James Bond and The Rolling Stones both turn 50 this year. As critic John Powers points out, both may have been born in response to a dying British Empire, but their evolving legacies have reflected the times through which these brands have lived.
Meryl Streep stars as Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd's biopic about the former prime minister of the United Kingdom. Film critic David Edelstein applauds her performance, calling it "one of the greatest impersonations I'd ever seen."
George and Ira Gershwin wrote some of their best songs for movies -- one of which, 1937's A Damsel in Distress, has just been issued by Warner Archives. Critic Lloyd Schwartz says it may be the oddest of the Gershwin brothers' films.
At its core, John le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy isn't really about espionage, says critic John Powers. The 1974 novel, adapted for the screen in 1979 by the BBC, is actually about secrets and lies and shifting identities -- which is to say, a metaphor for our own daily lives.
The Trip, a British comedy featuring two comedians trading their best celebrity impersonations, got critic John Powers thinking about memorable voices from the movies. Famous celebrity voices, he says, are not what they used to be.
Adam Hochschild's pensive narrative history, To End All Wars, focuses on those who fought -- and also on those who refused. Hochschild is a master at chronicling how prevailing cultural opinion is formed and, less frequently, how it's challenged.