Jeff Giles


A Great Improvisation by Stacy SchiffThe rage for books about the Founding Fathers is turning into a rage for one founder in particular, Benjamin Franklin.

Grecian Formula

Brad Pitt's quest for credibility has been only a qualified success, so his first scene in Wolfgang Petersen's epic "Troy" is not just the movie's most titillating--he is revealed butt-naked, sleeping off a threesome in a tent--but its most nervous-making as well: he opens his mouth and starts acting.

Grecian Formula

Brad Pitt's quest for credibility has been only a qualified success, so his first scene in Wolfgang Petersen's epic "Troy" is not just the movie's most titillating--he is revealed butt-naked, sleeping off a threesome in a tent--but its most nervous-making as well: he opens his mouth and starts acting.

Secrets Of 'The King'

Can't Break This Hobbit: Will Frodo Destroy The Ring? Will Aragorn Wear The Crown? An Exclusive First Look At Director Peter Jackson's Exhilarating 'Lord Of The Rings' Finale, 'The Return Of The King'--And At The Battles The Cast Waged On-Screen And Off


Some Seins of LifeJerry Seinfeld believes in nothing like nobody's business: he devoted his sitcom to it, not to mention the past few years of his life. These days, however, he is clearly up to something.

In The Company Of Victorian Poets

Neil LaBute's "Possession" is bad, but not spectacularly bad, which is disappointing. It's tempting to think that having made his name with two smart, unpleasant movies about misogyny and misanthropy ("In the Company of Men" and "Your Friends & Neighbors"), LaBute took on A.

Out Of This World

Hollywood Is Fat And Happy With Its Summer Of Sequels. Meanwhile, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away -Philadelphia--Director M. Night Shyamalan Is Proving Himself To Be Our Next Great Storyteller. A Close Encounter With The Man Behind 'Signs'

Luminous Novel From Dark Master

Ian McEwan began his career in the mid-'70s in Britain with a series of short, sharp shocks. His dark, chilling stories and novels made "Lord of the Flies" look like a weekend retreat and were consoling only insofar as they were lean, brilliant and addictive.

Books: Errors And 'Corrections'

The one thing that Jonathan Franzen and everyone else agree on is that Jonathan Franzen should have kept his big mouth shut. Franzen's new novel, "The Corrections," had gotten an extraordinary parade of glowing reviews, though NEWSWEEK's Malcolm Jones begged to differ.

Six Degrees Of Alienation

Elizabeth Benedict's new novel, "Almost," has a wonderfully blithe, carefree first sentence: "I have this boyfriend who comes to visit me--it's mostly a sex thing." That's also the last blithe, carefree sentence in the novel, incidentally.

When We Were Kings

Bill Murray is working the room: enter at your own risk. It's a drizzly morning in New Jersey, and director Wes Anderson is shooting "The Royal Tenenbaums," a comedy due in December about one deeply eccentric family's attempt to survive divorce, heartache, the '70s and each other.

Rock 'N Roll Mama

Before you judge Bebe Buell--before you dismiss her as merely the mother of Liv Tyler, or the ex-girlfriend of Steven Tyler, or the ex-girlfriend of Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, Rod Stewart, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren--you really should see her rock. "Come to one of my shows!" she'll tell you. "Let me beat you up!

The Trouble With Hairy

The apes in Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes" look tremendously regal, but the heavy makeup makes the actors sound thick-tongued and muffled: it's like they're all wearing retainers.

Revenge Of The Nerds

Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) hate everyone, except for the people everyone else hates. They've just graduated from high school and are forgoing college in order to concentrate full time on rolling their eyes and making withering comments.

The Wizard Of Oddities

John Irving's "The Fourth Hand" manages to be both entertaining and unpleasant: you turn the pages faster and faster, in part because you're dying for it to be over.

Hustler Chic

J T Leroy's first novel, "Sarah," was a story of innocence not just lost but kicked, beaten and shot through the heart. The book, which was at least partially autobiographical, concerned a boy who idolized his addict-hooker mother so much that he began dressing as a girl and turning tricks at a truck stop when he was 12. "Sarah" was dark and freaky, but unapologetically entertaining.

'A.I.'? Ay-Yi-Yi!

This is an emergency message to moviegoers who've been reading rave reviews of Steven Spielberg's new film, "A.I.," and who, as a result, may be under the mistaken impression that it's good. "A.I." is, in fact, a cold, muddled, endless spectacle that attempts to be both a Spielberg movie and a Stanley Kubrick movie and ends up being neither.

You Need Some 'Schooling'

Your first impressions of Heather McGowan are that she's funny, smart, solitary and, at the moment anyway, sort of freaking out. She wants her first novel, "Schooling," to speak for itself.

Interview: Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck plays a pilot who volunteers for the Battle of Britain. He spoke with NEWSWEEK's Jeff Giles. I haven't longed to write a screenplay again. I've been writing stuff just personally for me.[Laughs] Just single-word stuff, actually.

Cool So Is Thriller This

You are a young, independent-movie director, and Oscar nominee Steven Soderbergh has just left a screening of your new film absolutely convinced that the independent-movie scene is dead.

A Great New Aerosmith Cd?

Aerosmith's latest offering, "Just Push Play," comes on so strong--with such flashy, swaggering, Zeppelin-esque bravado--that you've got to listen to the CD several times before you realize how deeply terrible it is.

Arts Extra: Unreviewable

Recently, NEWSWEEK's film critic, David Ansen, went on vacation, and it fell to me to review movies for three weeks. Initially, it struck me as odd that David had chosen to take time off so soon after the holidays.

Cate Expectations

Cate Blanchett is everything you expected--and so much more bald. The actress recently shaved her head for a role, and when you first see her, emerging from a hotel elevator in Portland, Ore., she's got a shaggy red wig stuffed into her handbag and looks like someone trying to sneak a dog onto a plane.

Geek Love

In a recent interview, Amy Heckerling said that she always got a kick out of being referred to as "'Clueless' director Amy Heckerling," and that she named her new movie "Loser" in the hopes of being called "'Loser' director Amy Heckerling." Be careful what you wish for. "Loser" is a disappointingly slack, hackneyed comedy.

It's A Mutant, Mutant World

Puberty can make anybody feel like a mutant. But young Rogue (Anna Paquin) has got it particularly bad: she recently discovered that if she touches people for too long, she drains their life force and they die quaking in pain.