Author Archive

Critics Won’t Get It, But Sean Penn’s Perfmance in I Am Sam Is a Transformation; Altman Gets It All Right in Gosford Park

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts

Forget the hype for Ali, Black Hawk Down, Lord of the Rings, even Kandahar, because the news–the miracle–this movie season is Sean Penn’s performance in I Am Sam. It’s a transformation. Playing a mentally retarded man who goes to court to win custody of his seven-year-old daughter, Penn escapes the mawkishness of Jessie Nelson’s script [&hellip
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Opie Dumbs It Down Again for Us with A Beautiful Mind

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts

Before A Beautiful Mind, Ron Howard was the last director you’d expect to make a movie about intellection–and he still is. Howard takes the tortured life of John Forbes Nash Jr., the Princeton mathematician who went through a long bout of schizophrenia yet eventually shared the 1994 Nobel Prize for economic science, and turns it [&hellip
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The Perfect Timing, and Humanity, of Malkhmalbaf’s Kandahar; Use The Royal Tenenbaums As an Antidote to the Odious Vanilla Sky

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts

You want Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s new film Kandahar to bring the news, because for two weeks now Kandahar has been the Afghanistan city where U.S. troops have waged a costly fight. Instead, Makhmalbaf offers poetry–an artist’s truth (that may explain why Iranian film will never be popular in the U.S.). He starts with a personal hook, [&hellip
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Ocean’s Eleven Neither Razzles nor Dazzles; The Affair of the Necklace Is a Humorless Class Farce

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts

Big problem with Ocean’s Eleven: it lacks razzle. Steven Soderbergh writes and directs this 12-millionth heist film, knowing we’ve seen it all before (whether or not we actually have seen the bland 1960 Frank Sinatra rat-pack version), but he adds nothing that makes it genuinely new. None of the assortment of crooks who band together [&hellip
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Daring, Uncynical Wunderkind Wes Anderson; Demy’s Bay of Angels Examines What Love Really Is

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts

Anointed by none other than Martin Scorsese in a 2000 Esquire article, Wes Anderson (whose comedies are the temperamental antithesis of Scorsese’s films) has become a movie culture phenom. He’s many a film geek’s pet of the moment and the focus of "Wesworld," a tribute this Friday at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Never [&hellip
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In the Bedroom Is Lame, Its Characters Clueless

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts

"Llorando," Rebekah Del Rio’s Spanish a cappella performance of Roy Orbison’s "Crying" in Mulholland Drive, is hair-raising–even when you listen to it later on the soundtrack CD. It conveys American sorrow, the same subject poorly treated in the new Sundance-acclaimed movie In the Bedroom. Director Todd Field and stars Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson rely [&hellip
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The Return of Jacques Demy’s Lola Points Out the Moral Shortcomings of Films like Harry Potter

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Directed by Chris Columbus Opposite this week’s restoration-revival of Jacques Demy’s 1961 Lola (at Film Forum), the global industry surrounding Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone doesn’t matter at all. In fact, most movies pale compared to Lola; what’s special about its reappearance in film culture (with Winstar preparing [&hellip
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Punks Reflects Authentic Listening to a World Hollywood Usually Ignores; Linklater Hammers Us with Tape

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts

The title of Punks comes right out with it. Four black gay men defy the traditional homophobic putdown by putting it in your face. From the bull session heard under the credits as the quartet states its opinion of various sexy men ("Ricky Martin? La Vida No Ca!" "Method Man? Yes! I photographed him for [&hellip
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No One Could Have Guessed the Sit-Up-and-Take-Notice Greatness of the Coens’ The Man Who Wasn’t There

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts

I saw the Coen brothers’ The Man Who Wasn’t There and David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive before Sept. 11, and even at that time it was difficult to fit the films into a context. Both were more grave and adventurous than the current drift of American movies. Now that there is a context (facilely expressed by [&hellip
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The Art-Movieness of Fat Girl Is Preferable to the Maudlinity of Riding in Cars with Boys

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts

Fat Girl Directed by Catherine Breillat What Riding in Cars with Boys and Fat Girl have in common shows how utterly different Hollywood and Art movies can be. Both films are sentimental fantasies about female entitlement, featuring the feminist awareness of emotional abuse girls suffer within family and social structures. Pregnant at age 15, Beverly [&hellip
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