New in Theaters:
The Illusionist

An illusion itself as much as it is about a maker of illusions, Sylvain Chomet’s animated take on a never-filmed screenplay by Jacques Tati overflows with rainy-day beauty and mystery. The lack of any true dialogue only adds to its cloak-like myth-making; words would just ruin the poetry. Chomet’s film is also, of course, a beguilingly frustrating piece of work that can seem to hide and obfuscate more than is necessary. But at least the music is fantastic…
The Illusionist is playing now in limited release. You can read the full review at
In Theaters:

There have, of course, been fashion footage and photography that appear reasonable simulacra of art, and would-be films that are like little more than expensive ad campaigns. Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere floats uneasily between these worlds, neither wholly honest storytelling nor wholly empty spectacle…
Somewhere is playing now in limited release. You can read the full review at PopMatters.
In Theaters:
Rabbit Hole

Pretty isn’t always a bad thing in films about horrible events, but it can be a distraction, not to mention a cheap way to tidy up situations that are by definition untidy. John Cameron Mitchell’s adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about grieving parents is a near-perfect example of what happens when decorousness gets in the way of raw, ripping emotions…
Rabbit Hole opens today in limited release. You can read the full review at PopMatters.
In Theaters:
Casino Jack

In the late George Hickenlooper’s last film, Casino Jack, a man flies closer and closer to a corrupting sun because he can’t see how anything he plans is not going to work out, until the glue holding his wings together starts to melt and the ground comes rushing at him faster than he thought possible…

Casino Jack opens today in limited release. You can read the full review at PopMatters.

In Books:
Program or Be Programmed

As one of the first writers to understand the paradigm-demolishing impact of the Internet (Cyberia), Douglas Rushkoff has long been lumped in with the web world’s cheerleaders. As this slim, cool-headed broadside makes clear, however, if Rushkoff was ever unambiguously thrilled about the online age, that time is past…

Program or Be Programmed is available throughout the known universe. You can read the full critique at Barnes & Noble Review.
New in Gifts

The good people at PopMatters run an annual gift guide called Consuming Consumables, viewable here as an endlessly looping mashup of great films, books, music, and other ephemera sure to bring joy or at least hours of mindless distraction.
My contributions — two DVD sets and one gift book — are here, here, and here.
New in Film Awards:
The Social Network – Best Picture

Now that the end of the year is nearly here, it’s also time for awards season. New York Film Critics Online, which for some reason allows yours truly to claim membership in, announced its annual awards yesterday, and herewith the results — also noted by The Hollywood Reporter:
The Social Network
David Fincher –  The Social Network
James Franco – 127 Hours
Natalie Portman – Black Swan
Christian Bale – The Fighter
Melissa Leo – The Fighter
Matthew Libatique – Black Swan
Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network
I Am Love
Exit through the Gift Shop

Toy Story 3
Clint Mansell – Black Swan
Noomi Rapace – The Millennium Trilogy (the Swedish-language Girl with the Dragon Tattoo… trilogy)
John Wells – The Company Men
The Kids Are All Right
TOP 10 PICTURES (Alphabetical)
127 Hours
Another Year
Black Swan
Blue Valentine
The Ghost Writer
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
The Social Network
In Theaters:
All Good Things

All Good Things is inspired by the much-reported case of Robert Durst, whose family was a powerful fiefdom in New York real estate. Though he was suspected of murdering his wife, who disappeared in 1982, he was never indicted for it. Marc Smerling and Marcus Hinchey’s script (which gives all the characters new names and so potentially escapes a threatened lawsuit) builds on Durst’s testimony from another murder trial. Ryan Gosling plays the Durst stand-in, David Marks, and it’s in his heavy-lidded, impenetrable stare and reluctant voice that the film finds its unsteady anchor…
All Good Things is playing now in limited release. You can read the full review at PopMatters.