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Matt Zoller Seitz

War of the Words (photo)

War of the Words

For weeks now, I’ve heard fellow critics recommending Armando Iannucci’s “In the Loop,” a film about a verbal blunder that leads to an international crisis, as a pinnacle of screwball satire, a treasure trove of absurd situations and quotable lines, a “Dr. Strangelove” for the new millennium. I understand the fuss: the state of movie […]

Infinite Loop (photo)

Infinite Loop

What is cinema? André Bazin published a book of essays that tried to answer that question. But if somebody asked me for the short answer, I’d advise them to visit EternalMoonwalk.com. Seriously. On first glance, the site seems little more than a poignant goof: a tribute to the late Michael Jackson that draws its inspiration […]

Darkness Rising (photo)

Darkness Rising

From Bambi’s mother’s death to the destruction of Alderaan, every modern generation is cursed and blessed with its very own big-screen traumas. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the sixth film in the series based on J.K. Rowling’s fantasy novels, contains a doozy; that millions of readers know it’s coming won’t dim its power in […]

Gay Panic (photo)

Gay Panic

Sacha Baron Cohen’s improvisational prank film “Brüno” is a conceptual mess that’s satisfying as a lowball, turn-your-brain-off snot comedy, but deeply problematic as social commentary. It’s this last aspect, unfortunately, that made 2006’s “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” (and the character’s original TV incarnation) an object of debate. […]

New Wave and Old Guard (photo)

New Wave and Old Guard

“The only thing important is where somebody’s going.” That bit of existential wisdom comes from none other than John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), the soft-spoken, bank-jacking antihero of “Public Enemies,” Michael Mann’s latest epic about unhappy tough guys doing what they do best. It’s offered by way of flirtation, as part of Dillinger’s out-of-nowhere and all-out […]