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      • Transamerica poster image

        Transamerica

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        In ?Transamerica,? Felicity Huffman of ?Desperate Housewives? pulls off a real actress? coup. She takes on an enormously complex role - a pre-op transsexual male named Bree traveling cross-country with a long-lost son - and gives a technically amazing performance. Huffman?s Bree is a first-class piece of acting in an amusing if sometimes tawdry-looking movie, a debut feature from writer-director Duncan Tucker that twists the ?70s road-movie genre in a few unexpected directions. We meet Bree n... (read more)

      • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire poster image

        Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        Unlike Peter Pan, that other magical airborne boy of British literature and film, J.K. Rowling?s Harry Potter just keeps growing up. So do the Potter movies, in size, in ambition and in visual splendor - and with increasingly stunning results. ?Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? is the latest film adventure for the bespectacled student sorcerer of Rowling?s amazingly well-imagined Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And it may be the best-filmed Potter of them all - though last year... (read more)

      • Pride & Prejudice poster image

        Pride & Prejudice

        Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

        Austen, Shmausten. Do we really need another ?Pride & Prejudice,? one more dance of misperception performed by Fitzwilliam Darcy, whom the world knows always as Darcy and never as Fitzwilliam, and Lizzie Bennet, whom Jane Austen once called ?as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print?? Each new adaptation of Austen?s three-volume novel, titled ?First Impressions? in its original manuscript draft, carries with it this stern question of need. And while it may be a decade old, the prist... (read more)

      • Wedding Crashers poster image

        Wedding Crashers

        Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune

        Along with ballroom dancing and Supreme Court vacancies, this summer marks the return of the R-rated comedy. After milquetoast laughers "DodgeBall" and "Anchorman," the guys formerly known as funny and currently known as powerful - a.k.a. the Comedy Mafia, a loose group of Hollywood heavy hitters - are going in for the kill with a bawdy, raunchy, sexed-up romantic comedy. "Wedding Crashers" stars capos Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as business partners and best p... (read more)

      • Yes poster image

        Yes

        Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune

        Writer/director Sally Potter's new film is spoken entirely in iambic pentameter - and that's not even its most exasperating feature. "Yes" is supposed to be a post-Sept. 11 meditation on power, religion, politics and ethnicity, all wrapped up in a passionate affair between two characters so representative of our human condition that they are named only "He" and "She." Or, at least, that's my guess. But "He" and "She" sure aren't me, and as muc... (read more)

      • Madagascar poster image

        Madagascar

        Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune

        DreamWorks' latest computer-animated film harkens back to a quieter, simpler time - when men were men and cartoons were two-dimensional talking animals, not E! talking heads. "Madagascar," with its intentionally retro aesthetic, shuns much of the street-savvy navel-gazing so crucial to DreamWorks predecessors "Shrek" and "Shrek 2." Those films made bundles but relied far too heavily on winks and nods, with No. 2 drooping under the weight of its own pop-culture pr... (read more)

      • The Longest Yard poster image

        The Longest Yard

        Kevin Williams, Chicago Tribune

        How many things are better the second time around? Candy bars? Vacations? All too often, "So nice it's worth doing twice" becomes "Man, whose idea was that?" Anyone subjected to the remake of "The Longest Yard" will be asking the same thing. The yahoos behind this Adam Sandlerized "updating" take the 1974 Burt Reynolds original about an imprisoned ex-quarterback and burn it in a sacrifice to the gods of high-volume ineptitude. The Albert Ruddy/Tracy Kee... (read more)

      • The Phantom of the Opera poster image

        The Phantom of the Opera

        Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune

        Depending on your predilection, the movie version of "The Phantom of the Opera" is about as good - or as bad - as its phenomenally successful stage original. Andrew Lloyd Webber's kitschy theatrical spectacle is now a kitschy theatrical movie, a mix of melodrama, horror, romance, mystery and melody heaped together into a cinematic smorgasbord, one heavy in starch. Surprisingly, to director Joel Schumacher's credit, this version doesn't suffer from its screen translation, and that's ... (read more)

