David Ansen

King of Comedy

"You feel you are in the presence of a benign but not easily known soul," David Ansen observed in Newsweek's 1986 profile of Robin Williams

A Lost Generation

AIDS silenced the arts. Newsweek's film critic recalls the toughest story of his career.

Does 'Cloud Atlas' Soar?

A megawatt cast attempts to bring the grand scheme of David Mitchell's complex novel to life. Reviewed by film critic David Ansen.

Oscar's Private Parts

Michael Fassbender's penis makes everyone laugh. Viola Davis is terrified of Meryl Streep. Read all the hilarious moments from Newsweek's Oscar roundtable.

He's Baaaaack!

Steven Spielberg gives us a crowd pleaser in 'The Adventures of Tintin' and a tear-jerker with 'War Horse.' Is it too much for one man?

The Ultimate Movie Guide

'Tis the season for spy thrillers, hidden gems, and a Jodie Foster meltdown. Sift through the theater with a critic's eye.

Joel and Ethan Coen on 'True Grit'

"Raising Arizona," "Fargo," and "No Country for Old Men" defy categorization—except as Coen brothers movies. So what happens when the quirky duo from Minnesota decide to remake a John Wayne Western?

The Best Movies of 2010

This year will not be remembered as a vintage one for movies, but it was better than most people will ever know. Unless you were in the privileged position to see movies at film festivals around the world, you'd have no idea how many good movies never see the light of day in U.S. theaters. Here are 10 superior 2010 films.

Movies: Sofia Coppola's 'Somewhere'

Coppola, a sharp observer of the small absurdities of show business, has earned the right to make movies exactly the way she wants. 'Somewhere' is her most minimal and Europeanized film yet.

Movies: Nicole Kidman in 'Rabbit Hole'

'Rabbit Hole' asks fundamental questions: how do you go on living in the face of irreparable loss? How do you patch together a relationship that has been sundered by grief?

Movies: Mark Wahlberg in 'The Fighter'

It's easy to say, when it's over, that 'The Fighter' falls into a familiar rousing-sports-movie formula. But if you are blissfully ignorant of the true story, you likely won't know which way this psychologically complex family saga is heading.

The Stuttering King

In a business notoriously obsessed with youth, where it's not uncommon for screenwriters to lie about their age to win a job, David Seidler is a stunning anomaly. At 73, he finds himself, for the first time in his career, a hot property. "I'm very happy now, in retrospect, that this kind of success didn't happen to me early on. It can really bend your head. I would have become very pompous."

'Hereafter': Clint Eastwood's Look at the Afterlife

Clint Eastwood flirted with the supernatural in his allegorical Western "Pale Rider," but nothing in his career prepares us for his haunting and haunted "Hereafter," a bold, strange, problematic investigation into the nature of the afterlife.

Movie Review: 'The Lovely Bones'

If anybody could bring The Lovely Bones to the screen, Peter Jackson would seem a perfect fit. The director of the worldly Heavenly Creatures (teenage girls, murder) and the otherworldly Lord of the Rings certainly has a vision broad enough to encompass both heaven and earth, which is where Alice Sebold's hugely popular novel takes place.

Movie Review: 'The Last Station'

Film opens Jan. 15: James McAvoy, Helen Mirren, and Christopher Plummer offer a grand display of acting fireworks in The Last Station, writer-director Michael Hoffman's juicy account of the fraught final year of Count Leo Tolstoy's life.

Movie Review: 'Crazy Heart'

Film opens Dec. 16: Once a headlining Country and Western star, Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is now lucky to get a gig at a bowling alley in Pueblo, Colo., which is where we first meet him in Crazy Heart.

Jason Reitman: The Grown-Up's Director

Film opens Dec. 25: According to the usual Hollywood script, Jason Reitman's Up in the Air should not be coming to a theater near you—or anywhere else. It's exactly the kind of film the big studios don't want to make anymore: a mid-budget ($25 million), hard-to-classify (serious comedy?

The Death of Shock Cinema

What's a film festival without a scandal? When Lars von Trier's Antichristdebuted at the Cannes film festival it prompted boos, cheers, derisive laughter, and angry complaints that the Danish provocateur (Dancer in the Dark, Dogville) had really gone too far this time.

'The September Issue' Is Serious About Fluff

It's Friday night, and you feel like avoiding the usual Hollywood fare and taking in a documentary. Which would you rather see: a film about the disastrous consequences of climate change, which foresees humanity's extinction in 2055, or a behind-the-scenes movie about Vogue magazine featuring fly-on-the-wall glimpses of the legendary editor and fashion queen Anna Wintour as she assembles her blockbuster September issue?A loaded question, to be sure.

Return to Woodstock. Again.

One of the most recycled sayings about the '60s—"If you remember them, you probably weren't there"—is also one of the dumbest. We get the joke: we were all too blitzed on chemicals and weed to have anything but the most foggy recollection.

The Return of the New York Neurotic

A Woody Allen movie starring Larry David is, in theory, a perfect storm of urban neurosis. "I'm not a likable guy," announces David's character, Boris Yellnikoff, at the start of Whatever Works.

David Ansen on "Rudo y Cursi"

The renaissance in Mexican movies is a fraternal affair. The movement's biggest stars—Alfonso Cuarón ("Y Tu Mamá También"), Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth") and Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu ("Amores Perros")—are all pals, much like that band of brothers (Spielberg, Lucas, Scorsese, Coppola) behind American cinema's 1970s "golden age." Cuarón, del Toro and Iñárritu are all listed as producers of the latest Mexican delight, "Rudo y Cursi," which is directed by Cuarón's actual...