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Obligatory "Lincoln" Post

So I finally saw Lincoln yesterday, and I found it pretty great. I hadn't read any reviews, so I had no idea what it was going to be about, except, you know, Abraham Lincoln, but what I mean is that I came in expecting something that was at least a semi-biopic and instead found something that took place in just one month of his life and really should not have been called Lincoln at all but something like Lame-Duck Session, but I suppose that wouldn't have tested very well.

Anyway, it was interesting politically, but the movie really got its momentum from the performances. Day-Lewis of course, but many others. Sally Field was just amazing. If Oscar should be calling anyone first, I think it's her. Kudos to Kushner on that front, because her character was extremely well written, too. I don't think I'd seen her in anything since Soap Dish. She was just phenomenal. Also Tommie Lee Jones and the awesome David Strathairn and James Spader, playing a character not unlike his oleaginous Office character, Robert California.

Even the minor actors were fantastic. This guy Jackie Earle Haley played the vice president of the CSA, Alexander Stephens, and he was just perfectly reprehensible. Watching him, almost half-man, half-snake, hiss out his imprecations against Lincoln and union and black people and rights, he looked and sounded exactly like some of these egregious hate-mongering nincompoops we have to deal with today, which I'm sure Spielberg intended. The pro-slavery people look so small. Some years from now, someone will make a movie about same-sex marriage, and today's bigots will look just as tiny.

Yes, it showed that Lincoln and Thaddeus Stevens understood that you have to compromise your principles in order to advance them, and yes, that's a useful thing for people to see. But it's not a world historically profound political insight. For all these dimestore pundits trying to write about how Lincoln applies to today's situation, I think it really doesn't. That was a pretty unique situation in American history. Entitlements don't quite compare to war and slavery. (UPDATE below the fold!!)

Oscar Frontrunner

‘Les Misérables’ Is a Triumph

Director Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of the celebrated musical ‘Les Misérables’ drew a standing ovation at its world-premiere screening at New York’s Lincoln Center. Marlow Stern on why the film, starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway, is Academy Award-worthy.

The celebrated musical Les Misérables, adapted from the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo, has penetrated the cultural zeitgeist in ways few other theatrical productions have.

Les Miserables

Laurie Sparham / Universal Pictures

Millennials still cringe at the thought of Joey Potter (Katie Holmes) belting out the tune “On My Own” on the cult TV series Dawson’s Creek, while homely Scotswoman Susan Boyle became an international phenomenon after performing a towering rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” on the TV competition show Britain’s Got Talent. The song “One Day More,” meanwhile, was used by both Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential campaign and by Obama supporters during POTUS’s 2008 White House run.

Now, interest in the musical has reached a cultural confluence of sorts, with Les Misérables, the movie-musical directed by Oscar winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech). 

Watch This!

The Best Movies of Classic Books

Joe Wright’s new adaptation of Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenina’ may be a failure, but other auteurs succeeded in bringing literary gems to life on the screen. From Pasolini’s ‘Canterbury Tales’ to Olivier’s ‘Henry V,’ WATCH VIDEO.

Joe Wright is either bookish to a fault or the best literary agent working today, representing such new voices as Leo Tolstoy and YA sensation Jane Austen. He is the most determined refuter of the claim that film and literature don’t mix, starting with Ms. Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (2005), which includes the pleasant surprise of Donald Sutherland amusing himself as Mr. Bennet. Then Wright further shored up his literary credentials by locking into place Ian McEwan’s Atonement (2007), showing how Briony Tallis is and never will be “just a dim old biddy in a chair” thanks to his recruitment of Vanessa Redgrave. To anyone paralyzed by the thought of a movie director who reads, Wright now has taken on the mother of all novels, Leo’s Anna Karenina. What a goody! The scene when Anna and Vronsky first consummate their affair should make every surrealist's mouth water:

But, despite all the murderer’s horror before the murdered body, he had to cut this body into pieces and hide it, he had to make use of what the murderer had gained by his murder.

