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

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?

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: 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. Earth—specifically, a suburban American town in 1973—is where 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is murdered at the start of the tale. Heaven—or...

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. The tale depicts a tug of war over Tolstoy's legacy—a clash between ideals and reality, the flesh and the spirit. The great novelist (Plummer), in thrall to his idealistic philosophy, has renounced his title, his property, eating meat, and sex, and is about...

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. At a grizzled 57, he's a broke, chain--smoking alcoholic with four marriages under his belt and a tendency to run outside to vomit in the middle of a set. Still, he hasn't lost his voice, or, when he needs it, his charm, so you can understand why Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a small-town reporter who...

Movie Review: Tom Ford Directs 'A Single Man'

Film opens Dec. 25: Making his debut as a movie director, the fashion designer Tom Ford has ambitiously chosen to adapt Christopher Isherwood's masterly 1964 short novel A Single Man. In its day, the book was quietly revolutionary in its matter-of-fact depiction of a fateful day in the life of a gay, middle-aged Englishman in Los Angeles. George, an English professor at a small college—played here with exquisite subtlety and deep feeling by Colin Firth—is a man struggling to find a reason...

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? funny drama?) movie about grown-ups made for grown-ups. "They have no faith in these kinds of movies usually," Reitman says. They don't usually have much faith in 32-year-old guys who dress like skater dudes...

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. Von Trier, mixing horror-movie conventions with art-film angst, assaulted the audience with hard-to-watch depictions of genital mutilation, bloody orgasms, and a heroine cutting off her clitoris with scissors. (Article continued...

'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. The first film, called The Age of Stupid, is...

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 truth is, for the generation that came of age in those -consciousness-stretching days, those memories are probably the most vivid of a lifetime. It's everything after that we can't always remember. Nineteen sixty-nine? Clear as a bell. Nineteen...

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, the star and creator of Curb Your Enthusiasm, has always been a more aggressive neurotic than the kvetcher Allen, whose characters tend to mask their misanthropy with halting self-denigration. Playing "himself" on HBO, David is a beehive of irritability, lashing out at a world that always...

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...