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The 10 Best Movies of 2010

December 31, 2010 – 12:36 pm | One Comment
The 10 Best Movies of 2010

Any year in which a movie this perfect has legitimate competition for Best Film of the Year is an impressive one indeed. Edgar Wright directs a tale of a young man who falls in love (or rather, ‘in lesbians’) with a young woman with baggage, and struggles to defeat those demons to preserve their relationship. That those struggles take the form of elaborately choreographed martial arts duels and giant monsters generated through the power of indie rock is no mere flight of fancy.

The Weekly Listicle: Parties For A New Year

December 31, 2010 – 11:27 am |
The Weekly Listicle: Parties For A New Year

In the spirit of celebration, we take a moment to remember some of our favorite movie parties. In some cases the party itself is one the audience might very much like to attend. In others it is a complete catastrophe, but still very entertaining to watch. So strap on your party hat and join me (Dan Fields) and William Bibbiani around the punch bowl.

The 10 Worst Movies of 2010

December 31, 2010 – 12:51 am | One Comment
The 10 Worst Movies of 2010

I’m a sucker for a silly romantic comedy, but this particular romantic comedy is for suckers. Kristen Bell stars as a workaholic who learns the value of not being a workaholic because of the power of magic coins in Rome which, when plucked from a fountain, cause their previous owners to fall madly in love with Kristen Bell.

Movie Review: True Grit

December 25, 2010 – 2:07 pm | 14 Comments
Movie Review: <em>True Grit</em>

Offered her choice of disciplined and fair-minded bounty hunters to help her find the killer, she instead chooses Marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), a one-eyed shambling wreck of a man known for his “true grit.” Mattie, who despite all her high talk wants blood spilled even more than she wants justice done, judges him the right man for the job.

The Weekly Listicle: The Best of Christmas on Television

December 23, 2010 – 11:12 am |
The Weekly Listicle: The Best of Christmas on Television

“A very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year, let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear.”
What is Christmas all about? Sure, this time of year means trees with blinking lights, wreaths of …

Book Review: Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell

December 21, 2010 – 4:25 pm | 23 Comments
Book Review: <em>Port Mortuary</em> by Patricia Cornwell

Whatever her faults, you can’t criticise Patricia Cornwell for sticking in a rut. Port Mortuary, her latest novel about the forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta, uses a new narrative device to explore fresh plot territory. But the resulting book is exceptionally difficult to like.

Brighton Rock Rises Again. Graham Greene Abides.

December 20, 2010 – 6:00 am |
<em>Brighton Rock</em> Rises Again. Graham Greene Abides.

Acclaimed screenwriter Rowan Joffé will try his hand at the directing game next year. For his debut, he has selected an auspiciously high-profile story. Brighton Rock, adapted from Graham Greene’s 1938 novel, is a captivating crime thriller and a chilling exploration of the human capacity for love, betrayal and violence. If all goes right, this will be one beautiful and scary film.

Critics’ Picks: Best Books of 2010

December 18, 2010 – 9:34 pm | One Comment
Critics’ Picks: Best Books of 2010

Our annual selection of noteworthy books.

Movie Review: How Do You Know

December 18, 2010 – 1:41 pm |
Movie Review: <em>How Do You Know</em>

Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd do not always make great movies, but when given the chance they rise to it. Both are as funny and enjoyable as they’ve ever been. George and Lisa would make a great couple, if only they would wake up and go for it!

Movie Review: TRON: Legacy

December 18, 2010 – 1:40 pm | 2 Comments
Movie Review: <em>TRON: Legacy</em>

Disney’s sequel is an immense, vividly hued carnival for the eyes. What it lacks in smart dialogue and nuance—and it does certainly lack these things—it makes up for with astounding visual effects.

The Weekly Listicle: The 10 Best Videogame Movies AREN’T Based On Videogames

December 16, 2010 – 8:53 pm | 2 Comments
The Weekly Listicle: The 10 Best Videogame Movies AREN’T Based On Videogames

So where exactly are the good videogame movies? They’re everywhere, if you know where to look. They’re just not based on videogames. With TRON Legacy in theaters this weekend, Dan Fields and I (William Bibbiani!) thought this would be a good time to explain why the best videogame movies – so far – aren’t based on a specific videogame. These are movies that capture the distinctive feeling of playing a great videogame or expertly dramatize concepts unique to that medium, something the directors of actual videogame movies rarely seem to grasp.

A Watchful Eye On… Sherlock Holmes

December 15, 2010 – 8:10 pm |
A Watchful Eye On… Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes as a strict Victorian period piece is over and done with, but the character still has potential in a new context. The only rule is not to stray from the unique faculties that make Sherlock such a distinctive and popular hero. If the story’s focus ceases to be the detective’s brilliant deductive logic, then the magic is lost and the character wasted. If, however, due attention and respect are paid to this detail, the rest is free and open to broader interpretation.

Dance Review: San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker

December 14, 2010 – 1:17 pm | 3 Comments
Dance Review: San Francisco Ballet’s <em>Nutcracker</em>

For sheer production values, though, the San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker remains at the top of the list. The latest incarnation of the classic, choreographed by SFB Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, debuted in 2004. It shifts the focus from the nineteenth-century Biedermeier period seen in past productions and brings the story forward to Edwardian San Francisco during the time of the Panama Pacific International Exhibition. Capitalizing on the distinctive architecture of the city, Tomasson has presented a Nutcracker that is uniquely San Francisco.

Farewell to the Future: Iconic “Sleeper” House is Foreclosed On

December 13, 2010 – 5:47 pm |
Farewell to the Future: Iconic “Sleeper” House is Foreclosed On

By 1973, the “technological faith, confidence, and competence” Hines sees embodied in the modernism of the early sixties had already taken a battering. Deaton’s Sculptured House stood empty, its interior still unfinished, when the makers of Sleeper came looking for locations.

Tom Russell: American Primitive Man

December 13, 2010 – 6:00 am |
Tom Russell: American Primitive Man

Every Tom Russell song has something to say about the human heart. In each voice he invokes there are universal echoes of love, doubt, weakness, fear, restlessness and faith. The figure of the wanderer – whether soldier, cowboy, nomad, pioneer, outcast or pilgrim – passes again and again through his work.

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