Peter Rainer

  1. One Man BandPlaying a washed-up rocker turned substitute teacher, Jack Black unleashes enough comic energy in School of Rock to fill a stadium.
  2. Generation GapWoody Allen tries to court a younger audience. But how many twentysomethings are obsessed with Sinatra, Dostoevsky, and psychoanalysis?
  3. Social StudiesTo Be and to Have, a documentary about a single-room schoolhouse in rural France, offers up a poignant vision of how a teacher can shape […]
  4. Sleepless in TokyoIn Lost in Translation, Bill Murray plays a man stranded in a posh, all-inclusive hotel that serves as a metaphor for his numbed existence.
  5. For Art’s SakeTaking Sides resumes the age-old debate over whether artists should be held accountable for their politics. Neither side budges.
  6. Child’s PlayThirteen bills itself as an authentic take on being a teen in the age of J.Lo, but these filmmakers still have a lot of growing up to do.
  7. Pekar ExperienceAmerican Splendor heroizes Harvey Pekar, a real-life comic-book creator who chronicles the everyday adventures of sad sacks like himself.
  8. Love BitesIn The Secret Lives of Dentists, Campbell Scott plays a cuckolded dentist unable to summon the courage to confront his wife.
  9. Horse PlayGary Ross reworks the story of Seabiscuit, the champion racehorse of the Depression era, into a redemption myth.
  10. Treacle TreatCamp is a crowd-pleasing musical that overflows with exuberance, but you’ll want to check your cliché-detector at the door. […]
  11. Candid CamerasEleven filmmakers from around the globe offer up short takes on the World Trade Center tragedy in September 11.
  12. French TwistClaude Berri’s deftly played romantic comedy The Housekeeper stands out as an adult alternative amid a sticky slew of popcorn block […]
  13. Cheap ThrillsA British import, 28 Days Later, brings the zombie genre back to life. Swimming Pool fails to make a splash.
  14. Not So Jolly GiantOnce more with feeling: Ang Lee’s The Hulk is a thoughtful, at times disturbing psychodrama. Hollywood Homicide features a l […]
  15. Cold HeartThaddeus O’Sullivan’s The Heart of Me, set in pre- and postwar London, aims to be a passionate love story. But it’s so […]
  16. The ProfessionalsThe Italian Job offers plenty of classic heist-movie high jinks, but the real thrills come from watching an all-star cast that’s al […]
  17. Commercial BreakTogether follows a violin prodigy from the Chinese countryside who, when faced with the prospect of fame and fortune, makes the “ri […]
  18. Science FrictionThe Matrix Reloaded scores with its balletic fight sequences, special effects, and sexy stars in fetish-wear. Unfortunately, it’s a […]
  19. Out of ShapeIn The Shape of Things, Neil LaBute shows he can create women behaving as badly as men; the pageant of mutant humanity lengthens in the b […]
  20. Latin KingJavier Bardem fills the screen with his commanding presence in The Dancer Upstairs. Spellbound follows eight striving students as […]
  21. Life’s a PitchIn People I Know, Al Pacino brings his patented blood-and-thunder theatrics to the role of a washed-up flack trying to claw his way back […]
  22. Fresh AirChristopher Guest’s hilarious docu-comedy, A Mighty Wind, takes aim at the folk-music scene. Anger Management is nothing to […]
  23. High StakesNeil Jordan’s South of France caper, The Good Thief, is nearly done in by an overdose of glamour and glitz; happily, Nick NolteR […]
  24. Teen SpiritPeter Sollett’s sweet coming-of-age tale Raising Victor Vargas delivers a fresh take on the teen movie, thanks to the uncontrived p […]
  25. The Big ChillerA straight-up shot of horror, via Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher, may restore Lawrence Kasdan’s box-office vitality; echoes of p […]
  26. My Big Fat Brit LifeAn unflappable soccer teen fields Bend It Like Beckham’s generational anxieties; Mickey Rourke’s cowboy junkie cooks up a dos […]
  27. Hooray for Bollywood!Monsoon Wedding is an exhilarating pastiche of Bombay musicals and Hollywood humor; Big Bad Love offers a Debra Winger comeback bu […]
  28. The White StuffSteve Martin’s uptighty whitey in Bringing Down the House falls miserably short of being funny; in Tears of the Sun, Bruce W […]
  29. Twisted WebWith Spider, David Cronenberg once again demonstrates his deep affinity for decay—but gets ensnared in all the shadows; The Life […]
  30. Law and DisorderIn Dark Blue, Kurt Russell plays Eldon Perry, a street-smart cop who must confront his own capacity for corruption while working for a ro […]
  31. Children of the CornAll the Real Girls purports to be a fresh indie take on the teen-romance flick, but other than some truly original cinematography, all it […]
