Listen

Arts + Life

Arts + Life

..."Nemesis" turns on the idea that mankind must continue to look to the stars to carry on its mission of hope and love.

The titular bad guy of "Star Trek: Nemesis," a DNA copy of Captain Jean Luc Picard called Shinzon, wants to destroy humanity through Picard. This franchise has long mined the alter-ego, alternate-universe motifs to create havoc with its steely captains, so this one is no different.

This is music and learning woven through some of the most exciting pop music in the 60's and 70's. You don't believe me?

As I stood a while ago in Windsor looking across the water at Detroit's hollow Renaissance Center, I thought, "A renaissance about what?" I just didn't know that Eminem would soon help reshape music out of a bleak 8 mile slum, and I had forgotten Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, James Jamerson, and Ivy Joe Hunter would be but a few musicians who had renewed that city in the name of Motown.

Forget the Freud-this Potter is better than the first and first-rate fantasy.

When Prof. Dumbledore tells Harry Potter it's not ability that counts but the choices we make, I knew this series had to be more than magical cliffhangers strung together by 3 cute British private school chums. Then magically appeared other themes to me: the importance of loyalty and family, the wages of evil, disdain of class and hierarchies, and respect for worthy elders, among others.

Both filmmakers capture the desperation of good people on the edge of poverty who find love.

Mike Leigh has commented that his "All or Nothing" and other working class films are not documentary style although they aspire to the milieu of the documentary. He claims to heighten the reality of his characters by isolating them, for instance in their tenement where only the central characters seem to live. Leigh tries not to distract with other realities such as drug dealing or theft.

Every woman who thinks about her weight should see this movie,...

...hip-hop is an important cultural contribution even white boys can offer.

Like "Evita," "Frida" is a romantic treatment of a flawed but immensely interesting Mexican icon.

Any attempt to make a biopic of an artist is bound to be imperfect because I always want immediate access to the source of inspiration and complete art deconstruction of the artist's important pieces. Neither is possible in a film and may not be desirable.

Forget the laughs in Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedian"...

Forget the laughs in Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedian" because what you learn from this documentary is not how to construct a joke or how funny he can be. You learn about the pain involved in being a professional; you learn that going back to what you were before you made half a billion dollars is difficult but essential to make you better at what you are now.

The 50's never looked so good or so insidious as in Todd Haynes' "Far from Heaven."

The 50's never looked so good or so insidious as in Todd Haynes' "Far from Heaven." Julienne Moore plays a stereotypically Women's-League do-good mother of 2, Cathy, whose life starts the deep descent into hell with the revelation that her husband, Frank (Dennis Quaid), is gay and she is attracted to her black gardener.

Sony Pictures Classics Rated R

The success of the film, then and now, rests with the leads, and they failed.

"8 Women" is eight women short of the brilliant turn by one woman last year, Charlotte Rampling, in Ozon's superior "Under the Sand."

The film is filled with regular people making Asses of themselves about guns.

Michael Moore ("Roger & Me") knows no shame. In this funny, flawed, and ultimately important documentary about guns in America, "Bowling for Columbine," Moore's greatest moment is when he corrals poor Charlton Heston, president of the NRA, into an interview.

Pfeiffer does her best work here...

"White Oleander," adapted from Janet Fitch's best-selling novel, is hard and edgy about the bond between single mother and daughter, letting us see the reality of a strong artistic mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) tyrannizing her gifted daughter (Alison Lohman). After murdering her lover, mom goes to prison and daughter goes on an odyssey of self discovery in foster families, reminiscent of Burt Lancaster's episodic journey in John Cheever's "The Swimmer."

The story is slow, the dialogue trite, and nothing new has been added to the themes of father/son relationships and Mafia honor.

"Derivative without wit" is what I would call "Knockaround Guys." Blood, yes. Redemption--yes. Caring about anyone in this movie-No.

Four mobster sons descend on a small Montana town to locate a bag of cash meant for one of their fathers. Problem is, corrupt sheriff (Tom Noonan of "Manhunter's" Tooth-Fairy fame) plans to keep the $500K for himself and his deputy.

