We <3 / miss u newspapers

April 24, 2009 • 0
If you haven’t seen the BBC miniseries “State of Play,” stop reading this and watch. It’s one of the most enjoyable and gripping programs ever put on TV. If you can’t get your hands on it, a new American remake, which turns the six-episode series into a 2-hour movie, is pretty good, too. The plot »

The new story of ‘Sin’

April 17, 2009 • 0
“Sin Nombre” is a gripping hybrid: part romantic melodrama, part gangland tragedy, part immigrant thriller. It is also a remarkable accomplishment for first-time director Cary Fukunaga, who journeyed to Mexico and Honduras to make a film that confounds our expectations and opens our eyes. Initially, the plot follows two separate strands. In the first, set »

So fresh, so ‘Clean’

April 3, 2009 • 0
It could have gone so wrong. The premise of Christine Jeffs’ “Sunshine Cleaning” — down-on-their-luck siblings start a business cleaning houses after people have died in them — is ripe for the kind of quirk overload that sinks many an indie darling. But unlike “Little Miss Sunshine,” which was undone by its wacky cynicism, or »

Not your Daddy’s mob

March 27, 2009 • 0
“Gomorrah” is one of the most depressing films I’ve seen in quite some time, but it is also one of the most powerful — a brilliant and fervently downbeat exposé of the Camorra, the mobsters who dominate the Italian city of Naples. It’s based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Roberto Saviano. »

What the Oscars got wrong

February 20, 2009 • 1
For everything the Oscars got right this year (all those nominations for “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Milk”), there’s even more they got wrong (13 for “Benjamin Button”). Jack Mirkinson surveys the damage. BEST PICTURE So, so many problems, and so little space. First off: this is the place to rage against the almost complete exclusion of »

An incomplete beauty

February 13, 2009 • 1
In the wake of the Israeli assault on Gaza, the arrival of “Waltz With Bashir,” which has been nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars this year, seems more timely than ever. Part animated documentary, part memoir-cum-acid trip, “Waltz With Bashir” looks like nothing you’ve seen before. The film took four years to make »

God save the happy

November 14, 2008 • 2
Although they’ve both come to our shores from Britain, Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky” and Guy Ritchie’s “RocknRolla” could not be more different from one another. One is a quiet chronicle of the life of a working-class woman, and one is a loud, hard sprawl through London’s gangster scene. More importantly, one is terrific and one is »

Mirkinson: ‘W’ goes nowhere, will be forgotten, sucks

October 31, 2008 • 0
Just as we get ready to elect a new president, “W” is here to remind us how insane the last eight years have been. Only some of the incredibly eventful Bush presidency is examined in Oliver Stone’s flawed attempt at what, in truth, is impossible: a comprehensive portrait of one of the most important figures »

America’s important-est home videos

October 17, 2008 • 0
Americans could be forgiven for forgetting about Katrina — after all, when’s the last time you heard either Barack Obama or John McCain mention it? “Trouble The Water,” then, could not be timelier. It is a bracing documentary about Katrina and its effects on an extraordinary group of New Orleans residents. It is also a »

‘St. Anna’ a very poor Spike

October 3, 2008 • 0
“Miracle At St. Anna” is a major disappointment. It was exciting to imagine what Spike Lee might do with a big, old-fashioned World War II movie, but he has bitten off much more than he can chew. Lee, always an inconsistent filmmaker, had been on an upswing recently. “Inside Man” was a lark of a »

‘Burn’ in hell, Coens

September 19, 2008 • 2
“What did we learn?” “Not to do it again … I wish I knew what we did.” These lines come at the very end of “Burn After Reading,” the Coen Brothers’ latest offering, and they are very apt. Here is a movie that spends a very daffy 96 minutes traveling in ludicrous loops and arrives »

‘2’ See or Not ‘2’ See?

September 5, 2008 • 1
‘Hamlet 2” is a shambles of a movie hurled from the screen with ten thousand seams showing. Tonally, it’s all over the map, and the plot goes nowhere we haven’t seen before. But wow, when “Hamlet 2” gets on a roll, it leaves you delirious (the friend I went with said he hurt his stomach »