Review: ‘Persepolis’

Directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. With voices of Gabrielle Lopes, Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve.

Review: ‘Persepolis’

Directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. With voices of Gabrielle Lopes, Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve.

A Stunning Sex Scene— With No Sex

The most erotically charged movie scene I've encountered recently occurs about 30 minutes into "Starting Out in the Evening," a small independent movie by director Andrew ("The Talent Given Us") Wagner. It's not a sex scene, exactly. No clothes are removed; no kiss is exchanged. The man, played with superb restraint by Frank Langella, is a formal, courtly novelist in his 70s, a reclusive writer highly prized by a coterie of literary intellectuals but largely forgotten by the public. The girl ("Six Feet Under's" Lauren Ambrose) is young enough to be his granddaughter. Ambitious, flirtatious, an avid worshiper of his novels, the attractive graduate student has persuaded him, against his better judgment, to allow her to interview him for her thesis on his work. Brazenly insinuating herself into his isolated life, she breaks down his rigidly enforced solitude. What exactly are her motives, we wonder? She's an ambiguous mixture of naivet? and cunning, so lost in her idealized vision of...

Film Heroes and Zeroes

I usually avoid novels about Hollywood. I'm a movie critic: it's coals to Newcastle. So many of them are just gossip tarted up with literary pretensions. But Steve Erickson's one-of-a-kind "Zeroville" is a novel for people who love movies. The deeper into them you are, the more you'll get out of it. Erickson's protagonist, Vikar Jerome, is in way deep, but he doesn't see movies quite how most people do: he thinks, for example, that "The Exorcist" is a comedy. Raised by a fierce Calvinist father who wouldn't allow him to see movies until he was 20, he arrives on Hollywood Boulevard via Greyhound bus in 1969, just when the Manson family goes on its rampage. Vikar has his own streak of violence, which tends to erupt when people mistake the tattoos on his shaved head of Elizabeth Taylor and Monty Clift in "A Place in the Sun" for Natalie Wood and James Dean. The unworldly, ex-seminarian Vikar is a kind of cinematic idiot savant: imagine a cross between "Being There's" Chauncey Gardener...

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