Gyllenspoon in ‘Rendition’

October 19, 2007
“Rendition” is anti-torture propaganda, but only in the most timid, abstract sense. Directed by Oscar-winner Gavin Hood (“Tsotsi”), the film shies away from the explicit side of its subject matter, never exposing its audience to the brutality of torture, never forcing them to go beyond their polite objections to that horrible practice. While it starts »

Assume the Position: Yale Political Union

October 12, 2007
Noah Mamis ’08 was in a corner — literally and figuratively. His inquisitors demanded that he name the three most influential philosophers in his life. He replied: “Zeno, Epicurus and Thomas Varnes,” the third being his high school Latin teacher. The Party of the Right was dissatisfied. Under pressure from his interlocutors, Mamis improvised by »

Gigolo Gere leads Bosnia ‘Party’

October 5, 2007
We’ve always trusted Richard Gere. We trusted him when he tried to pimp his girlfriend to a rich man in “Days of Heaven.” We trusted him when he decided to make a prostitute his girlfriend in “Pretty Woman.” Now, in “The Hunting Party,” we trust him as he foregoes girlfriends and prostitutes altogether and instead »

‘California’ can’t age gracefully

September 28, 2007
Rebellion failed in the late ’60s, and America eventually moved on. Filmmakers, however, did not, and they have spent the last three and half decades examining and reexamining the circumstances and consequences of those heady years, continuing to do so even in the present. Hence “Across the Universe.” Hence “Wattstax.” And hence “King of California,” »

‘Kong’ offers barrels of pathos

September 21, 2007
“King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” is a documentary about American squalor, failed dreams and “Donkey Kong” — the video game in which a plumber tries to save a princess from an ape. It is director Seth Gordon’s first feature film, and it is one of the best documentaries of 2007. The film tells »

‘Balls’ incites the ‘Fury’ of film buffs

September 14, 2007
While it claims to be a comedy about ping-pong, “Balls of Fury” is really a movie about frustrated love between the East and the West. At a time when Chinese and American relations are rising rapidly in importance, “Balls” sublimates the West’s fear-fascination of China in a slew of guilty, self-aware stereotypes. It is not »

‘11th Hour’ tree-hugging

September 7, 2007
Although its previews describe a film filled with hard-hitting facts and statistics, “The 11th Hour” is fundamentally a movie of emotion. Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, this documentary about man’s destruction of the Earth uses sweeping shots of nature, dramatic music (Enya-esque!) and interviews with intimidating authorities (including Mikhail Gorbachev, Stephen Hawking and Nobel Prize winner »

Goodfella was De Near-o

September 7, 2007
Amidst the insanity of shopping period, Robert De Niro’s recent visit to New Haven went almost completely unnoticed by Yale students. The famous actor was in town Tuesday and Wednesday, shooting scenes for “Righteous Kill,” an indie film that will costar Al Pacino and (wait for it) rapper Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent, who plays »

Life after ‘Harry Potter’

August 31, 2007
During their seventh year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, mortal enemies Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy are forced to share a common room. Although cold towards one another at first, the two rivals soon find that they have more in common than originally supposed — namely, a mutual love for the other’s supple »

Pretty Ricky slings some bad slow jamz

January 26, 2007
Beloved readers, a challenge! Try to figure which of the following are not lyrics from a Pretty Ricky song: a) “Now you on da phone, like damn I made a mess/ Got my hands in my pants, man I love phone sex.” b) “Work that muscle (muscle)/ You know what muscle (muscle)/ That p^$$y muscle »

King Hov’s ‘Come’ back

December 1, 2006
The coolest part about “Kingdom Come” is the case it comes in. It’s made out of some kind of special material. When you take the CD booklet out, the picture of Jay-Z’s head goes from not having a hat to having a hat and sunglasses. It’s so cool. But that’s the best part of the »

De la Soul mixtape offers nothing new

November 10, 2006
Need proof that mainstream hip-hop is bloated, lazy and hollow? A professional basketball player just released a full-length rap album and it’s better than what’s on iTunes’ Top 10 right now. Hip-hop needs to go through what rock went through in 1977 — the year punk burst full force onto the music scene and infused »