This "Red Dragon" is a second-rate "Silence" imitation and a poor remake of "Manhunter."

Director Brett Ratner's remake of Michael Mann's "Manhunter" is a vain attempt to capture the wide-eyed horror of the original and marry it to the genius of Jonathan Demme's "Silence of the Lambs." Because there is no better serial-killer story than "Lambs" in cinema history, Ratner's version is a lamb sacrificed silently on the altar squarely dominated by Demme and Anthony Hopkins.

...I witnessed one of the great comic satirists of our time.

Margaret Cho is a standup comedienne of surpassing talent, an American born to Korean parents. Her first theater release, "I'm the One That I want," treaded relatively softly on her bisexuality and established the imitation of her mother as a signature bit.

"Some Cupids kill with arrows, some with traps, " the poet once said.

The compilation of the eleven films, then screened, covered the full range of human emotions.

It was a somber evening in Toronto, the air heavy and moist with heat. The voices of those waiting outside Roy Thomson Hall were muted and subdued. The usual buzz of excitement anticipating the arrival of the limos full of world famous directors and stars was conspicuously absent.

Gabriele Muccinio's "The Last Kiss" is a rapidly paced bedroom romp...

...when people follow their hearts, much as their heads resist, everything will turn out happily.

Reese Witherspoon does a Meg-Ryan imitation in this typically-American romantic comedy about a successful NY fashion designer who must choose between a glamorous marriage to a handsome patrician or staying married to a charming redneck back home in sweet Alabama.

See this documentary to find out what the title means...you may never be sure you are getting the true story.

We can talk about Hollywood endlessly from our experience with its movies and the endless gossip in our media. Some of us even have family members in the business, but we haven't completed our education until we've seen the documentary of mogul Robert Evans's life, "The Kid Stays in the Picture."

"The Four Feathers" is old-fashioned moviemaking at its best.

"Rules of Attraction" proves romance just isn't what it used to be.

Roger Avery's "Rules of Attraction" has taken Brett Easton Ellis's social satire and not only depicted a degenerated privileged class at a fictional New England college in the '80's, but he has also ironically idealized the students' search for love and identity.

Sex and drugs are rampant while class attendance is rare. The parties are called pre-Saturday night, dressed-to-get-screwed, or the end of the world.

The film's ending will delight social anthropologists, and parents lose their grip on tradition,...

Ever the social realist and humanist, John Sayles ("Lone Star," "Matewan," for example) in "Sunshine State" has his most-balanced treatment today on the impact of time, history, and environment on the evolution of human habitation.

...it's not quite Shakespeare but close.

How many times have you heard this philosophy in film: "All I have is memory"? "The Fast Runner" is just such a memory film of the Iglooik people telling a 1000 year-old story of feuding brothers, unfaithful wives, and patricide most foul. The beginning voiceover says, "I can only say this story to someone who understands it."

Not even her much-watched body and his Chandler-Bing attitude can save this piece of Hollywood junk...

When is a movie worse than last year's David-Duchovny "Evolution"? When it's "Serving Sara," starring Matthew Perry and Elizabeth Hurley.

Not even her much-watched body and his Chandler-Bing attitude can save this piece of Hollywood junk probably no one but Paramount would take.

Yes, a surfing movie with some weight easily glides over the lame "Ya Ya."

Could teen flick "Blue Crush" actually crush "Divine Secrets of the YA YA Sisterhood" by saying more about the need of young women to strike out on their own? Yes, a surfing movie with some weight easily glides over the lame "Ya Ya."

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

Responding to my recent web review of "The Emperor's New Clothes," in which I praised the cinematographer's shot of a sunrise, a crew member gently wrote to me he and some other special effects people had worked a few weeks to create that shot. I felt like Michael Bay, director of "Pearl Harbor," who allegedly couldn't tell the difference between his original footage and the digital ones.

"The Good Girl" and Anniston do a remarkable job of depicting the lost life,...

Pages