Pitch Black

Movies began as a sideshow novelty, where a nickel bought you the exquisite sensation of light dancing across a screen. The thrill was in sheer kinetics, the novelty of images in motion. Storytelling was an afterthought. As cinema begins its second century, we seem to be closing the  ...

A Place Called Chiapas

. Nettie Wild's documentary about the Zapatista uprising in Southern Mexico was financed by practically every film presence in Canada except Dudley Do-Right. It won the 1999 Genie Award for Best Canadian Documentary, and reviews have been unanimous as to its topicality and excellence. Sorry, folks. This film about  ...

Play It to the Bone

Ron Shelton is a brilliant, if uneven, filmmaker, yet his films are so modest, it's easy to overlook his originality. In his best work - Cobb, White Men Can't Jump, Bull Durham - he's completely retooled the sports film. He shuns both the inspirational uplift of Rocky and the  ...

Pleasantville

When CV sees a movie like Pleasantville, we get a little worried about slipping into a double standard, on the one hand, and preaching condescendingly, on the other. We don't want to do either, but movies like this one make it difficult. Let us say right  ...

The Pledge

Jack Nicholson, Benicio Del Toro, Aaron Eckhart, Helen Mirren, Tom Noonan, Robin Wright Penn, Vanessa Redgrave, Mickey Rourke, Sam Shepard…What is this, the list of courtside-seat ticket holders at a recent L.A. Lakers games? No, it’s the cast of Sean Penn’s The Pledge, a mood-deadening study of what happens  ...

Pollock

The story is told that eight year old Jonathan Chang, who gives an astonishingly poised performance in Yi Yi, was asked if he wanted to be an actor when he grows up. "No," he replied, "I want to be a director." A perfect actor's answer to a patronizing question.  ...

The Port of Last Resort

... The score for the film (by John Zorn) on a CD called: Film Works VIII: 1997 The story of the flight of Jewish refugees to Shanghai during the years preceding World War II would be fascinating even without a documentary as solid as  ...

Praise

Bali Silver Accents with Garnet and Fuchia Swarovski Crystal Bracelet Praise takes place in an anonymous corner of Brisbane, Australia. The main setting is a flophouse whose wrought-iron balconies suggest New Orleans, and whose inhabitants are the spiritual kin of the shadows that haunted O’Neill’s  ...

The Price of Air

Josh Evans' The Price of Air is the sort of independent film that makes you crave Hollywood: it wears its very ineptitude as a badge of honor. It assumes that we'll be thrilled by its "transgressions," as though meandering improvisation, vicious misogyny and dingy, out of focus video are  ...

Princess Mononoke

Hayao Miyazaki is a name currently unfamiliar to most moviegoers, but revered as a deity among those who spend much of their time playing arcane card games in the back of comic book shops. The cult following that has accrued around Japanese anime may finally swell into mainstream acceptance  ...