And, as the murderer falls upon this body with animosity, as if with passion, drags it off and cuts it up, so he covered her face and shoulders with kisses. She held his hand and did not move. Yes, these kisses were what had been bought by this shame. Yes, and this one hand, which will always be mine, is the hand of my accomplice.

You'd think this was straight out of Psycho (an adaptation of a book by Robert Bloch, by the way). But if you don’t recall a murder in Anna Karenina, you are not wrong. Anna is feeling criminal and guilty as she commits  adultery, and Vronsky, as if having a conversation with his lover about what metaphors to compound, is imagining sex with Anna as murder. It is a moment the Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein thought completely unexpected in its compositional structure, something directors can learn from in its complex possibilities. But Wright flubs it by applying it only to Anna's consciousness, thus depriving Vronsky of any inner life—and more importantly, his Adam-and-Eve-like conspiracy with Anna.

Historical Fiction

'Lincoln' Fact Check


Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. (David James, SMPSP / Everett)

Did Lincoln really do that? Was Mary Todd really there? Lincoln scholar and consultant on the movie Harold Holzer picks out what’s true and false in Spielberg’s movie—and says in the end it’s not the details that matter.

When the House of Representatives finally, dramatically votes to approve the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery, Washington erupts in celebration. Members of Congress weep, throw themselves into each other’s arms, and begin singing “Battle Cry of Freedom.” Men parade through the streets and church bells chime.

And then, at least according to Steven Spielberg’s new film Lincoln, the widely despised old liberal lion of the House, Thaddeus Stevens, limps home through the throngs on his malformed club foot, serenely enters his house, removes an extravagant black wig to reveal a shiny bald dome, and then crawls into bed with his African-American housekeeper—clearly, we are meant to infer, his mistress—where they kiss and exult in the historic events of the day. Spielberg’s Thaddeus Stevens summarizes the extraordinary events of the day with this remarkable quote: the most liberating constitutional amendment in history, he alleges, had been “passed by corruption, aided and abetted by the purest man in America”—meaning Abraham Lincoln.

With the widely praised film overflowing with such startling scenes, it is little wonder that scholars, nitpickers, trivial pursuit pursuers, and history buffs have all been crowding their local movie theaters this week, many armed with legal pads, in a massive competition to unearth and report every factual error that has crept into the film.

To be sure, there is no shortage of small historical bloopers in the movie. First Lady Mary Lincoln, for example, never planted herself in the House Gallery to observe the final tally on the amendment. (Michelle Obama may routinely attend the State of the Union address each year, but such a visit would have been unthinkable in 1865.) Nor did congressmen vote by state delegations—a device that conflates the traditions of national political conventions with those of the House of Representatives. (Until the advent of machine voting, the House voted alphabetically by name; this I know from experience—I once worked for Representative Bella Abzug, number two on the roll call, and it was always a challenge to move her considerable frame from her congressional office to the House floor in time to answer the roll right after James Aboureszk.) 


Thanksgiving Movies to See or Skip

Literary Check

‘Life of Pi’: Book vs. Film

Yann Martel’s critically acclaimed novel ‘Life of Pi’ has been brought to the screen by director Ang Lee. Did Lee stay true to Martel’s story? Mike Munoz finds the differences between the film and the novel.

Spoiler Alert: This article reveals major plot twists in Life of Pi.

Life of Pi

Suraj Sharma in a scene from ‘Life of Pi.’ (Twentieth Century Fox )

Based on the award-winning novel of the same name by Yann Martel, Life of Pi follows the amazing story of a young man named Piscine “Pi” Molitor Patel who finds himself lost at sea after his family’s cargo ship sinks in a storm. But Pi is not alone on this journey and must survive in a crowded life boat with four animals from his family’s zoo—A hyena, an orangutan named Orange Juice, an injured zebra, and worst of all, an adult Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

In breathtaking 3D and featuring stunning visuals, director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain) brings the story to life on the big screen. Although Lee does his best to stay true to the story, there are clear differences between the film and the novel.

This year’s Oscar frontrunner for Best Actress is 22-year-old Jennifer Lawrence. She tells Ramin Setoodeh about her role in ‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ her fame, loving Harry Potter—and why she doesn’t Google herself.