      • Fade to Black poster image

        Fade to Black

        Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune

        Jay-Z's storied 2003 farewell concert at Madison Square Garden was supposed to mark the end of the beloved rapper's short but prolific career, one that included the formation of Roc-A-Fella Records, a rivalry with Nas, Beyonce rumors and a "60 Minutes" profile. It was to be, metaphorically, Jay-Z's funeral - what critic Kelefa Sanneh called "a memorial service disguised as a block party." Patterning a trajectory in the shadow of slain hip-hop legends Tupac Shakur and Notor... (read more)

      • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow poster image

        Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

        Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune

        When "The Lord of the Rings" conquered the Oscars, director Peter Jackson seemed to thank the nation of New Zealand, the site of the trilogy's breathtaking backdrop, more than the actors. If "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" wins awards, who will pioneering creator Kerry Conran thank? The municipality of Steve Jobs? Because, except for the real live actors, everything in "Sky Captain" was created on that wonder of wonders, the computer. Enterprising repor... (read more)

      • A Dirty Shame poster image

        A Dirty Shame

        Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune

        Though rated NC-17 for its sexual content, "A Dirty Shame" contains very little actual sex. After a four-year hiatus, the always-out-there writer/director John Waters is back with this awfully bawdy, never sexy, rarely funny, actually boring, one-note sex comedy. Inspired by a little-known and quite suspicious "fact" - that a sliver of head-injury sufferers find themselves with a heightened and uncontrollable libido post-concussion - the film tells of a sex-addict revolt i... (read more)

      • Howl's Moving Castle poster image

        Howl's Moving Castle

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        Hayao Miyazaki's "Howl's Moving Castle" is a great animated feature - and one made, obviously, as much for older audiences as very young ones. But this wondrous movie probably shouldn't be put in age brackets at all. It's perfect for anyone with a youthful heart and a rich imagination. Though highly reminiscent of the whimsical Japanese genius' last two films, 1997's "Princess Mononoke" and 2001's "Spirited Away," it's even more densely virtuosic. This new film t... (read more)

      • Vanity Fair poster image

        Vanity Fair

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        Mira Nair's "Vanity Fair" is beautifully directed and acted literary movie fare: a lusciously entertaining film that makes William Makepeace Thackeray's oft-filmed classic novel on unscrupulous 19th Century anti-heroine Becky Sharp come alive as never before. I love the novel and I loved quite a lot of the movie too. But it is missing something: a bit of the original Becky. Thackeray's resilient British vixen, who charmed and cheated her way (almost) to the top of British society, ... (read more)

      • Collateral poster image

        Collateral

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        Michael Mann's "Collateral," an expertly made thriller about an L.A. night ride with an immaculate hit man (Tom Cruise) and a smart, funky cab driver (Jamie Foxx), is really two movies: a taut, terrific, realistic crime drama and, by the end, an over-the top, high-tech extravaganza that tries to out-Woo John Woo and turn Cruise into another Terminator. That's a pity. Both parts are very entertaining, but I liked the first better, and I only wish Mann had gone all the way with the gr... (read more)

      • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban poster image

        Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

        Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

        Just as J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" represents a step in maturity beyond the series' first two books, director Alfonso Cuaron's film version improves upon its predecessors. This third "Harry Potter" movie shakes the candy coating off of the franchise without violating its spirit. Chris Columbus, who directed the first two, is skilled at assembling the elements and moving a story along, but he doesn't leave behind ideas that haunt or images tha... (read more)

      • Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle poster image

        Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

        Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune

        "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" will not win an Oscar. Directed by Danny Leiner ("Dude, Where's My Car?"), this stoner buddy movie is filled with raunchy, gross-out humor. It's immature, clunky and probably the best bit of groundbreaking social commentary we've seen in years. Yes, you read me right - years. Quite simply, the movie is about an Asian-American guy named Harold Lee (John Cho) and an Indian-American guy named Kumar Patel (Kal Penn). Harold and Kumar are bes... (read more)

