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Stories by John Rubio

Sacha Baron Cohen, Past Borat, Past Bruno

Sacha Baron Cohen, finding his face too familiar now (even in disguise) for the hijinks of movies such as Borat and Bruno, assembles a ragtag narrative, pilfered from the headlines of international news. He plays ...

First Position: Some Humanity, Not Hoop Dreams

Filmmakers follow the lives of several aspiring ballet dancers from around the globe (ages 9 to 19) as they train for the Youth America Grand Prix, a prestigious dance competition in New York City that ...

We Have a Pope: A “What If” Meditation on the Passing of the Papal Torch

Director and co-writer Nanni Moretti presents us with a “what if” meditation on the passing of the papal torch. Following the death of the old Pope, the conclave of Cardinals elects Father Melville (played with ...

Reviewed: 21 Jump Street, John Carter, Let the Bullets Fly

The problem is not that “they don’t make them like they used to.” The problem is that they continue to make them about what they used to, and they continue to make them the way ...

The Conquest, Beneath the Darkness, Tomboy: Reviewed

Director Xavier Durringer imagines the political ascent of French president Nicolas Sarkozy. There is a touch of vulgar whimsy in the way the politicians phrase their frustration: “First the press licks you, then tricks you, ...

Movie Review: The Rum Diary, Hell and Back Again, Habana Eva

Photographed in a dry, dingy beige, the film looks like it were being viewed through a discarded snakeskin. This is not altogether a fault; the anemic film stock suits the sultry drip of setting and ...

Reviews: Warrior, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, Brighton Rock

The sport of mixed martial arts battles for legitimacy, being perceived somewhere between a barbaric form of pugilism and a glorified WWF match. Likewise, MMA movies have had to forge a meager existence as genre ...

Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts: Larry Crowne

Tom Hanks cowrote, directed, and stars in this novel pleasantry about a 50-something, all-too-amiable employee of the month. He works at a Walmart-style retailer called UMart (their slogan is “I Love U”). Hanks’s title character ...

Everything Must Go, Bridesmaids, and Hesher

Everything Must Go As authors go, Raymond Carver is not a golden boy of Hollywood — more a precious gem popping up here and there in the work of directors with a particular itch to ...

Strongman and the Oddity of Fame

Strongman Director Zachary Levy documents the daily clean-and-jerk of Stanley Pleskun, a strength-performer from South Brunswick, New Jersey, who goes by the handle “Stanless Steel” — the self-proclaimed “strongest man in the world (at bending ...

Interview: Brad Anderson

I’ve followed the work of director Brad Anderson ever since Session 9. When I was given the chance to interview him for his new film, Vanishing on 7th Street, I jumped at the opportunity. I ...

Interview: Channing Tatum

[John Rubio interviewed Channing Tatum February 2, 2011.] Rounding the top of the staircase of the Se Hotel (lusciously subtle decoration with an Asian accent), I almost miss him until we are introduced — Channing ...

Modern Barcelona Is Biutiful

Biutiful Biutiful is in the eye of the beholder, in this case one who is willing to appreciate the visceral realities of urban squalor: the confined quarters, the peeling walls, the stained sinks, and the ...

True Grit Stands Alone

True Grit Jeff Bridges’s work with the Coen brothers in The Big Lebowski is well known, and as his Academy Award for Crazy Heart shows, he is no slouch in a cowboy persona. But to ...

Aguilera Floods Burlesque

Burlesque Christina (howl like it hurts) Aguilera plays Ali, short for Alice, a cute-as-pie Iowa waitress with aspirations of Sunset Strip stardom. By means of contrived necessity (that is to say, she walks by the ...

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