On the big screen, Jennifer Lawrence is as tough as they come. But meet her for dinner, and you’ll quickly learn the truth—she’s a lightweight. After a single glass of wine, she’s already starting to feel tipsy. “I’m going to need to eat,” she says. “Or take my clothes off.” She orders a hamburger with bacon and truffle fries. No, wait, she tells our waitress, hold the bacon. And hold the burger. She eyes the strip steak, before deciding on what she really wants—the chicken, with fries. “Hang on. Sorry, I’m so annoying.” Pause. “The mashed potatoes! Yeah, instead of the fries.” She tops it off with bacon, because evidently she loves bacon (along with Domino’s pizza, bubble gum, Sour Patch Kids, and pretzels dipped in avocado). Should we share some fries? “No,” she insists. “Order what you want.” When I do, she interjects: “You’re making a huge mistake!” The truffle fries it is.

Jennifer Lawrence

Al Seib / Contour by Getty Images

If this sounds like a scene from When Harry Met Sally, it’s because Lawrence, 22, is an eccentric spirit. You’d never know that from her roster of serious roles—Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Mystique in X-Men: First Class, and her Oscar-nominated debut in Winter’s Bone. Lawrence grew up in Louisville, Ky., where she worshiped Lucille Ball. “My No. 1 priority in life is laughing,” she says. Now audiences are about to see that comedic side in David O. Russell’s latest, Silver Linings Playbook. Lawrence plays Tiffany, a widow, who romances her bipolar neighbor (Bradley Cooper). Lawrence is so great in the role, she’s already a frontrunner for next year’s Best Actress Oscar.

In a candid two-hour conversation over dinner in Atlanta, Lawrence spoke to Ramin Setoodeh about a variety of ridiculous—and a few serious—subjects.

He Said/She Said

Dueling Damsels in Distress

‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2’ and ‘Anna Karenina’ opened in theaters Friday. Does the final in the ‘Twilight’ series or the latest adaptation of the Tolstoy classic handle the damsel-in-distress theme better? Our critics debate.

This weekend pits two damsels in distress against one another at the multiplex. There’s Kristen Stewart’s vampire-loving teen, Bella Swan, in the final Twilight film, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2, and Keira Knightley as the aristocratic title character in Anna Karenina, the latest movie adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic novel. But which film is better ... or more awful? Our critics, Anna Klassen and Marlow Stern, debate.


Megalyn Echikunwoke as Rose, Carrie MacLemore as Heather, Greta Gerwig as Violet, and Analeigh Tipton as Lily in Damsels in Distress. ((L) Laurie Sparham (R) Andrew Cooper)

Marlow: Let’s kick things off with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2—say that five times fast!—the final entry in the emo-teen-vampire blockbuster franchise based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling YA novels, since it’s fresher in our minds. Whereas the last Twilight film was a colossal bore that spent the majority of its running time tracking Bella (Kristin Stewart) in a fancy condo struggling with losing her V-card, and her subsequent baby vampire pregnancy, the final Twilight revels in its own absurdity. The worst films in the series were the ones that were too somber and self-serious (TwilightNew MoonBreaking Dawn—Part 1), whereas the best have recognized that these films are pure camp and milked that for all it’s worth (Eclipse, with its Brokeback Mountain tent scene). Part 2 is a fun lil’ romp, with the Cullen clan—and Bella—rounding up a motley crew of ridiculously costumed vampires from around the globe, including Amazons, a Middle Easterner who can control the elements, two Italians who talk like Super Mario and Luigi, and Lee Pace deliciously overacting as a N’awlins vampire. They’re assembling the Vampire Avengers because the vampire high council, the Volturi, wishes to destroy Bella and Edward’s (Robert Pattinson) gifted vamp/human daughter, Renesmee, whom they believe to be immortal—apparently a huge no-no in vampire circles. All-in-all, it’s a gay ol’ time.