      • Kill Bill: Vol. 2 poster image

        Kill Bill: Vol. 2

        Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

        "Kill Bill, Vol. 2" is the sound of a filmmaker in love with his own voice. For sure that voice is lively and distinct, which is what made "Kill Bill, Vol. 1" so watchable even as you suspected that it was more of a bravura exercise than an emotionally engaged piece of storytelling. But after spending an additional two-plus hours with "Vol. 2," you may be seeking a cure for cinematic verbal diarrhea. "Vol. 2" was supposed to provide the payoffs that &qu... (read more)

      • Mean Girls poster image

        Mean Girls

        Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune

        The biting teen comedy "Mean Girls" heralds the silver-screen big bang of two promising careers: actress Lindsay Lohan and comedy writer/actor Tina Fey. In one movie, Lohan ("Freaky Friday") goes from a Disney-sculpted actress to her own star, transported by "Saturday Night Live" head writer Fey's nervy comic script. Lohan stars as 15-year-old Cady Heron, whose childhood in Africa with her zoologist parents leaves her ill-equipped for the jungle politics of high ... (read more)

      • Shaun of the Dead poster image

        Shaun of the Dead

        Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune

        Following the success of "28 Days Later," this year's remake of "Dawn of the Dead" and the recently released "Resident Evil: Apocalypse," you would think the zombie genre has ambled its course. Think again. With "Shaun of the Dead," British filmmakers Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg have rolled out a gleefully gory, pitch-perfect parody of George Romero's zombie films. But this isn't a movie about other movies. "Shaun of the Dead" stands on its ow... (read more)

      • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind poster image

        Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

        Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

        Charlie Kaufman writes heady movies about the heart. His resume - "Being John Malkovich," "Human Nature," "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," "Adaptation" and now "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" - offers a trick bag of off-kilter views into the disgruntled male soul. "Eternal Sunshine" features another one of Kaufman's muttering, self-critical protagonists, Joel Barish. Unreformed extrovert Jim Carrey has the role, though he m... (read more)

      • 50 First Dates poster image

        50 First Dates

        Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

        As a rule, the more convoluted a comedy's setup, the bigger the laughs should be. An audience shouldn't be made to work too hard for a meager payoff. So watching the Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore vehicle "50 First Dates" is a flabbergasting experience. Here's a romantic comedy that mixes the premises of "Memento" and "Groundhog Day" yet spends most of its energy convincing you to take its absurd story seriously. That story is this: Hawaii-based sea-animal caretake... (read more)

      • Saw poster image

        Saw

        Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune

        Director James Wan's "Saw" is a nasty, nasty piece of business. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. Even for those with ironclad stomachs and eccentric movie tastes, Wan's tense, grisly cinematic morsel won't go down easy. But once it hits bottom, "Saw" is oddly satisfying, though the gag reflex never entirely goes away. Cary Elwes ("The Princess Bride") and Leigh Whannell (who is also the screenwriter) star as Dr. Lawrence Gordon and Adam, respectively, ... (read more)

      • Napoleon Dynamite poster image

        Napoleon Dynamite

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        "Napoleon Dynamite" may have been the surprise comedy hit of the last Sundance Film Festival - and its 24-year-old director/co-writer, Jared Hess, may be a helmer with a future - but that doesn't mean it will make you laugh out loud. It didn't tickle me much, anyway, though it did hand me a few smiles, and it may work for others. Hess, his co-writer wife Jerusha Hess and some buddies from Brigham Young University have imagined a screw-loose parody of the small Idaho city where Hess ... (read more)

