In Theaters


What does one do, or even say, about a film that is, by any measurement that matters, perfect? When considering Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s finely etched animated adaptation of Satrapi’s two-part autobiographical graphic novel about growing up in Tehran during the revolution and the Iran-Iraq War, the problem (if one could call it that) becomes particularly acute. By compressing into this film the myriad of themes that it handles, the filmmakers could have easily encumbered it with a weight that would have outweighed its many sharp delights. But by some strange and fortunate circumstance, they have managed to incorporate each of those weighty topics into a work of art that’s light as a feather, in the manner of the true masterpiece.

Persepolis is in limited release now. You can read the full review at filmcritic.com.

In Books

Ellis is very good at relating the frightening moments of dramatic risk undergirding the history of the American Revolution, and it’s a skill that makes American Creation as enjoyable a read as it is. This is fortunate as the organizing principle behind the book can seem a bit loose, as evidenced by the grab-bag subtitle: “Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic.” Although it may well be that Ellis simply had a goodly pile of research that he didn’t want to waste and wanted to see how he could get a decent book out of it, that shouldn’t by any means deter readers, particularly those who appreciate a brisk, left-field approach in their history.

You can read the full article about American Creation at PopMatters.

New on DVD

By the end of season three of The Wire — aka HBO’s best excuse for staying on the air — one could sense that the show had, in some sense of the word, come to an end. It was certainly clear for a time that HBO executives thought so, having come close to canceling the multifaceted, frighteningly addictive urban drama yet again, as it never pulled anywhere near the kind of ratings that their warhorses like The Sopranos and Sex and the City had. With nobody of real consequence running the West Baltimore drug trade (the Barksdales’ chief rival and replacement, Marlo Stanfield, seems at first nothing more than some punk kid), what would be left that was worth watching? Plenty, it turns out.

The complete DVD set of The Wire: Season Four is in stores now and ready for your holiday purchase. You can read the full review at filmcritic.com.