Two Days, One Night (2014)

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have made many notable films from “La Promesse” to their Palme d’Or winners “Rosetta” and “L’Enfant,” but they had never worked with a movie star as big as Marion Cotillard until now with “Two Days, One Night.” The result is a tour de force on Cotillard’s  ...

Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)

  The movie’s title, “Clouds of Sils Maria,” refers to a natural phenomenon found in the Sils Maria municipality of Switzerland for which the fictional play within the film, “Maloja Snake,” is also named. Both titles designate the same thing, spectacular clouds that snake around mountains in the Swiss  ...

David Bowie Is, Chicago

"David Bowie Is" Chicago Exhibit Reveals a Cultural Icon, Beyond the Pop David Bowie was born September 16, 1965. Actually, that’s the day that 18-year-old David Jones legally assumed the name that became famous. This is one piece of minutiae that you can glean from the blockbuster exhibit, "David  ...

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), DVD Review

Of the six films of Japanese director Nagisa Oshima that I have seen, his 1983 color film "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" ("Senjō No Merī Kurisumasu or 戦場のメリークリスマス") is easily his least impressive. It’s not a terrible film, but it’s not particularly good either. The acting is hit and miss, the  ...

Anselm Kiefer, London

Anselm Kiefer was born in Germany in 1945. A war baby (just) he grew up among the ruins of a country devastated by war and divided by ideology. It is hardly surprisingly, then, that on first sight many of his paintings appear to be of rubble. The dust and ash  ...

Marjorie Prime, LA

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" was the mantra of my youth, but that mantra does not serve a critic well. Looking forward to the opening night of "Marjorie Prime," I thought, "At last Michael Ritchie, artistic director of the Center Theatre Group, is bringing  ...

Old Hats, SF

To say something is “old hat” is to say that it is passé, out of style, yesterday’s news. And, indeed, clowning and mime have seen a gradual decline in popularity since the glory days of Charlie Chaplin, Emmett Kelly and Marcel Marceau. But some old hats have retained their shape  ...