November 15, 2012 James Bond and The Rolling Stones both turn 50 this year. As critic John Powers points out, both may have been born in response to a dying British Empire, but their evolving legacies have reflected the times through which these brands have lived.
October 25, 2012 True Grit author Charles Portis is the cult writer for people who hate cult writers. He hasn't published a book since 1991, and reviewer John Powers says the short pieces collected in Escape Velocity have been treasured for decades, passed around like samizdat by Portis fans.
August 24, 2012 Brazilian culture is often portrayed as either joyful folk tradition or brutal gang violence. But Kleber Mendonca Filho's Neighboring Sounds penetrates into the daily lives of suburban Brazilians — and critic John Powers says it may be the best Brazilian film since the '70s.
July 26, 2012 Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry follows the famous artist around the world as he repeatedly irks Chinese authorities with his art and political critiques. Fresh Air's John Powers says the documentary casts important light on the fight for greater freedom in China.
July 12, 2012 Greg Berlanti's new series on the USA Network stars Sigourney Weaver as the secretary of state and former first lady. Critic John Powers says he suspects that "even a Martian" would realize Weaver's character is based on Hillary Clinton — and that's not a bad thing.
June 21, 2012 Aaron Sorkin's new HBO series follows the inner workings of a cable news show that sets out to challenge our hyperpartisan, 24/7 news culture. But critic John Powers says Sorkin has created a show that replicates much of what it thinks it's opposing.
April 24, 2012 Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov writes short, surrealistic stories full of dark comedic surprises. His latest is The Case of the General's Thumb, but critic John Powers suggests starting with his 1996 novel, Death and the Penguin. It's a fast-paced, witty read and what Powers calls "an almost perfect novel."
March 21, 2012 The 1993 documentary The War Room, which offered a verite look behind the scenes of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, has just been released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD. Critic-at-large John Powers explains why the film was revelatory — and why it could never be made today.
February 22, 2012 An absorbing new documentary by Danish director Lise Birk Pedersen charts four years in the life of Masha Drokova, who became famous as the girl who publicly kissed Vladimir Putin. Critic John Powers says it "offers a fresh glimpse into how Putin's Russia actually works."
January 17, 2012 The Iranian film A Separation won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday. Critic John Powers says the remarkable film takes viewers inside a country that is far more complicated and fascinating than news headlines indicate.