      • Something's Gotta Give poster image

        Something's Gotta Give

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        XXXXX Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson play lovers in Nancy Meyers' smart new romantic comedy "Something's Gotta Give," and they disprove the rusty old saw that in movies only the young (or the heavily made-up middle-aged) can be sexy. "Something's Gotta Give" doesn't always sizzle, but its stars do. When they shuck clothes and pitch woo, they make convincing magic. Playing a pair of lovers supposedly past their prime - lecherous hip-hop record company owner Harry Sanborn a... (read more)

      • Elf poster image

        Elf

        Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune

        Writer David Sedaris launched his career in 1992 with "The SantaLand Diaries," a scorching, hilarious account of his brief career as a Macy's Christmas elf. Given the reaction to that story, which is still in regular holiday-season rotation on public radio and has been sold in book form, it's astonishing that Hollywood didn't move faster on this fertile elfin ground. While "Elf" doesn't have Sedaris (his sister Amy has a small part, however), it does have "Saturday Ni... (read more)

      • The Matrix Revolutions poster image

        The Matrix Revolutions

        Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

        "Jesus H. Christ!" someone shouts near the beginning of "The Matrix Revolutions," providing, in more ways than one, a succinct review of the movie. The exclamation could be an expression of incredulity at how far afield this "Matrix" trilogy has ventured, or a literal declaration of hero Neo's ultimately obvious role model. The original 1999 "Matrix" was the story of a seemingly ordinary guy who discovers mind-warping layers of reality as well as his ow... (read more)

      • Kill Bill: Vol. 1 poster image

        Kill Bill: Vol. 1

        Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

        There's no question that Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill, Vol. 1" is a virtuoso piece of filmmaking. What's questionable is whether it's more than that. He's been much imitated since his one-two punch of "Reservoir Dogs" (1992) and "Pulp Fiction" (1994), yet as you watch "Kill Bill, Vol. 1" (the story's second half, "Vol. 2," comes out in February), you realize that no one combines tension and release, violence and humor, dialogue and action an... (read more)

      • Lost in Translation poster image

        Lost in Translation

        Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

        In her brief career, Sofia Coppola has established herself as a remarkably intuitive director. While most directors use structure, plot and dialogue as their storytelling building blocks, Coppola seems to work through her material by feel. Both of her movies, her 2000 adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides' "The Virgin Suicides" and now "Lost in Translation," zero in on emotions and moods, making them uncannily vivid. She was able to capture the tricky tragedy-turned-misty-memory... (read more)

      • La Matrice rechargée poster image

        La Matrice rechargée

        Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

        For all of its cosmic ideas and much-imitated special effects and kung fu moves, "The Matrix" (1999) was a relatively contained story about a man who plunges into a new world and discovers his great, innate powers. Neo (Keanu Reeves) was Alice down the rabbit hole, Dorothy out of Kansas, Luke Skywalker finding his destiny, Superman moving faster than a speeding bullet and leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Although Neo has learned to fly like Superman in "The Matrix Relo... (read more)

      • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days poster image

        How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" is a would-be romantic comedy about modern New York City dating wars. That seems a likely subject for an entertaining big-studio movie, but though it's trendy and sleek-looking enough for a Giorgio Armani TV commercial or two, this picture's preposterous premise almost completely sabotages Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey and the rest of an attractive but doomed cast. Based on a cutesy, forgettable book of dating "don'ts" by Michele Alexander... (read more)

      • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers poster image

        The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" takes us back to J.R.R. Tolkien's land of myth and fury, and the return quest is even more staggering and marvelous than last year's maiden voyage. Concentrating on the middle book of the Middle Earth saga, Peter Jackson and company once again dazzle and delight us, fulfilling practically every expectation either a longtime Tolkien fan or a movie-going neophyte could want. Here is a movie, like "The Fellowship of the Ring," that's pa... (read more)

