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The Addiction
The movies of Abel Ferrara (Ms. 45, King of New York, Bad Lieutenant) are not meant to go down easily, and The Addiction is surely his most uncompromising effort yet....
Film Review  November 10, 1995, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...The movies of Abel Ferrara (Ms. 45, King of New York, Bad Lieutenant) are not meant to go down easily, and The Addiction is surely his most uncompromising effort yet..."

Sex Addiction and the City
Steve McQueen on Shame's New York state of mind
Screens Story  December 16, 2011, by Marc Savlov
"...It's the first signal post of trouble ahead of – and behind – Brandon, a cipher of a man in an enigma of a city, with one hell of an intimacy problem. He is, we discover, being devoured from within by a mammoth addiction to sex..."

Charlene deGuzman Tackles Sex and Love Addiction in SXSW Film Unlovable
Love is sickness, not the cure in this anti-rom-com
Screens Story  March 8, 2018, by Michael Agresta
"...In 2014, Charlene deGuzman was already an indie-cool YouTube and social media star (she describes her route to fame as "telling sad-girl Twitter jokes") when she hit rock bottom in her sex and love addiction journey. She sought help, entered a 12-step program, and forced herself through a difficult period of abstinence...."

Addiction Is a Disease
Postmarks  May 13, 2005
"...Louis, Remind me to box your ears next time I see you. Just because I said addiction is a disease not a lifestyle choice [“Postmarks,” May 13] doesn't mean I want to ban smoking, prohibit liquor, or further criminalize drugs, etc..."

Addiction Is Not a Lifestyle Choice
Postmarks  May 10, 2005
"...Dear AC, Please tell me you don't think addiction is a lifestyle choice. That's like saying bipolar disorder is a lifestyle choice..."

Isn't Addiction a Lifestyle Choice?
Postmarks  April 25, 2005
"...Louis Black, Michael King, and now Daniel Mottola have in the course of arguing the pros and cons of smoking bans, called smoking a “lifestyle choice.” No one can claim ignorance of the truth that smoking is not a lifestyle choice. It is a devastating addiction that kills 1,000% more people per year than all other drugs combined..."

Postmarks  August 4, 2003
"...They have disposable income, but they use it to pursue spiritual growth and to manifest health in both themselves and their community. They help people to break hurtful addictions..."

The Creative Dead-End of Addiction
Who says blockage is bad for you?
DAILY Screens  October 13, 2008, by Kimberley Jones
"...Here Barton is arguing with Tony Shalhoub's producer character, Ben Geisler, about Mayhew. It's a funny exchange, but also, I think goes to the heart of my argument – that block can be creatively freeing (à la "I'm going to write myself into the script I'm adapting!"), while addiction is a creative dead-end – the writer as defined by addiction alone...."

Fun Fun Fun Fest: Jane's Addiction
More Guns N’ Roses than Nirvana
DAILY Music  November 8, 2015, by Greg Beets
"...Despite their role in kick-starting the Nineties alt-rock revolution, Jane’s Addiction had nothing to do with the anti-rock star aesthetic that delineated the era...."

Addiction and the Meaning of Life
DAILY Screens  October 13, 2008, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...Unlike heroin users, however, all of his habits are legal, socially acceptable, and even expected from a single, middle-aged man whose life has fallen apart. There’s nothing a junkie can say to someone that justifies his/her addiction to heroin, no explanation beyond the main one: that heroin is their lifeblood..."

Saying No to Automobile Addiction
Postmarks  September 22, 2008
"...Dear Editor, This is a reminder to all bicyclists that the last Friday of the month is Critical Mass. As cyclists, we need to unite with our brothers and sisters around the world in saying no to the addiction of the automobile..."

The Impact of Drug Addiction
Postmarks  March 26, 2013

Talking About Addiction Until the Head Begins to Bleed a Bit
It comes down to Bukowski – and Bukowski doesn't come out well
DAILY Screens  October 13, 2008, by Kimberley Jones

i have a new addiction! just what i didn't need.
DAILY Promotions  October 12, 2007

Help Desk
Is it phone addiction or just the modern way to consume information?
Screens Column  July 30, 2015, by Michael Agresta
"...This is a complicated question, HABIT, and we're not addiction scientists. But we do know that research is out there – and readily available online, if you dare to click – demonstrating that Internet addiction can indeed share psychological and neural mechanisms with drug addiction..."

Exquisite control and spasmed anguish mark the performances of Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan in this dark, NC-17-rated story about a sex addict.
Film Review  December 16, 2011, by Kimberley Jones
"...All humans have habits, some of them bad. Brandon Sullivan's (Fassbender) bad habits have curdled into full-bore addiction..."

