Owen Wilson


Midnight in Paris: The Lost Generation Reborn

Satire is a reactionary art form powered by contempt for the present. Although Woody Allen, now 75, has always espoused conventionally liberal views, he's one of the last figures in American culture unaffected by the 1960s"€™ faux ...


Bridesmaids: Females Competing for Status and Laughs

Bridesmaids, the first female buddy comedy from producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up and countless others over the last half-decade), stars Kristen Wiig, that passive-aggressive skinny blonde on Saturday Night Live. It's been marketed to ...


Atlas Shrugged: A Hymn to the Overdog

Atlas Shrugged: Part I is the most universally despised movie of 2011, but I liked it. Critics hate this adaptation of Ayn Rand's 1957 cult novel for predictable ideological reasons, while Randites are embarrassed that their exalted ...


The Conspirator: Guantanamo Nay

Robert Redford's courtroom drama The Conspirator recounts the 1865 trial by a military tribunal of Confederate partisan Mary Surratt for her murky role in John Wilkes Booth's plot to murder Abraham Lincoln. Redford obviously intends his ...


Win Win: So-So

In Win Win, Paul Giamatti (perhaps best known for 2004's Sideways) plays a nice-guy lawyer, Mike Flaherty, who also coaches his old high school's wrestling squad. His family-law solo practice isn"€™t generating enough revenue to pay ...

Mia Wasikowska


An Agreeably Plain Jane Eyre

The latest movie adaptation of Jane Eyre is slowly rolling out nationally via art-house theaters, but the plot of Charlotte Brontë's three-volume novel remains wonderfully commercial. The spookily pale Mia Wasikowska (Alice in ...


Rango: Johnny Depp’s Peyote Western

The audience laughed hyperactively throughout the trailers for upcoming animated blockbusters. "€œDo talking-animal movies always have extra-long previews?"€ my wife asked. "€œYou can never have too many fart jokes,"€ I ...

Sir Tom Stoppard


Tom Stoppard: Baffling the Innocent Since 1966

Tom Stoppard's remarkable career stands as a puzzling rebuke to cynicism about show biz. Sure, audience-pandering, trend-surfing, and propagandizing can explain the vast majority of what the entertainment industry sets before us. Then ...


Unknown: Liam Neeson’s Descent From Alpha to Beta

Orson Welles once explained that he was, inevitably, what the Comédie-Française called a King Actor. "€œThey weren"€™t necessarily the best actors; they were the actors who played the king."€ Welles had to be cast as the ...

Keira Knightley


Never Let Me Go: Tea Time for Organ Harvesters

Although the movie industry is always accused of philistinism, filmmakers are often suckers for prestige novels. Richard Grenier, Commentary's renegade movie reviewer in the 1980s, pointed out a common type of bad classy movie: the ...

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