Anna: A gay ol’ time, it is not. If it wasn’t for a handful of enjoyable cameos (Taken’s Maggie Grace, The Master’s eternally cheery Rami Malek, and Pushing Daisies’ Lee Pace) I would have been asleep before the Volturi snapped off its first vampire head. But aside from the unimproved CGI and cheesy dialogue (or lack thereof), the plot itself is absurd: after Bella gives birth to a seemingly demonic child that nearly destroyed her from the inside out (as we saw in many graphic, unnecessary sequences) in 2011’s Breaking Dawn: Part 1, the child is transformed into a miniature protagonist in Part 2. Renesmee, the almost entirely computer-generated spawn of Edward and Bella’s violent, unintentionally S&M bang sesh in Part 1, poses as the love interest for resident werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). While Bella may have blossomed from her doe-eyed wallflower status of the first four films, her daughter, fresh from the womb, has already been “imprinted on” (read: claimed) by a man who is sometimes a wolf. Jacob’s usual testiness in the first four films has been traded for a (creepy) protectiveness over the newborn baby of the woman he once loved (Bella). Because he wants to make babies with her one day. (We are of course supposed to assume that the feeling is mutual, and Renesmee is totally cool with bestiality). Ugh.

Highlights 2012

Obama Reviews ‘Lincoln'

The president digs the much-buzzed-about film, its screenwriter, Tony Kushner, says at ‘Newsweek’ and The Daily Beast’s Hero Summit.

President Obama has given the new film Lincoln a thumbs-up, the film’s screenwriter, Tony Kushner, said Thursday night at Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s Hero Summit in Washington, D.C.

Kushner would know. Just before arriving at the summit, he had dashed across town from a private screening he attended with Obama and the film’s director, Steven Spielberg, among others, at the White House.


AP Photo

Kushner joined moderator Tina Brown on a summit panel about the making of the film, saying he thought Obama “really liked it." The president's entourage also "seemed to like it," he said. "They all stood up.” Then he joked, “Maybe they do that every time.” Clearly having an unusual evening, he added with a laugh, as if to explain his somewhat harried state, “I just literally walked out of the White House. I couldn't find the limo.”

‘Silver Linings’ 

Chris Tucker’s Comeback Tour


Actor Chris Tucker of “Silver Lining Playbook” poses at the Guess Portrait Studio at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, Sept. 9, 2012. (Matt Carr / Getty Images)

The actor’s comeback from tax problems begins with his first movie role in five years, Silver Linings Playbook.

The rise of Chris Tucker from Burger King janitor in rural Georgia to Hollywood’s highest paid actor is just as astonishing as his fall, epitomized by a report in February claiming he owed a whopping $12 million in back taxes to good ol’ Uncle Sam. 

Yes, you read that correctly. 

Back in 2006, Tucker, the comedic actor known for his shrill voice and manic energy, negotiated the highest base salary in Hollywood history: $25 million for Rush Hour 3, the third installment in the cross-cultural action-comedy franchise that paired him with Jackie Chan. The first two Rush Hour films, helmed by renowned over-sharer Brett Ratner, had grossed close to $600 million worldwide, but Tucker’s fee was a major head-scratcher considering he hadn’t starred in a non–Rush Hour film since 1997’s Jackie Brown

Rush Hour 3 was released in 2007. Despite dismal reviews and a ludicrous $140 million budget, the film was a minor box-office success. This was the last time people would see its star, Chris Tucker, on the silver screen until this week, when Silver Linings Playbook opens in theaters.

Oscar Fever

The Missing Best Actresses

There are enough great actor performances this year to fill up several Academy Awards ceremonies. But where are the women? Ramin Setoodeh on why the gender gap in Hollywood has never been so wide.

As Hollywood enters the final two months of the year, with awards season on the horizon, there’s something missing from the crop of Oscar hopefuls scheduled to campaign at private dinner parties and screenings in New York and Los Angeles. Where are the women?

