BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC By now, after 10 feature films, assorted shorts and TV’s weirdest nighttime soap, we have mapped many of the dark recesses of the psyche of writer/director David Lynch. We know just what provocations push his buttons. We can relax into a comfort zone now while Lynch unleashes his expected tropes — the bugs twitching underground, the violent sex, the ironic old pop songs, the flashes of gore and morphing identities. Yet somehow, despite his mannerisms becoming ever more familiar, the years have done little to dull the effect of Lynch’s debut masterpiece, 1977’s sleepwalking vision […]


Sherrybaby (Directed by Laurie Collyer) A standard issue dress-down act from Maggie Gyllenhaal, which I suppose she had to get around to sooner or later. (Please resist, La Zooey.) ‘Raw’ and ‘non-judgmental’ and ’empathetic, even when our protag — an ex-junkie trying to regain custody of her son — does the exact stupidest thing she could do at any juncture, which is a bit too often for my tastes. Should be needless to say that it doesn’t contrast well with Clean, with which it shares a near-exact premise (and a lead named Maggie!). Olivier Assayas did everything he could to […]

REVIEW: ALPHA DOG (Directed by Nick Cassavetes, 117 minutes)

BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC Now that he’s brought sexy back, snagged Scarlett Johansson and popularized the gift-wrapped penis, you have to ask, what can’t Justin Timberlake do? Sorry Haters, but you won’t find the chink in this pop phenom’s armor watching his big screen debut in Alpha Dog, a surprisingly effective freewheeling crime drama from director Nick Cassavetes that opens today. Based on true events (bah, whatever) Alpha Dog tells the story of the pot-dealing gangster-wannabe Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch) and his posse of hard-partying buddies. With the rap videos constantly playing on their big screen TV, these who […]


BEST PICTURE OF 2006: Because it held a cracked mirror up to the thing that is killing us all: ignorance and all its byproducts — fear, hate, superstition. Because fuddy-duddies may complain “Borat” is mean or crass or contrived, but the fact is nothing is made up, everything is true, sad to say, just exaggerated with industrial-strength absurdity for potent comedic effect. Because Sartre said ‘hell is other people’ and “Borat” is full of ‘other people.’ Because Borat played the MSM like a violin, with the wacky Khazhakstani becoming a constant ghost in the news machine for months before and […]

APOCALYPSE WOW: Why Do My Favorite Films Of 2006 Make Me Hate Myself And Want To Die?

BY DAN BUSKIRK, FILM CRITIC APOCALYPTO (2006, directed by Mel Gibson) CASINO ROYALE (2006, directed by Martin Campbell) DEATH OF LAZARESCU (2005, directed by Christi Puiu, Romania) DELIVER US FROM EVIL (2006, directed by Amy Berg) THE DEVIL & DANIEL JOHNSTON (2006, directed by Jeff Feuerzeig) I AM A SEX ADDICT (2006, directed by Caveh Zahedi) THE KING (2006, directed by James Marsh) LITTLE CHILDREN (2006, directed by Todd Field) MUTUAL APPRECIATION (2006, directed by Andrew Bujalski) WASSUP ROCKERS (2006, directed by Larry Clark) Is not gloom in the very air we breathe, or am I seeing the world through […]

REVIEW: He Coulda Been Somebody

ROCKY BALBOA (2006, directed by Sylvester Stallone, 102 minutes) BY DAN BUSKIRK As the press cheers the return of Rocky Balboa to the big screen, you have to ask yourself: Is the public really crying out for another round with this mug, after 30 years? If the Riverview, the only movie theater in South Philly, draws only a three quarters-filled house at the advance screening, I’d say signs point to this fighter’s legs finally giving out. Hearing the promising advance word, I’ll admit to being vaguely optimistic that, against all reason, the man who wrote the arm-wrestling epic “Over the […]

TRIBUTE: Goodnight Mr. Ertegun, Wherever You Are

Somebody Hip: Ahmet Ertegun, 1923-2006 ED KING REMEMBERS: Growing up in love with rock ‘n roll and its extended family, images of Atlantic Records founders Ahmet and Neshui Ertegun and their team of hipster producers, such as Jerry Wexler, were burned into my impressionable brain. I never learned exactly what this group of hitmakers did beside put together the right people in the right places and then get photographed having cocktails with the Beautiful People of the 1970s pop culture scene, but the Erteguns were there in the grooves with every record I loved by The Coasters, Aretha Franklin, Otis […]

TRIBUTE: Peter Boyle Has Exited The Monster’s Ball

Actor, Emmy winner, Philly native, LaSalle College alumnus and former seminarian Peter Boyle, 71, died Tuesday night. DAN BUSKIRK REMEMBERS: Peter Boyle didn’t look good bald. Actually, he didn’t look good with hair either, and perhaps you should put aside your warm memories of the recently departed actor and take a good look at his picture. His eyes are partly unreadable because of his natural squint, his lips are thin and seem to rest in a perpetual smartass smirk, and that forehead! With its thickened brow leading up to that bulbous dome, Boyle’s swollen head seemed to suggest both the […]

HOLLA: J-Kenn, Straight Outta The 610, Lord Help Us

THE WOOK SPEAKS: You gotta at least give Jamie Kennedy a shout on this front — he’s easily the second best performer ever to emerge from the 19082 — a few paces behind Tina Fey and a good mile ahead of the dead heat that is the chick from the “Blair Witch Project” and the corpse of Jim Croce. Which is to say that when “Scream” was the shizzy back in ’96, J-Kenn was assuredly Upper Darby’s Great White Hope.Which explains why 10 years on, he’s put out a rap album. Actually, the tense on that should be past, as […]

BREAKING: Peter Boyle Dead at 71

Dec. 13, 2006 —┬áPeter Boyle, who gained fame playing everything from a tap-dancing monster in “Young Frankenstein” to the curmudgeonly father in the long-running TV sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” has died. He was 71. Boyle died Tuesday evening at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He had been suffering from multiple myeloma and heart disease, according to his publicist, Jennifer Plante. Boyle was beginning to gain notoriety playing hard-bitten, angry characters when he took the role of the hulking, lab-created monster in Mel Brooks’ 1974 horror film sendup. The movie’s defining moment came when Gene Wilder, as scientist Frederick Frankenstein, introduced his […]