      • About Schmidt poster image

        About Schmidt

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        Jack Nicholson breaks your heart in "About Schmidt," a surprising achievement from an actor who became a legend in 1970s American cinema by regularly breaking another part of the male anatomy. But Nicholson here forgoes his youthful acting mainstays the wily joke and wild tantrum to craft something full of comedy and despair: a portrait of an old man who is face to face with mortality and the emptiness of a life near its end. We are a long way from the roguish Randle McMurphys and... (read more)

      • The Ring poster image

        The Ring

        Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune

        The best horror films can knock the wind out of you. They seep into your skin and make you suck in the same stale air as their characters when something as simple as a flashlight goes out in a dark attic. Too few thrillers do this, and even fewer appeal to your intelligence. But here's a horror film that breaks the recent horror cinematic dry spell. Gore Verbinski's "The Ring" is a pulse-pounding, white-knuckle chiller based on the 1998 Japanese cult hit "Ringu." Verbinski... (read more)

      • Spirited Away poster image

        Spirited Away

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        The pictures are worth a thousand words in "Spirited Away," Disney Studios' delightful English-language version of the Japanese feature cartoon that holds that country's all-time box office record. In this case, popularity is not an index of expensive hype. Writer-director Hayao Miyazaki's spellbinding tale of a little girl named Chihiro who's lost in an alternative world of tricky ghosts and bizarre monsters is both universally engaging and deeply personal. It's a movie full of bew... (read more)

      • Austin Powers in Goldmember poster image

        Austin Powers in Goldmember

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        Mike Myers, star and co-writer of "Austin Powers in Goldmember," can create such paroxysms of sheer tastelessness and obnoxiousness that you wonder if he'll survive his own movies. But he does. "Goldmember" is the third of his "Austin Powers" series, that string of cheerfully offensive James Bond spoofs about the dentally challenged, fatuously flirtatious, "shagadelic" transplanted 1960s British superspy Powers, and it's just as much of a happy mess as ... (read more)

      • Monsters, Inc. poster image

        Monsters, Inc.

        Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

        The main characters of "Monsters, Inc." are fantasy beasts who frighten children and capture their screams to use as fuel in the monsters' homeland. And they're the good guys. Given that Shrek was an ogre who disliked cuddly fairytale characters, we've obviously entered a new era for animated heroes, at least of the computer-generated kind. The "Toy Story" movies' Woody and Buzz Lightyear, after all, just wanted to make kids happy. Nevertheless, James P. Sullivan (a.k.a. &... (read more)

      • The Princess Diaries poster image

        The Princess Diaries

        Loren King, Chicago Tribune

        It's noteworthy that the family-friendly Disney film "The Princess Diaries" manages to wring some originality out of its fairy-tale plot. This freshness compensates for the expected hackneyed qualities in this Cinderella tale about an ordinary teen-age girl who becomes royalty thanks to the not-so-gentle persuasion of none other than the original Eliza Doolittle herself, Julie Andrews, whose winning performance in "The Princess Diaries" kicks the class quotient up several ... (read more)

      • Hedwig and the Angry Inch poster image

        Hedwig and the Angry Inch

        Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

        Most modern-day drag queens don't rock. They're more likely to be seen grooving to disco or lip-synching to ABBA or just generally camping it up. But the title character of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" isn't your typical drag queen. Having survived a botched sex-change operation (which left the "one-inch mound of flesh" that explains the rest of the title), married and been abandoned by an American G.I., moved from East Berlin to a Kansas trailer park and formed a rock band... (read more)

      • Moulin Rouge poster image

        Moulin Rouge

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        Grandiose and whimsical, packed with oddball delights and bursts of passion, Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge" is a rare picture that gets you intoxicated on the possibilities of movies. Luhrmann is a filmmaker of near-demonic energy and invention. He transforms the film's chestnut of a story a sensitive and penniless writer (Ewan McGregor) battles for the body and soul of a dazzling courtesan-entertainer (Nicole Kidman) into something mad and wonderful. "Moulin Rouge" is a ... (read more)

