VERA (Francisco Athié, 2003)

This is not the way it is supposed to be. I loved Mexican writer-director Francisco Athié’s Lolo (1993), liked well enough (although was a tad disappointed by) Optic Fiber (1998), and now can’t stand what has been widely touted as his masterpiece, Vera, a static, stultifying moony mystical adventure in the depths of a cave […]


This is the second half of this list. 1970 51. BEWARE OF A HOLY WHORE. Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Beware of a Holy Whore (the “whore” being Hollywood) is one of the best movies about the making of a movie. Or about not making a movie, since cast and crew are gathered at a Spanish hotel […]

CHOP SHOP (Ramin Bahrani, 2007)

In Willet’s Point, Queens, within sight and sound of Shea Stadium, in the “Iron Triangle,” Alejandro lives, along with his 16-year old sister, Isamar, in a tiny room inside the auto-body repair shop where he works. Actually, the foul-mouthed 12-year-old orphan, contesting poverty with ebullient enterprise, has his hand in a lot of things, including […]

STOP-LOSS (Kimberly Peirce, 2008)

The Bush-Cheney War in Iraq was given the congressional green light only because an illegal administration lied about what they knew and about what they didn’t know. There were no “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, which wasn’t on the verge of attacking us. After intermediate gear shifts, the Bush-Cheney position became, “Well, since we’re […]