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Reviews

“Perfume,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”

Article: “Perfume,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”

Oh the horrible things we will do in order to smell good. Tom Tykwer’s “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” reveals that the natural order of the world is nasty and stinky. Its main character, as the title suggests, is a homicidal perfumer who creates the world’s most intoxicating scent by killing beautiful women, covering…

Article: “Children of Men”

By Matt Singer IFC News [Photo: "Children of Men," Universal Pictures, 2006] I am jealous of you, reader. You haven’t seen “Children of Men” yet, and you don’t have any idea what’s in store for you. “Children of Men” is a great movie and I plan to see it again, soon and often. But nothing…

Article: “Home of the Brave,” “Venus”

By Matt Singer IFC News [Photo: "Home of the Brave," Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2006] All the words we like to think apply to our nation’s servicemen — honorable, noble, courageous — can also be applied to Irwin Winkler’s “Home of the Brave,” a coming home drama about a group of National Guardsmen back from a tour of…

Article: “Breaking and Entering”

By Matt Singer IFC News [Photo: "Breaking and Entering," Weinstein Co., 2006] Like a lot of movies lately, Anthony Minghella’s “Breaking and Entering” proposes that all rich, successful white people are, in fact, wildly miserable, and that the criminals who intrude on their seemingly perfect (but secretly terrible) lives are a great deal more complex…

Article: “The Architect,” “10 Items or Less”

By Matt Singer IFC News [Photo: "The Architect," Magnolia, 2006] A lot of movies feel too long. “The Architect” is the rare one that feels too short. These characters, and the emotions they stir up, can barely be contained in a movie just 81 minutes long. Filmmaker Matt Tauber may have bitten off more than…

Article: “Babel,” the new “Crash”

By R. Emmet Sweeney IFC News [Photo: Paramount Vantage, 2006] It’s the scariest time of the year, and not only because of the healthy release of arterial spray in “Saw III.” Yes, Oscar season is upon us, where Hollywood’s self-important social conscience rears its bloated head for a few looks toward relevance. After the embarrassing…

“The Marine” vs. “Flags of Our Fathers”

Article: “The Marine” vs. “Flags of Our Fathers”

That there could be two movies in theaters simultaneously of such similar bases and such divergent content is a testament to cinema’s enduring versatility, and its capacity for both brilliance and stupidity. “Flags of our Fathers” and “The Marine” are so perfect in their symmetry, they seem designed to inform each other. Both present dueling…

Article: Guy Maddin’s “Brand Upon the Brain!”

By R. Emmet Sweeney IFC News [Photo: The Film Company/Celluloid Dreams, 2006] Guy Maddin’s latest fever dream of a film, “Brand Upon the Brain!,” descended upon the Walter Reade Theatre on October 15 to close out the Views From the Avant-Garde section of the New York Film Festival. In tow were an orchestra, a team…

Article: “Imprint,” Takashi Miike’s snuff film “Rashomon”

By R. Emmet Sweeney IFC News Of all the bloody stumps and bared bosoms of the “Masters of Horror” series on Showtime, those depicted in “Imprint” were a bit too bloody and bare even for indulgent cable execs (the discarded fetuses were rumored to have been the tipping point). Banned from airing during the series’…

Article: “Stoned”: Sex and drugs, a little light on the rock ‘n’ roll

The musician biopic has come into its own, or at least a kind of middlebrow prestige, with “Ray” and “Walk the Line” scoring award nominations by molding their respective subjects’ lives into a standard narrative arc of troubled childhood/rise to success/drug abuse/redemption, with a hearty dash of half-assed psychoanalysis thrown mixed in. Early Rolling Stones…

Article: “Tsotsi”: Steal a baby, redeem your soul.

“Tsotsi” opens with a group of hoods playing dice. They bicker, one making a particularly compelling argument by slamming his knife into the table. The three turn to their leader, the title character (the name simply mean “thug”), who’s brooding by the window: “What are we doing tonight, Tsotsi?” And Presley Chweneyagae turns to the…

Article: “Night Watch”‘s New World Order

What does a Russian blockbuster look like? It turns out, a lot like an American blockbuster…mainly “The Matrix,” with plenty of MTV2 mixed in and a sporadic sprinkling of Eisenstein. Timur Bekmambetov’s “Night Watch,” made for an outrageous (in Russia) $4 million, may have been an unexpected and record-breaking hit in its home country, but…

Article: Midlife crisis indeed: “Transamerica” and “Far Side of the Moon”

“Desperate Housewives” is a grand camp feat, a show about female archetypes as dreamed up by gay men that has won over a nation that’s still supposedly hypersensitive about sexuality. And “Desperate Housewives” haunts “Transamerica” (for all that the show hadn’t yet taken off when the film was being made) not the least because it’s…

Article: “Millions”: Danny Boyle Takes On Children, Globalism

For the record, Danny Boyle’s theatrical gambits include a claustrophobic Hitchcockian thriller, a kinetic drug diary, an overblown fantastical romantic comedy, an uneven mainstream drama, and a postmodern zombie flick. This is not touching on the two broad comedies he made in his post-”Beach” lull, neither of which made it to US theaters, nor his…

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