The Upside of Anger

Let's get the griping out of the way first, shall we? Writer/director Mike Binder structures The Upside of Anger as a flashback, in this case a gratuitous and leaden device which adds absolutely nothing to his film. His second misjudgment is to use voiceovers both at the beginning and  ...

Urbania

Suggested reading: The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings (1989), Jan Harold Brunvand The Big Book of Urban Legends (1994), Jan Harold Brunvand _________________________________________ In Urbania, first-time director Jon Shear uses a neo-noir stylethat aptly frames his story (based on a  ...

Venus Beauty Institute (Venus Beaute Institut)

"Love," says Angele, a middle-aged beautician who works at a chic Parisian salon, "is just another form of slavery. It makes me sick and mean." As played by Nathalie Baye in Tonie Marshall's Venus Beauty Institute, Angele is a character rarely seen in films: an aging woman who refuses  ...

The Virgin Suicides

Sofia Coppola's catatonic performance in her father's 1990 film The Godfather Part III was universally savaged, and at age nineteen it appeared that her career might be finished – she's had only a few roles of minor importance since then. But just as a certain Arkansas governor recovered from  ...

The Visit

The Visit, no doubt reflecting the stage play on which it is based, is structured around a series of prison visits. The inmate is Alex Waters (Hill Harper), serving twenty-five years on a rape conviction--a crime he says he did not commit. Waters is defensive, snapping at real or  ...

Wadd: The Life and Times of John C. Holmes

The late John Holmes was the only actor who could legitimately claim to be as famous in mainstream society as in the world of porn. Holmes, who rose to prominence in the 1970s as the best-endowed man ever to appear in sex films, died of AIDS in the mid-1980s,  ...

Wages of Fear

The Wages of Fear is a certified classic with one of the most famous plots in film history. Four men undertake a suicide mission to earn $2,000 apiece by driving two trucks loaded with dangerously unstable nitroglycerine 300 miles across the rugged terrain of South America to the site  ...

Waking Ned Devine

Waking Ned Devine has been a surprise hit for writer/director Kirk Jones who debuts with this light-as-a-feather comedy. It is hard to imagine anyone not having a good time meeting the charming and mischievous Irish men and women in their town of Tulaigh Morh, population 52 - at least  ...

Waking the Dead

Saarinen Tulip Armchair from Design Within Reach Keith Gordon's Waking the Dead is like a dorm room bull session, an all-night round of self-righteousness and moralizing, shrilly earnest pontification and wild-eyed statements of purpose. If you're a participant, these  ...

A Walk on the Moon

. A Walk on the Moon was very popular with the audience at the Sundance Festival in January and that is fully understandable. Tony Goldwyn's first film is a warmhearted treat, full of small pleasures and nicely observed detail as it follows a family on the cusp of social  ...