Caption-Korrektur: Themendienst Kino: The Dark Knight Rises

Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. (Ron Phillips / AP Photo)

This isn’t a new criticism. Strong male roles have always dominated the male-centered movie industry. But this year, the gap between actors and actresses is perhaps as wide as it has ever been. Even the No. 1 blockbuster of the 2012 so far, The Avengers, treated its lone woman superhero, the Black Widow, as an afterthought. The actress who plays her, Scarlett Johansson, hasn’t headlined her own movie since 2007’s The Nanny Diaries.

On the other hand, there are already enough strong male performances to book several Academy Awards ceremonies. Among the top of that list are Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th president in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Joaquin Phoenix as a scenery-chewing war veteran in The Master, Denzel Washington’s addict pilot in Flight, and Bill Murray as another president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in Hyde Park on Hudson. Anthony Hopkins is terrifically spooky in Hitchcock. Earlier this year, Richard Gere received plenty of kudos for his shady CEO in Arbitrage. Ben Affleck is the CIA agent who makes Argo fly. In The Sessions, John Hawkes delivers his best performance yet as a virgin with polio. The same goes for Jake Gyllenhaal, in the cop drama End of Watch, and Bradley Cooper, as a bipolar but lovable nut in David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook. And those are just the best great performances.


Is ‘Lincoln’ Great?

Steven Spielberg’s new epic, Lincoln, has been showered with praise left and right and is considered an Oscar frontrunner. But is it just hype? Marlow Stern says meh.

In the coming weeks, historians and political pundits will pore over the similarities between the subject of Steven Spielberg’s latest historical epic, Lincoln, and the trials and tribulations that have faced newly re-elected President Barack Obama ad nauseum. Two former lawyers from Illinois. The gift for mellifluous oration and gallows humor. A nation—and Congress—divided. Racial disharmony. The ethically murky steps each man took in stretching the bounds of presidential power for what they felt was the greater good of the nation (for Obama, see: the debt ceiling.


Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln (David James, SMPSP, 20th Century Fox / Everett)

Spielberg, by his own admission, made the admirable decision to schedule the release date after the presidential election to depoliticize the film.

Lincoln also represents the third entry in Spielberg’s slavery triptych, following The Color Purple and Amistad. It is loosely based on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals, penned by Pulitzer-winning playwright Tony Kushner , who also wrote the screenplay to Spielberg’s last good film, 2005’s Munich, and stars two-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis as the eponymous Great Emancipator. The movie is one of the best-reviewed of the year and as such, has emerged as an Oscar frontrunner.

Crisis Revisited

Love and Hate in Tehran

As one of the students protesting outside the American embassy during the Iran hostage crisis, Roya Hakakian writes about her unique perspective on Ben Affleck’s film Argo. But she says the film misses the essential point that the hostages were merely a sideshow to the Ayatollah’s seizing tighter control of Iran.

You have to watch Argo in the South as I did, in Burke County, N.C. to be exact, to feel that revisiting the hostage crisis between Iran and the United States still touches a raw nerve. Here, people came to let an old, still-nagging wound soak in cinematic brine. The film’s sharp and witty lines landed in this theatre like hail on plush carpeting. There was no sound of laughter. My fellow matinee viewers had hardly recovered from the humiliation of Vietnam when the assault on the U.S. embassy, and the parade of the helpless blindfolded American diplomats, had come. Thirty-some years later, the takeover is still a trauma of very high and personal order.

But you have to have been a witness to that history to appreciate the farcical beat at the heart of it all. Even as John Goodman and Alan Arkin’s bubbling comedic chemistry offered plenty of  opportunities for guiltless laughs—those originating from cynical, self-deprecating insights—the truth, the actual history as it had occurred, was far more outrageous. A former hostage had once recalled to me that the Kalashnikov-wielding, radical Islamist teenager in charge of guarding him in solitary confinement had nearly begged him, “When you get out of here, can you help me get a visa to the US?”

