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Film: Urban Ritual

Quinceanera is an intriguing look at a Los Angeles neighborhood's Mexican-American community

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Quinceañera uses naturalistic acting, realistic characters and actual urban settings to present a schematically developed story that reveals itself through too much talk and not enough palpa  

Film: Valley Boy

Director David Jacobson's Down in the Valley works for a while, then doesn't

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Down in the Valley is a cowboy movie where all the sodbusting occurs inside a 16-year-old girl's bathing suit. But this film accomplishes way more than just a little mismatched hubba-hubba -- it   

Film: Family Bonding

A talented ensemble of actors powers Little Miss Sunshine

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Little Miss Sunshine, a charming yet edgy road comedy about an argumentative family traveling from Albuquerque to a child beauty pageant in Southern California, is overflowing with fine performan  

Film: Short-lived Phenomenon

Once in a Lifetime traces the rise and fall of a soccer team

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Fronted in the mid-'70s by ultra-charismatic Brazilian superstar Pelé, the New York Cosmos were the heroic ideal for Yanqui kids like myself, who were only just then learning the joys of a s  

Film: Requiem for a Day

Oliver Stone's World Trade Center delivers a respectful look at 9/11

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 9, 2006
There's a perfectly good reason why disaster movies focus on just a handful of characters. It's a way of injecting intimate personal drama into a tragedy whose enormity is so great and whose ci  

Film: The Professional

Consummate character actor John C. Reilly relishes his first high-profile comedy, Talladega Nights

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 9, 2006
John C. Reilly has a familiar face, and not just because he's been in 39 movies over the last 17 years. He looks like the guy at the corner pub, an everyman with brown curly hair, a well-worn fac  

Film: Bad, Bad Girls

The Descent succeeds via strong women, while The Night Listener is an unaffecting mystery

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 2, 2006
"The notorious one ... I'm lightbeam, no stopping me ... I am a live wildness left behind." -- Maxine Hong Kingston, My Wicked Wicked Ways There have been memorable bad girls on screen. J  

Film: Young Wolves

The Heart of the Game is a rousing basketball documentary

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 2, 2006
Sports films are generally disgusting celebrations of insufferable clichés. But this one took me completely by surprise: I found myself actually caring about a bunch of kids playing basketbal  

Film: Gas Problem

Who Killed the Electric Car? investigates our dependence on gasoline-powered cars

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 26, 2006
As a mystery, Who Killed the Electric Car? is far more gripping, involving and fast-moving than The Da Vinci Code. And it's a documentary, to boot, the latest in a series of provocative ones ex  

Film: Road Dogs

Clerks II's Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson hit the road to discuss their signature characters

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 26, 2006
With the opening line of "Mama Said Knock You Out," the title track of his 1990 classic, LL Cool J delivered, "Don't call it a comeback/I've been here for years," an amazing knockout punch t  

Film: Blinded by the Muse

Woody Allen cranks out an unpolished vehicle for Scarlett Johansson

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Scoop finds Scarlett Johansson as Sondra Pransky, a nerdy and naive student journalist in London who's lured into the story of a lifetime. But only if she can prove that son-of-privilege Peter Ly  

Film: Home Again

Kevin Smith lets his freak flag fly with Clerks II

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 19, 2006
The flames engulfing the Quik Stop send the world into colorful relief. For fans of Kevin Smith's Clerks, the desecration of such hallowed ground will seem unconscionable, an outright attack on   

Film: Water Torture

Lady in the Water drowns via director M. Night Shyamalan's clunky storytelling

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Apologists for the categorically inadequate M. Night Shyamalan have their work cut out defending yet another cinematic killjoy from the "auteur" whose high box-office receipts do not reflect the  

Film: Where Is My Mind?

A Scanner Darkly deliciously mixes paranoia and reality

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Richard Linklater's films buzz with incessant talk. Whether riffing on The Smurfs, conspiracy theories, Aerosmith or Dostoyevsky, his characters yearn to express their idiosyncratic perceptions  

Film: Toothless

Sydney Pollack's documentary on Frank Gehry is a little too agreeable toward its subject

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 12, 2006
There's no in-between with architect Frank Gehry. People either love his free-form, expressionistic visions -- the curves, segments and layers, the designs inspired less by function than by objec