December 1, 2021
Ithaca, NY | 36°F

The Onion’s writers make reading the World atlas fun

By | Nov 16, 2007

For everyone who thinks Columbia is for cocaine, Belgium is for chocolate, Norway is for Vikings and has never even heard of Kyrgyzstan (let alone can pronounce it), there is finally a book that gloriously reaffirms all your favorite global stereotypes and misconceptions. “Our Dumb World” ($27.99) is a fictional atlas about real countries. Equal…


‘Rendition’ brings national issue to public eyes

By | Nov 1, 2007

With a powerhouse team of actors, it is very difficult for “Rendition” not to deliver. The gripping melodrama gives faces to the government practice of “extraordinary rendition” — sending people to another county for torture interrogation — and these faces just happen to be such Hollywood A-listers as Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep and…


Comedy Central anchor masters the art of publishing

By | Oct 26, 2007

You know a person is planning to run for president when he releases a book. John F. Kennedy released “Profiles in Courage” in 1956. It won the Pulitzer Prize, and he was commander in chief a few years later. Presidential hopeful Barack Obama has already released two books. Now add Stephen Colbert to this list…


Film gives new life to classic Beatles music

By | Oct 25, 2007

If the Beatles can be considered a force that redefined the genre of rock ‘n’ roll, it should now be said that Julie Taymor’s film “Across the Universe,” an unrelentingly lush visual exploration of the Fab Four’s repertoire, does much of the same for the American musical. The film’s plot, though at times skating on…


Film shows the Virgin Queen’s romantic side

By | Oct 25, 2007

Nearly 10 years ago, director Shekhar Kapur put a spin on the life of Elizabeth Tudor, Queen of England, in the blockbuster “Elizabeth,” starring Cate Blanchett. It combined romance, treason, attempted assassination and the threat of Catholic Spain to create a clever masterpiece. In the sequel, “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” Kapur gives us a second…


Documentary casts new light on old topic

By | Oct 11, 2007

What distinguishes Charles Ferguson’s “No End in Sight” from other documentaries about the Iraq War is Ferguson’s lack of celebrity. Where Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” is bogged down by his persona and sensationalism, Ferguson’s stinging indictment of the war focuses on the cold, hard facts. Ferguson draws on extensive insider testimonies to reveal unsettling truths.…


Latest Farrelly brothers release lacks comedic charm

By | Oct 11, 2007

When you think of R-rated adult comedies, you tend to consider the classics: “Harold and Kumar,” “American Pie” and “There’s Something About Mary.” The appeal of these laugh-out-loud adult films are what the Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter, were trying to recreate when remaking Neil Simon’s “The Heartbreak Kid.” They fell surprisingly short, however. Ben…


Predictable British farce still pulls laughs

By | Oct 11, 2007

Though it runs the risk of stereotyping a wonderful culture and country, it’s fair to say the British do dark comedy better than any other group of people in the entertainment industry. Black comedy is a hard genre to pull off successfully. If the film goes too dark, it can feel forced, unpleasant and in…


Drama follows agents’ international journey

By | Oct 4, 2007

The devil is in the details. “The Kingdom” weaves a tantalizing web that is slowly and teasingly unraveled by the discovery of seemingly minute and meaningless details, and its mystery is ultimately solved because of two small observations. This meticulous attention to detail is evident in the opening sequence, a succinct three-minute timeline of Saudi…


Film tackles reality of post-traumatic stress disorder

By | Oct 4, 2007

Coming back from war, many soldiers are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is caused by extreme psychological trauma and, on returning, stateside soldiers coming back from war zones realize they cannot let go of some of the things they did. In Paul Haggis’ newest film, “In The Valley of Elah,” retired Army sergeant…


Romance film lacks emotion and depth

By | Oct 4, 2007

Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunset,” a golden diary of the 80 minutes shared by two hypothetical soul mates as they glide through Paris, is a triumph in part because it mediates its humanism without lapsing into sloppy pathos. It creates two people we may choose to love despite being dragged through their requisite faults, reminding us…


Drama tells dark tale of Russian crime family

By | Sep 28, 2007

There is something innately fascinating about the gangster film — the moral ambiguity, the wanton bloodshed, the black suits that look like they were carved out of onyx — that all filmmakers want to revel in and, ultimately, transcend. Canadian auteur David Cronenberg has based his entire career on elevating genre films to unexplored artistic…