November 1, 2010 In the past few weeks, two films have explored the careers of men who have found a place in the pantheon of popular mythology. Critic John Powers says seeing Carlos and The Social Network side by side made him think about how much social values have changed in recent decades.
October 20, 2010 David Grossman began working on his novel To the End of the Land while his son Uri was in the Israeli Army. He hoped it would protect him. It didn't. Uri was killed, and Grossman's fiction explores the fragility of families, nations and life itself.
September 30, 2010 Young-ha Kim's latest thriller, Your Republic Is Calling You, is about a North Korean spy living covertly in Seoul for two decades — when he's suddenly called to return to Pyongyang. Critic John Powers says the suspenseful novel offers a gripping look inside modern Korean culture.
September 14, 2010 Filmmaker Lixin Fan's Last Train Home documents the journey 130 million migrant workers make back to their rural villages every Chinese New Year. But the movie is not only about families traveling home — it's about China's modernization. Critic John Powers says the images in the "epic and intimate" movie are "absolutely ravishing."
August 27, 2010 The French outlaw Jacques Mesrine, who terrorized France and killed 39 people, is the subject of the thrilling Mesrine: Killer Instinct, which stars Vincent Cassell as Mesrine and Gerard Depardieu as a Parisian crime boss. Critic John Powers applauds Cassell's acting, saying it "ranks with the best of DeNiro or Pacino or, more recently, Daniel Day-Lewis."
August 2, 2010 In 1963, French filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot decided to make a movie that would reinvent the movies. It was called Inferno, and the unfinished film was an enormous failure. But a new documentary about the disastrous project is anything but — critic John Powers says Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno is "cinematically thrilling."
July 19, 2010 Critic John Powers compares the heroines featured in this summer's two cultural juggernauts — Twilight and the Millennium Trilogy. And despite being almost diametrically opposed, the characters Lisbeth Salander and Bella Swan have more in common than you may think.
July 2, 2010 Tilda Swinton stars as a wealthy wife and mother who gets involved with a younger man in Luca Guadagnino's acclaimed new film I Am Love. Fresh Air's critic-at-large John Powers says the movie offers grownup audiences something they've been missing. (Recommended)
May 10, 2010 Dorothy Sayers' genteelly dapper detective, portrayed by Ian Carmichael in the '70s BBC miniseries, returns in a newly released DVD set. Critic John Powers reviews the first two episodes of a murder-mystery collection whose success on American TV paved the way for PBS's popular Mystery franchise.
April 23, 2010 No One Knows about Persian Cats, which won the Special Jury Prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival, has now opened in theaters across the U.S. Critic John Powers says that Bahman Ghobadi's film — about outlaw musicians in Iran — is a reminder of the liberating potential of rock.
March 25, 2010 Directed by Nicholas Ray, the 1956 film Bigger Than Life stars James Mason as a schoolteacher who experiences wild mood swings and psychotic episodes after becoming addicted to his arthritis medication. Critic John Powers applauds the film, which he says "has a juiciness missing from a period show like Mad Men."
February 25, 2010 The new Israeli movie Ajami, shortlisted for an Oscar, is filled with the daily collisions of everyday urban life in the the port city of Jaffa. Movie critic John Powers says that the interesting characters and situations that fill Ajami remind him of the HBO series The Wire.
January 29, 2010 The 2008 presidential election was the longest and most expensive in U.S. history. The campaign is now the subject of a book, Game Change, by two political reporters, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. The book has been making headlines with some of its revelations, but critic John Powers wonders whether that's a good thing.