I survived Argo

AP Photo

I had been among the angry fist-throwing mob in front of the embassy enough times to know that the answer to the question Goodman and Arkin contemplated as they watched the footage of the demonstrations—“Is this all for the cameras?”—was, for the most part, yes.  Feverish dramas of such magnitude and intensity are impossible to sustain for long. People eventually sweated and deserted the embassy gates. The crowds who showed up long after the excitement had ebbed were not driven there by ideology. For school-averse fledgling teenagers such as myself demonstrating before the US embassy was a legitimate excuse to miss math or skip an exam—the greatest snow day in the history of elementary education.

Reality Check

‘Argo’ Blurs the Truth

Ben Affleck’s new movie boasts great photography and acting, but runs the risk of leaving viewers with an incomplete and at times inaccurate impression, says the American hiker who was held hostage in Iran for 410 days.

Anyone who’s ever been captured knows the punishing fantasy of rescue. During the 410 days that I was held hostage in Iran, the most common escape scenario I played in my head involved the door of my cell bursting open in the dead of night to reveal a group of heavily armed men who, with my now-husband Shane Bauer and friend Josh Fattal in tow, would lead us to a helicopter waiting nearby to fly us to safety. 

I went to see Ben Affleck’s new film Argo as soon as it hit the theaters last week. I was eager to learn more about the most outlandish, and perhaps least known, rescue of Americans in history—and see it play out on the silver screen. I was curious to note the similarities and differences to my own situation and, perhaps most important, to tease out the perspective that, in portraying the historic events that set the stage for U.S.-Iranian relations for the next 30-plus years, Affleck could not help but present.  

The film tells the little-known story of six U.S. diplomats who escaped the American Embassy in Tehran immediately after it was stormed by a crowd of angry Iranians during the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The 66 other diplomats were subsequently held hostage for 444 days, while these lucky six made it to the residence of the Canadian ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor, where they secretly lived for 79 days before they were effectively rescued with the help of the CIA, using the most unlikely cover story of being in Iran to scout out the location for a Canadian film project.

Argo’s stunning cinematography and incredibly realistic acting impressed and entertained me. The story itself, even if it is only loosely based on history (as Affleck took pains to point out), is fantastic and timely. Still, when I left Argo, I found myself worried about the incomplete, and at times inaccurate, impression that many viewers would walk away with. 


The Year of Kinky Movie Sex

From Nicole Kidman peeing on former Disney kid Zac Efron in ‘The Paperboy,’ which opens Friday, to that scene with Amy Adams in ‘The Master,’ many of this year’s awards-bait films are upping the kink factor. (SPOILER ALERT!)

During a pivotal scene in The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson’s engrossing psychological drama based (in part) on the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, the charismatic mystic Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is gazing at himself in the mirror. His cunning wife, Peggy (played by the oft-bubbly Amy Adams), has been sensing an animal-like attraction between her husband and an unstable drifter, Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix). In order to mitigate his urges, she unzips his trousers, locks eyes with his reflection, and gives him a furious hand-job. “Cum for me,” she says. 

And this masochistic sex act, delivered by none other than the princess from Enchanted, is just the tip of the … iceberg. 

Whereas last year, amid all the priggish costume dramas, the only film during awards season that got movie-going audiences all hot and bothered was the NC-17-rated Shame, which featured its star Michael Fassbender urinating on camera and engaged in a raunchy three-way sex scene that included a rare “tossed salad,” this year’s batch of Oscar hopefuls boasts a plethora of sex acts ranging from the impressive to the downright bizarre. Call it the Fifty Shades of Grey effect. 

Over the summer, audiences gagged at the sight of Gina Gershon forcibly fellating a chicken leg situated in the crotch of a psycho killer, played by Matthew McConaughey, in William Friedkin’s impressive dark comedy, Killer Joe. And in another McConaughey film, the male-stripping extravaganza Magic Mike, randy viewers were treated to a close-up shot of Big Dick Richie (True Blood hunk Joe Manganiello) inflating his gigantic penis in a pump. 

Seth MacFarlane's Worst Oscar Jokes

Whether you found him hilarious or lame, it's undeniable that the Academy Awards host gave a provocative performance. Watch MacFarlane's most controversial comments, as he ripped on everything from Clooney's pedophilia to Lincoln's assassination.


They Forgot Who?