      • Shrek poster image

        Shrek

        Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

        With "Shrek," DreamWorks stakes its claim to Disney's cutting-edge animation crown while blowing a raspberry in Mickey Mouse's face. This computer-animated film, which mostly chronicles the title ogre's adventures in rescuing a princess, aims to be not just a kids flick but a sassy mock fairy tale that appeals to all ages and sensibilities. Leaving few of its swamp stones unturned, "Shrek" is alternately sweet and mean, sophisticated and vulgar, witty and base, dazzling an... (read more)

      • Pulse poster image

        Pulse

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        ?Pulse? is a modern Japanese ghost film from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa - a classy horror movie that avoids the predictable mayhem and gory cliches of most American supernatural shockers to summon up something subtler and more unsettling. It?s suffused instead with an eerie, queasy feel: the modernistic, technology-soaked dread that marks such contemporary Japanese pictures as ?Ringu? or ?Ju-On? (?The Grudge?), but also something beyond them as well. This is a ghost story in which, gradually, ... (read more)

      • The Last Waltz poster image

        The Last Waltz

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        Martin Scorsese's 1978 film of The Band's all-star farewell concert, "The Last Waltz," is the greatest rock concert movie ever made and maybe the best rock movie, period. Now being re-released with restored picture and sound, for the original concert's 25th anniversary, "The Last Waltz" is a movie that exactly fits the words of Bob Dylan, who helps close the show with "Forever Young." This movie and the event it records with such rapture and passion is forever... (read more)

      • Godzilla poster image

        Godzilla

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        What would the 1954 Japanese monster classic "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" be without Raymond Burr? As it turns out, it would be a much better movie, something you can confirm for yourself at the Music Box by catching the original version of "Godzilla," director Ishiro (or Inishiro) Honda's epochal tale of a post-nuclear sea monster's assault on Tokyo. Godzilla, of course, is the oft-copied, never-duplicated, gigantic scaly monster who, mutated into super-monstrosity by... (read more)

      • Eye of the Dolphin poster image

        Eye of the Dolphin

        Maureen M. Hart, Chicago Tribune

        As "Eye of the Dolphin" makes some jarringly contrived plot twists, a viewer can imagine writer/director/executive producer Michael Sellers listing his assets - teen star Carly Schroeder ("Gracie"), a Bahamian town and three dolphins - and pondering how to combine them for one movie. That's how it feels, at least, as we watch Schroeder, as alienated 14-year-old Alyssa, make the journey from a SoCal high school from which she's been suspended to an island town where the fat... (read more)

      • Kinky Boots poster image

        Kinky Boots

        Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

        Chiwetel Ejiofor plays a red-booted, show-stopping drag queen named Lola in the new British film "Kinky Boots," and it's a sensational performance. Ejiofor, the Nigerian-British actor who made a big hit in Stephen Frears' "Dirty Pretty Things," plays Lola - a 6-foot floozie chantoozie - as a big, warm, seductive homme/femme fatale. When he blasts out his stage routines, singing "I Want To Be Evil," "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" or (a perfect choice... (read more)

      • Ponyo poster image

        Ponyo

        Kenneth Turan, Chicago Tribune

        You'll be planning to see "Ponyo" twice before you've finished seeing it once. Five minutes into this magical film you'll be making lists of the individuals of every age you can expose to the very special mixture of fantasy and folklore, adventure and affection, that make up the enchanted vision of Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki. The great genius of contemporary animation, the only foreign director to win the Oscar for best animated feature (for "Spirited Away," which al... (read more)

      • Volver poster image

        Volver

        Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

        The pleasures of the new Pedro Almodovar film "Volver," and they are many, have less to do with deep wells of feeling than they do with mastery of craft and a magnificent sort of artifice. It's odd, since writer-director Almodovar's characters are nothing but feelings, whether repressed or exploded. But the director establishes a very sly degree of stylization here. The way he and his frequent collaborator, cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine, light, frame and fabulize their stars, it... (read more)

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