May 2, 2013 In her classic '60s documentary, Shirley Clarke profiles a loquacious 33-year-old gay hustler who dreams of having a nightclub act. Her subject could hardly be more complex — and in examining him, she raises important questions about the relationship between fact and fiction.
March 29, 2013 A new documentary looks at obsessive fans of Stanley Kubrick's 1980 horror film The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. These fanatics look for hidden meanings in the movie, and while some of their theories sound outrageous, it's too simple to call such thinking deranged.
March 19, 2013 The celebration of Philip Roth's career reaches its peak in a new documentary — Philip Roth Unmasked — that will screen on PBS next week as part of the American Masters series. There's no doubt that Roth is a master, and not just an American one, but the film tiptoes around the novelist's dark ferocity.
February 6, 2013 Reporter-turned-novelist Gene Kerrigan sets his story in Ireland after the 2008 financial crisis. The Rage is a boundlessly readable portrait of a country in which ordinary citizens have been hit the hardest and all the old certainties have vanished.
December 5, 2012 When it was released 32 years ago, Michael Cimino's revisionist Western was considered one of the most colossal flops in Hollywood history. Critic John Powers takes a second look at the film and concludes that it's clearly "the work of one man and ... he wanted you to remember it forever."
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.