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The Guilty

With its single setting and real-time story, The Guilty is a brilliant genre exercise, a cinematic study in tension, sound design, and how to make…

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Halloween

Do you know the biggest sin of the new Halloween? It’s just not scary. And that’s one thing you could never say about the original.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Elizabeth Taylor helps host surreal AIDS benefit

CANNES, France -- I am a little dizzy. I have just returned from a $2,500-a-ticket dinner auction that followed a fashion show of Victoria's Secret swimwear and included Kenneth Branagh and James Caan stripping to the waist to be massaged by supermodel Heidi Klum on top of a piano later to be played by Elton John, while Harvey Weinstein auctioned off lunch with Nelson Mandela for $100,000.

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Even great films can leave you infuriated

CANNES, France -- Films are booed at Cannes for two reasons: Because they are bad, or because they are infuriating. Those in the second category are likely to be quite good, although they make you so mad, you have to step back and cool off to appreciate their qualities.

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Woody's wit and wisdom

In his new movie "Small Time Crooks," opening Friday, Woody Allen plays an ex-con who dreams up a bank heist. It involves tunneling into a vault from a basement down the street, and he installs his wife (Tracey Ullman) to run a cookie store as a cover. The cookies make them millionaires, the money goes to her head, and she hires a British art expert (Hugh Grant) to tutor her on culture, while her husband misses his old pals and their card games.

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Reel tired

CANNES, France -- Since my last dispatch I have seen nine films, four of them more than three hours long, bringing my Cannes total to 16 movies in six days. I feel like the hero of "A Clockwork Orange," who had his eyelids propped open with toothpicks while cinema was force-fed into his brain.

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Cannes dough

CANNES, France -- The big stars don't like to stay in town. It's more prestigious for them, and no doubt more comfortable, to stay 45 minutes away at the Hotel du Cap d'Antibes, which is the kind of hotel where it is not an affectation but a necessity to pull out a big roll of bills of high denominations, because the Hotel du Cap accepts no checks or credit cards only cash. Cash for everything. Cash for rooms, cash for drinks, cash for a towel in the beach cabana.

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Opening film hardly a night to remember

CANNES, France -- I am sure that the opening of this year's Cannes Film Festival will be a night to remember, but I will not remember it, because I will be elsewhere. I will not attend the inaugural screening of Roland Joffe's "Vatel," even though it does star Gerard Depardieu and Uma Thurman, and even though I am invited to the party afterward.

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Ebert's Oscar predictions (2000)

If "The Cider House Rules" wins the Academy Award for best picture next Sunday night, expect the groans to more or less equal the cheers. There are those who sincerely believe it is a good picture, but there are other, perhaps more numerous, who believe "Cider's" seven nominations are less a tribute to the film's greatness than to the well-oiled Miramax Oscar Machine.

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A seat in the balcony with Bill Clinton

WASHINGTON, D.C. He was an only child until he was 10, and both his parents worked. But you could go to the movies for a dime, he remembers, and he went to a lot of them. "I saw every movie that came my way when I was a child," President Clinton said, "and they fired my imagination - they inspired me. I think it's interesting that I'm 53 years old, and my favorite movie is 'High Noon,' a movie I saw when I was 6."

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