10 Oscar Shockers!

10 Oscar Shockers!

All the surprises and snubs from this morning’s Academy Award nominations honoring the best in cinema.

For Your Consideration


The Year’s Best Foreign Film

The Year’s Best Foreign Film

Marlow Stern talks to Michael Haneke about his heartrending ‘Amour’—which deserves an Oscar nod.

For Your Consideration


Ben Affleck’s Oscar Lock

Ben Affleck’s Oscar Lock

The actor-director dishes on his riveting CIA thriller, a virtual Oscar-nomination lock.

Reality Check

‘Shahs of Sunset’ Grade ‘Argo’

Not a History Lesson

What ‘Argo’ Gets Wrong

Crisis Revisited

Love and Hate in Tehran

Reality Check

‘Argo’ Blurs the Truth

Flick Picks: Argo

It's Hollywood to the rescue in actor/director Ben Affleck's new film, 'Argo,' based on the true story of when the U.S. staged a movie shoot to rescue hostages from Iran. Ramin Setoodeh and Rolling Stone's Peter Travers dissect the film.

For Your Consideration

Beasts of the Southern Wild

A Post-Katrina Fairy Tale

A Post-Katrina Fairy Tale

Sundance darling ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild,’ out June 27, is one of the year’s best, says Marlow Stern.

For Your Consideration

Django Unchained

Django’s Damsel in Distress

Django’s Damsel in Distress

In Quentin Tarantino’s dark new movie, Kerry Washington comes face to face with the horrors of slavery.

‘Django’ Fallout

Was Spike Lee Out of Line?

Too Far?

Django Unhinged

Flick Picks: Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino is at it again, directing another star-studded cast in a monumental slave story meets spaghetti western. But is it his best work? Ramin Setoodeh and Peter Travers debate.

For Your Consideration

Les Miserables

‘Les Misérables’ Is a Triumph

‘Les Misérables’ Is a Triumph

Marlow Stern on why the film adaptation of the celebrated musical is the frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar.

Misreading History

‘Les Miz’s’ Bad History Lesson

One Day More

The Best ‘Les Miz’ Flash Mobs

Cheat Sheet

French Revolution for Dummies

‘Les Miserables’

Eddie Redmayne’s Star-Making Turn

Flick Picks: Les Miserables

Does 'Les Miz' justify all the Oscar buzz? Ramin Setoodeh and Peter Travers review the epic big screen adaptation of the celebrated musical.

For Your Consideration

Life of Pi

‘Life of Pi’: Book vs. Film

‘Life of Pi’: Book vs. Film

Was Ang Lee’s film adaptation of ‘Life of Pi’ true to the novel? Mike Munoz explores the differences.

Oscar Hopeful

Life of Pi: This Year’s ‘Slumdog?’

For Your Consideration


'Lincoln' Fact Check

'Lincoln' Fact Check

Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, a consultant on the movie, says in the end it’s not the details that matter.

Sally Field’s Take

Was Mrs. Lincoln Bipolar?

Highlights 2012

Obama Reviews ‘Lincoln'

Come On

Where Are the Black People?


Is ‘Lincoln’ Great?

For Your Consideration

Silver Linings Playbook

Jennifer Lawrence on Katniss and Vaginas

The actress tells Ramin Setoodeh about ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and how ‘Hunger Games’ changed her life.

‘Silver Linings’ 

Chris Tucker’s Comeback Tour

Under the Mistletoe

2012’s Most Memorable Kisses

For Your Consideration

Zero Dark Thirty

The ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Backlash

The ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Backlash

Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-bait film is being falsely accused of promoting torture, says Marlow Stern.

Bin Laden Film

‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Revealed!

It's That Opening

Is Zero Dark Thirty Propaganda?

Spies Like Them

Is This the Real Carrie Mathison?


Bin Laden’s Walking Dead?

Flick Picks: Zero Dark Thirty

We missed you, Kathryn Bigelow! In this edition of Flick Picks, Ramin Setoodeh and Rolling Stone's Peter Travers review her not-quite-a-follow-up to The Hurt Locker.