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.
January 21, 2010 The series Burn Notice returns tonight on cable's USA network, and critic John Powers says it's worth checking out, if you haven't. It's a jaunty, self-consciously retro spying-and-caper series that's content merely to be good, without striving to be Meaningful.
December 15, 2009 Critic John Powers has a theory: The best movies to give are seldom the recent hits. Instead, a good gift DVD should transport you into a different world that you can immerse yourself in over and over. Check out his favorites for this holiday season.
December 3, 2009 The Oscar-nominated 1979 film My Brilliant Career stars Judy Davis, as a young woman growing up in rural Australia at the end of the 19th century. Film critic John Powers gives Davis credit for creating the template for the Australian screen actress: bravery, incandescence, and occasional cussedness.
November 24, 2009 Martin Scorsese said of Sam Fuller's work, "If you don't like the films of Sam Fuller, then you just don't like cinema." The maverick screenwriter and director died in 1997, but a new 7-disc selection of his work embodies what's most enjoyable and enduring about pulp fiction.
October 26, 2009 Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story made a splash, but critic John Powers says its critique of capitalism is "the kind of scattershot tirade I used to hear in my college dorm." Better object lessons: New documentaries, Schmatta and American Casino, that do far more to explain how grand economic forces shape our daily lives.