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Stories by Duncan Shepherd

A Second Coming

As we ease into the lazy summer pace of one blockbuster per week, we also settle into the provincial screening schedule of forever lagging a week behind. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal ...

Mixed Bag

To say the least, Speed Racer is colorful. Color-overflowing, to say a little more. Color-engulfed. The live-action version of the late-Sixties made-in-Japan TV cartoon (which I never saw) is of course, in our day and ...


Call me an ingrate, but I cannot suppress the comment that Landmark Theatres have finally found a slot for Hou Hsiao-hsien only after the Taiwanese filmmaker made a film in France and in French, and ...

Thing to Ponder

Under the imprimatur of Judd Apatow comes Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a comedy of heartbreak and heartmend. Apatow personally has directed only The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, but as a producer his name apparently has ...


Should anyone be suffering symptoms of withdrawal as the “Seen on DVD” column gears down from weekly to monthly, let me share the latest accretions to my own spotty collection. I don’t purchase DVDs often ...


It takes a bit of cheek to call a film Flawless. Especially a Demi Moore film. In it, she carries that affixed chip on her shoulder into the role of the sole female executive at ...

North and South

Two Mondays ago I saw two films. In the morning was the advance screening of the American indie, Snow Angels, scheduled to open locally a week from Friday. I should probably, by custom, wait till ...

Found in Translation

Attention all masochists. Funny Games is not what it sounds like. Not fun and games, not funny ha-ha, not charades and Mad Libs. It is Michael Haneke’s English-language remake of his own Austrian film of ...

All the King's Women

Extracted from a fat Philippa Gregory novel (the novel, that is, is fat), The Other Boleyn Girl doles out yet another installment in the long-running royal soap opera. Think of it as Elizabeth: The Genesis, ...

Not Much Appetite

Full plate, half-heartedly picked at: Be Kind Rewind. Twisted, tangled, snarled zaniness around a behind-the-times video store, facing foreclosure, in Passaic, N.J. An habitué of the place (Jack Black, at his most demonically possessed) unwittingly ...

The Way It Was

Scouring the upcoming schedule for Landmark Theatres, from now through May, I find no mention of the current reissue of Alain Resnais’s 1961 Last Year at Marienbad, one of the smallest handful of films that ...

New Names

Thanks to an attractive cast, the creamy cinematography of John Bailey, and the light touch of writer and first-time director Jeff Lowell, Over Her Dead Body is an uncommonly pleasant romantic-comic fantasy, in the Blithe ...

The Show May Go On

By practice and principle, the Oscar nominations are not an occasion for me, as they are for so many in my fraternity, to guess the winners, to lament the omitted, or to fill out an ...

Party's Over

No matter how generally annoying a technical innovation or stylistic vogue might be (the telephoto lens, the zoom shot, rack focus, etc.), there will always come along a movie to show how it can be ...

Plain and Simple

And now for something completely different. Persepolis, from France and in French, is a cartoon recap of the comic-strip memoir by Marjane Satrapi, covering her childhood in Iran under (and then out from under) the ...

Last Call

His commitment is forever seen as something of a pose.

Reputations at Stake

Underfoot in the Christmas rush: Margot at the Wedding is Noah Baumbach's somewhat disappointing follow-up to The Squid and the Whale, though maybe not so disappointing if proper heed had been taken of his slovenly ...

A Place in the Shade

If their powers are fully on display, it's only because, paradoxically, their powers are held partly in reserve.

The Lost Weekends

It was for just such situations that we have coined the expression "no-brainer."

Critical Time

A transparent phony playing a transparent phony is perhaps too much phoniness.

Big Crooks and Little

Even if he knew any shortcuts, he wouldn't take them.

Let's Get Serious

There is no shadow of ambiguity in the characterization of the aghast suspect.

Thrillers Three

Clooney has firmly suppressed the head-waggling smugness that so often chills his charm.


He is oftentimes prone to flog his troupe into emotional boil-over.

The Unusual Suspects

This is not so much a film of the individual trees as of the overall forest.

Stop the World

To impose perspective is an important part of a critic's job, but it's a tricky part.


The three-hour-plus running time comes to seem increasingly inexcusable.


The first-person narration sets the tone closer to a stand-up routine.

Paris in the Springtime

The level of culture in the film offers the American moviegoer a rare refuge and respite.

Killer on the Loose

The big question that hovers over Zodiac is not, Who's the Zodiac Killer? Nor is it, How did he elude capture? Nor, What ever became of him? None of the above. The big question is, ...


Jim Carrey's ability to "stretch" himself has proven to be strictly physical.

Spy in the Ointment

We can never really understand the man, but we can revel in him.

Thirteenth Month of the Year

The touches of animation are too few to have been worth the bother.

Movies reviewed this week: Venus, Le Petit Lieutenant, The Hitcher

It's a challenge to stay unspoiled after Children of Men and Letters from Iwo Jima on successive weeks. Many a week out of the year, Le Petit Lieutenant would doubtless be a sight for sore ...

Balancing Act

The frenzy of the battlefield is not Eastwood's forte as a director.

The Mexican Connection

Del Toro never lets his special effects take over to the same extent as in his Hollywood movies.

Good As It Got

The audience declared itself unwilling to follow this filmmaker down the path of anguish he has chosen to explore.


By rights, Stallone ought to have taken over the Burgess Meredith role.

Snowed Under

Movies reviewed this week: Dreamgirls, The Good German, We Are Marshall, The Painted Vail, The History Books, The Pursuit of Happyness, Eragon

Maya Bad

Movies reviewed this week: Apocalypto, Blood Diamond, The Holiday, The Nativity Story

Before It’s Too Late

Even the few orthodox interviews sound informal.

Few Thanks

This is a type of science fiction generally restricted to the printed page.

Early Season

The new Bond is not just another pretty face, in fact is a pretty craggy face.

Man on a Mission

Has his sexism perhaps crossed over from fiction into reality?

Young and Gay

Never mind how tortuous the route to a punch line.

Mightier Than the Sword

The more you know about an event, the more tainted it will get.


The director tries to lose the viewer in a maze of flashbacks-within-flashbacks.

Back in Action

The training is gone into in some depth and at even greater length.

A Shame to Leave

A few moving, movie-ish moments fight through the messiness.

Superman Departs

The parallel plotlines take a long time to shed any light on each other.

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