Film

It’s a Mann’s World

Miami Vice the TV show (1984–89) gloriously celebrated surface. The producers chose vibrant colors, exquisite fashion, and cutting-edge editing over complex dialogue or suspenseful plots. Their choices drew millions to the small screen. In that sense, Miami Vice the movie is true to the original. It remains compelling for its breathtaking style.

Suspend My Disbelief, Please

Edward Norton usually looks pissed off, or as if he regards everyone else as a fool. Where Meryl Streep has a gift for crying while appearing to be trying hard not to cry, Norton’s rare moments of affection are leavened by a touching wariness, a disbelief that someone has penetrated his armor of pessimism and contempt.

Idealism on Crack

Lately addiction seems a frighteningly apt social metaphor. America’s oil jones has been publicly acknowledged by our president, himself an untreated alcoholic, but there’s so much more: we’re also addicted to compulsive shopping and corn syrup, to drugs from amphetamines to Zoloft, to cathartic violence.

Girls on Film

In The Descent, British director Neil Marshall (who also made the amazing Dog Soldiers) creates a seductive and terrifying universe of Jungian archetypes, traditional horror stereotypes, and bald, disarming, and haunting metaphoric struggles.

DVD Culture

Princes and Assassins

In Shakespeare, devious plots take planning, but to win over the one you love a single scene will do—even if you don’t speak a word of her language (Henry V), or you’ve just had her husband murdered (Richard III). Plays can be schematic like that. Movies usually can’t. So it’s hard to make movies out of plays, especially Shakespeare. Criterion Collection’s new box set Olivier’s Shakespeare brings together the three films with which Laurence Olivier proved it could be done.

New Maps of Heaven

It’s 2006—do you know where your planets are? In the same August week that saw the International Astronomical Union reopen our solar system’s boundaries, the Film Society of Lincoln Center unfurled the apposite series “From the Tsars to the Stars: A Journey Through Russian Fantastik Cinema,” perhaps the most venturesome attraction yet to fill the dog-days repertory slot long consecrated to sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.

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SEPT 2006

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