  32. Top 10 Movies of 2002Critic Peter Rainer picks his favorite films of the year.
  33. Masterpiece TheaterFilmmakers Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe followed iconoclastic director Terry Gilliam to Spain hoping to capture the making of a classic. What the […]
  34. Last FarewellUnlike Holocaust films that dwell on the horrific spectacle, Frederick Wiseman’s portrait of a doomed mother dictating final words to her son is […]
  35. Gangs of RioThe violence in City of God, about the crime-infested slums outside Rio de Janeiro, piles on numbingly; Adolf Hitler’s secretary […]
  36. Agent ProvocateurConfessions of a Dangerous Mind takes the memoirs of Chuck Barris, the game-show guru who claims to have also been a CIA hit man, at fac […]
  37. War HeroDrawing on his own experiences during the Holocaust, Roman Polanski creates a searingly haunted tale in his restrained adaptation of The Pi […]
  38. Old-World CharmIn Gangs of New York, Martin Scorsese creates a nineteenth-century Gotham that is stunningly unfamiliar, but the same can’t be said of […]
  39. Jack of HeartsIn About Schmidt, Jack Nicholson plays a smaller-than-life-size man who tries to redeem his empty existence. But the effect is more li […]
  40. Celluloid HeroesAdaptation, the new Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman collaboration, picks apart the myth that nothing good ever domes out of Hollywood the […]
  41. Foreign AffairsThe Quiet American is equal parts romantic thriller and moving meditation on the human toll of geopolitical idealism; in Almodóvar’s […]
  42. Chamber MadeThis time around, Harry Potter has more to worry about than the Dark Arts – though parts of The Chamber of Secrets are spellbinding, he […]
  43. Sex in the SuburbsIn Far From Heaven, Todd Haynes dissects the frozen moral climate of postwar Middle America; in 8 Mile, Eminem’s performance is im […]
  44. Sorry CharlieIn The Truth About Charlie, Jonathan Demme inexplicably tries to improve on the Audrey Hepburn classic Charade; the result is anot […]
  45. Student AffairIn Roger Dodger, Campbell Scott plays a caddish bachelor who sets out to educate his nephew in the ways of the opposite sex but ends up g […]
  46. Candid CameraBob Crane was many things – small-screen star, sex junkie, autoerotic auteur, murder victim – but in Auto Focus, he serves mainly to ad […]
  47. Revenge of the NerdPunch-Drunk Love brings a new, slightly more sinister Adam Sandler to screen, but the result, while unique, is two-dimensional and ultima […]
  48. Little RunawayThe anime blockbuster Spirited Away brings a young girl’s through-the-looking-glass adventures masterfully to life. Bloody Sund […]
  49. Good GriefMoonlight Mile may be a sentimental, feel-good look at a family in mourning, but Jake Gyllenhaal rises above the clichéd script with […]
  50. Girls Gone WildIn The Banger Sisters, two former rock groupies meet again in middle age, and life-affirming epiphanies ensue. S&M romance Secretary
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