Film Review

Fight club

Master documentarian Frederick Wiseman turns to the sweet science

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FILM Late in Boxing Gym, a pungent documentary even for Frederick Wiseman, an old-timer says something wise to his friend while lacing up. The friend doesn't see the point of analogies. Our man admits that some only work on an intellectual level, but insists that others make intuitive sense of abstraction — the right metaphor can make all the difference in getting a particular movement. It's hard to imagine that Wiseman would still be making his films if he didn't think the same held true for a motion picture sequence.Read more »

Hollywood ho-hum

Indie stalwart Henry Jaglom churns out Queen of the Lot

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FILM Some mainstream filmmakers grow so encumbered by the industry-within an-industry they've become that they profess yearning for those "small, personal" projects they started out with — often vowing they'll get right back there just as soon as they've finished the obligatory Behemoth IV: The Next Generation in 3-D. (Coppola actually did it; Lucas needs to stop saying he will until he actually quits finding new ways to commercially reanimate the charred remains of Star Wars. Meaning never.)Read more »

Highbrow-beaten

The King's Speech tempts Oscar

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Cash and Carrey

Gay romantic comedy I Love You Phillip Morris inches toward the mainstream

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FILM You had to forgive most of the gay press for getting a little too excited over Brokeback Mountain (2005). Oh, no doubt it's a great movie, or that the Oscar going to the fraudulent Crash (2004) said less about that film's virtues than a skittishness that other movie stirred. But its excellence and commercial success induced widespread bouts of wishful thinking in the form of announcing new trends that never came to pass.Read more »

Dance fever

Portman is prima in Black Swan

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FILM "Lose yourself," ballet company head Thomas (Vincent Cassel) whispers to his leading lady, Nina (Natalie Portman), moments before she takes the stage. But Nina is already consumed with trying to find herself. Rarely has a journey of self-discovery been so unsettling.Read more »

Darkest heart

Claire Denis' parable of postcolonial Africa

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Rock rolled

Danny Boyle's latest (127 Hours starring James Franco) is, as always, a change of pace

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FILM Danny Boyle is a director whose projects seem chosen largely to have nothing in common with anything he's done before. Mid-career at 54, he's been good at a lot of things. But what, exactly, is his ideal fit?Read more »

The Good Shepard

The Punk'd prodigy takes another big-screen stab in The Freebie

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Wall Street hold 'em

Inside Job indicts the financial sector's role in the economic crisis

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From here, cinema

"Radical Light" surveys a half-century of Bay Area alternative film and video

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I saw my first movie when I was four or five: it was a revival of 101 Dalmations (1961), and I liked it enough to ask my mother if we could sit through it a second time (we did). I saw my second first movie when I was 19: it was a nine-minute short by Bruce Baillie titled Valentin de las Sierras (1967), and after seeing it I knew film history must be full of secrets. Read more »