July 4, 2011 A new DVD set follows the presidential campaigns of '60, '64 and '68 — and shows just how much times have changed. Critic John Powers says it's hard not to feel a bit nostalgic for the days when running for president was treated as something noble, not grubby.
April 27, 2011 David Foster Wallace's unfinished novel, The Pale King, was recently published. But to truly enjoy his work, says critic John Powers, you must read his earlier pieces, which were filled with "a staggering eye for detail" from "a mind that was never predictable."
April 20, 2011 In the splendid documentary Nostalgia for the Light, Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzman draws parallels between astronomers searching for stars in the world's driest desert and women searching for the remains of loved ones who were disappeared under the Pinochet regime.
December 2, 2010 Critic John Powers has a theory about movies: The best gifts to give aren't necessarily the most recent hits. His 13 picks for the 2010 holiday season include a Charlie Chaplin classic, a Charles Laughton masterpiece and one of the greatest documentaries ever produced.
November 12, 2010 The late director Elia Kazan had a profound influence on American film in the decades after World War II. Critic John Powers says a new box set featuring 15 of his films, including On the Waterfront and Wild River, is a "terrific collection anchored by some of the most mythic performances in film history."
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.
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."