my week at the movies: ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still,’ ‘Doubt,’ ‘Nothing Like the Holidays,’ ‘Yes Man,’ ‘What Doesn’t Kill You,’ ‘Delgo,’ ‘The Tale of Despereaux,’ ‘Valkyrie’ (and on stage, ‘Equus’)

I mentioned in comments here how December for film critics is so insanely busy it feels like there’s no time to sleep. A week like this is what makes me feel this way. Today’s not so bad, as far as being jam-packed with screenings goes, except that today my first screening was at 10am, and … more…

best performances of 2004: ready for their closeup…

BEST ACTOR Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda It’s a role that, in the hands of even another very competent actor, could have descended into pathos and sentimentality, but Cheadle’s performance goes way beyond mere competence: As an Oskar Schindler-type figure in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, he approaches incomprehensible horrors in a way that makes us intimate partners … more…

totally quotable: best. lines. ever, 2004 edition

Here, in one place, the most quotable movie lines of the year 2004. They’re not ranked — they’re all great. [Warning: May contain spoilers.] [click here for the funniest bad snippets of dialogue from 2004] “Only people from the Bronx care about the Oscars.” –Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth), Beyond the Sea “I’ve never seen a … more…

Near Dark, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Once Bitten, Blacula, Love at First Bite, and Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter (review)

Of course, most respected anthropologists and biologists recognize that the New World Vampire, or *vampirus americanus*, differs greatly from the European species, or *vampirus continentalus*, but few films have recognized that the wide-open spaces of the U.S. produce a vastly altered creature than Europe’s dense urban spaces or intimate, if remote, medieval villages. But years before John Carpenter and the team of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez documented the vampires that dwell in the lonely stretches of the Americas, the criminally underappreciated ethnographer Kathryn Bigelow did it — spookily, grimly, hilariously, gloriously — with 1987’s *Near Dark,* in which a coven of nasty bloodsuckers roam the deserted American Southwest.

A Beautiful Mind (review)

Toss a coin: Which do you prefer: A Heartwarming(TM) tale of one man’s triumph over mental illness? Or one director’s biting off more than he can chew and falling rather flat on his face? Or one more mostly terrific performance from Crowe? No need to look for a three-sided coin — you get all three in A Beautiful Mind.