestseller at the beach. What a sad thing to say about a Francis... More>>
History in the Faking
Anastasia plays fast and loose with the truth
, November 20, 1997
Disney Studios has had a near-monopoly on feature animation for almost 60 years now, and near-monopolies are nearly as destructive as full-on... More>>
Howler
The Jackal is a dog of a movie
, November 13, 1997
A team of Russia-based international bad guys want to knock off someone at the very top of the U.S. government. Who you gonna call? The... More>>
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