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  • Whitney: Can I Be Me

    Whitney: Can I Be Me


    Whitney Houston, probably the most skilled and talented singer I've ever heard, also had a tragic life of drugs and fraught relationships. Nick Broomfield eschewed his usual on-screen persona to make this straightforward, chronological biographic documentary of her life. The film is heavy with rare performance footage, especially from a 1999 European tour that was filmed by a documentary crew but heretofore never seen. But the film also has telling contemporary interviews with some of the people from her inner…

  • Take My Nose... Please!

    Take My Nose... Please!


    It's hard to imagine a less entertaining subject matter for a documentary than nose jobs and cosmetic plastic surgery. But make the subjects for study a century of female comics, many of whom made their living from denigrating their appearance, and leaven the mix with humor and compassion...and you strike filmic gold. Director Joan Kron is 89 and has been a contributing editor for the magazine "Allure," mostly covering plastic surgery. This is her first film; and it is a…

Popular reviews

  • El Topo

    El Topo


    The New York Times contacted me today for background about my review of El Topo that was published in the L.A. Free Press on April 23, 1971. They provided me with a scan of the article, and I'm reposting it here. Maybe 43 years later its verbiage is a little embarrassing; but I stand by what I wrote back then. How often do we get an opportunity to view what we thought about films through the prism of the far…

  • Joy



    David O. Russell's popularity and reputation for enlightened whimsy eludes me. I can't blame the actors in what has become his "stock company" for my dislike of this film. Rather it must be Russell's mechanistic, by-the-numbers script filled with neurotic characters acting nonsensically. I know I'm out of step with audiences here; so forget that I ever tried to review this film.