Arts + Life

Arts + Life

Serious implications about the power of love spiced with a humor mastered only by the French.

Vive la Farce Fran?ais!

I enjoyed the 2 hours. Go figure! It's summertime!

Until hell freezes over! Well, some people say New York City is hell, so it's fitting that Roland Emmerich's ("Godzilla," "Independence Day") "Day After Tomorrow" features the freezing of NYC, and the whole northern hemisphere for that matter, as a result of global warming.

The sheer truth of a young couple trying to escape their tyrannical roots to be reborn.

The most disgusting movie of the year

The most disgusting movie of the year is "Super Size Me" because overindulging in fast food is inherently disgusting, and watching Morgan Spurlock do just that for 96 minutes is equally so. Spurlock spent a month eating McDonald's for three squares a day with unsurprising results.

An enjoyable and memorable blockbuster to complement a summer of real war and conflicted citizenry.

An unforgettable study of occupation and defeat.

That "Dogville" is unlike any other film in this century should satisfy the cinephiles.

The film relies like many other American offerings too much on special effects.

The credibility of documentaries and scientists is on the table here.

Having just seen Kaurismaki's dryly-witty "Man Without a Past," I couldn't believe that director Bent Hamer's "Kitchen Stories" is actually drier and funnier. The Norse/Swedish co-production depicts 1950's Swedes studying bachelors in their kitchens to improve their lives. Swedish scientist Folke, in a high chair like some infantile god, observes Norwegian Isak under the restriction that he must not interact with Isak.

Could we agree that this film should not be cloned?

It's a killer.

A memorably objective documentary and an uncommonly informative biography.

An existential comic book made into a movie!

Hell hath no fury like an "X-Files" type of film faithfully adapting a revered comic book with the darkly existential theme of "choices." Director Guillermo del Toro's "Hellboy" playfully brings to life the story of a demon from hell conjured by WWII Nazis occultists under the supervision of the legendary Rasputin and freed by US troops to fight ghosts and monsters for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense.

The Coens haven't dug themselves too deeply into the hole of an uneven comedy.

Throughout this Cannes-winning, almost docudrama, Van Sant turns our expectations upside down.

What's in the name of a place? Tombstone, Columbine? The former conjures up thoughts of heroic justice, the latter mass murder. Understanding the motives of Wyatt Earp or Dillon Klebold is not as easy as the place names; interpreting a film about either event as antiviolence is not easy either.

"Spartan" may be the best spy movie ever made by a practicing playwright/director.

"Touching the Void" is satisfyingly serious stuff.

"Touching the Void" is what successful docudrama should be: thoroughly accurate and terrifyingly dramatic. The accuracy comes from the narration by original climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates; the drama comes from British filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September--the terrorist attack on the 1972 Israeli Olympic team in Munich).

I found the ultimate stoner flick.

I found the ultimate stoner flick, "Starsky and Hutch," a nonsensical satire of the'70's TV show that is so sweet I might even suggest my 11 year old friend, Mariah, see it for a glimpse into the loose, lush, and lurid world her parents experienced at her age.

It's arid and slow.

The director has not asked any more of us than that we affirm life.

Like any top-rate documentary, applications to human nature and current events abound.

I do hope there is a heaven, so I finally can ask to see a life of Christ worthy of its subject.

I came into "The Passion of the Christ" an agnostic; I left a true believer in the power of marketing. Director Mel Gibson has promoted this film to all of Christendom and more, engaging the pope enough to publicize his alleged remark that the film shows the way it was.

"The Dreamers" is no shock despite its NC-17 rating.

If you're not shocked to see an anesthetized audience of young people watching Sam Fuller's 1963 "Shock Corridor" during the student revolts of 1968, then you may understand why Bernardo Bertolucci's ("Last Tango in Paris") "The Dreamers" is no shock despite it NC-17 rating.

The most imaginative lampoon of 2 societies.

When does strange become entertaining? When does satire become art? When does cartoon eclipse film? It all happens in writer/director Sylvain Chomet's French Canadian "The Triplets of Belleville." Bypass your Burton (Tim, that is) and discover that this film is the most imaginative lampoon of 2 societies in at least a decade, maybe forever.

"Miracle" is what American filmmakers do best.

"Seabiscuit" on ice? "Miracle" is what American filmmakers do best: a rousing true tale of an underdog overcoming insurmountable odds to win the prize. Director Gavin O'Connor's dramatization of the 1980 USA Winter Olympic team's victory over Russia's juggernaut champions for 15 years is even more exuberant than the horse race because the team represented the renewal of American spirit in times gloomy in the recounting. "Mighty Ducks" this is not.

The director should stick with the mumbling, overlapping dialogue of his great films.

I finally found a film about an artist that doesn't insult me.

I finally found a film about an artist that doesn't insult me. I want to see the artistic process unfold, feel the artist's need for inspiration, and see him struggle with making paints and finding light. All this occurs in director Peter Webber's "Girl with a Pearl Earring," the best I have seen about an artist.

Perfect for an agnostic.

Two superlatives apply to writer/director Patty Jenkins' "Monster": best actress and grimmest film of 2003.

We use our little symbolic toys to look at the films of 2003.

In 2003 actors dreamed about being politicians and politicians dreamed about being film stars. Filmmakers had a jolly time playing with reality, but then that is the stuff of which their dreams are made.

As we attempt to pull together significant films from 2003, we needed to decide what form of reality we should take: film critics? historians? or just our plain old grumpy selves?