Beautiful Boy
Steve Carell soars above this overly-earnest addiction biography
Film Review  October 26, 2018, by Richard Whittaker
"...As America continues to fail to tackle not just the opioid epidemic, but addiction in general, it feels like what's needed is a plucked-from-the-headlines afterschool special. Which, in many ways, is exactly what true-life addiction drama Beautiful Boy is..."

Keep the Lights On
In Keep the Lights On, a spare domestic drama about addiction, filmmaker Ira Sachs makes regular use of a 1986 Arthur Russell song, “Soon-To-Be Innocent Fun/Let’s See” – a title...
Film Review  November 2, 2012, by Kimberley Jones
"...In Keep the Lights On, a spare domestic drama about addiction, filmmaker Ira Sachs makes regular use of a 1986 Arthur Russell song, “Soon-To-Be Innocent Fun/Let’s See” – a title that perfectly evokes the playful beginnings of a love affair but, notably, hardly pauses for breath before announcing uncertainty. The love affair here is between a Danish emigré documentary maker, Erik (Lindhardt), and Paul (Booth), who is climbing the rungs at a New York publishing house..."

There is a scene in this film that may be the most lushly romantic thing I've ever seen on celluloid. It's a wedding, specifically the Mexican Santeria wedding of Jane's...
Film Review  February 4, 1994, by Marc Savlov
"...Directed by: Perry Farrell and Casey Niccoli. Starring: Perry Farrell, Casey Niccoli, Teri Nunn and Jane'S Addiction..."

I Am a Sex Addict
If you leave the theatre with that awkward too-much-information feeling after peering into the director's self-exposed psyche, you will also remember his high-wire act that combines fact and fiction, drama and self-deprecating humor, honesty and self-delusion.
Film Review  June 23, 2006, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Zahedi stars in and narrates his film directly to the audience from an alcove in the chapel where the ceremony for his third marriage is about to take place. He relates the history of his sex addiction and uses re-enactments to depict the ways in which his addiction to prostitutes ruined the three most important relationships he’s had with women prior to his impending nuptials..."

My Blueberry Nights
Filmmaker Wong Kar-wai's English-language debut stars the singer Norah Jones in her acting debut, but instead of exuding newness this sensuous film has an also-ran feel.
Film Review  April 25, 2008, by Kimberley Jones
"..."The stories have all been told before," Norah Jones – the singer – croons in the opening and closing of Wong's English-language debut. Indeed, the stories told within – of heartbreak and addiction and addiction to heartbreak – uniformly have an also-ran feel to them, something I never would have accused the Hong Kong filmmaker of before..."

With an award-winning performance by Maggie Cheung, Clean is one of the most emotionally honest movies about drug addiction ever made.
Film Review  June 2, 2006, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Starring: Maggie Cheung, Nick Nolte, Martha Henry, James Johnston, Béatrice Dalle, James Dennis, Jeanne Balibar and Don McKellar. AFS@Dobie Clean is one of the most emotionally honest movies about drug addiction ever made..."

Ben Is Back
The opioid crisis invades a family Christmas in this timely drama
Film Review  December 21, 2018, by Danielle White
"...I’m not so sure about the idea that drug addiction is a “disease”; I’ve always viewed it as a symptom of despair. It’s recklessness running rampant in the mind of someone who doesn’t care what the outcome is between living and dying..."

Being Charlie
Rob Reiner directs this addiction drama written by his son Nick
Film Review  May 13, 2016, by Kimberley Jones
"...You don’t find too many straight dramas on Reiner’s CV; they don’t play to his greatest strength, his comic touch. Surely the personal element is what drew him to this latest project, an addiction drama about hitting bottom, written by Reiner’s son Nick and Matt Elisofon (they met in rehab) and loosely based on Nick’s struggles to get clean..."

Low Down
John Hawkes plays junkie jazz musician Joe Albany in this film based on his daughter's memoirs.
Film Review  November 14, 2014, by Josh Kupecki
"...Joe Albany (Hawkes) was a talented jazz pianist who played with the likes of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis and helped usher in the bebop style of jazz in the Forties, but by the time we meet him at the beginning of Low Down, it’s 1974 and jazz has fallen out of favor. He’s living in a seedy Hollywood flophouse with his 11-year-old daughter, Amy-Jo (Fanning), struggling with a heroin addiction and scraping by on any gig he can find, which means run-down Italian restaurants and dive bars..."

Mr. Brooks
Serial killers are a dime a dozen in this often beguiling but essentially ludicrous movie that stars Kevin Costner in an unconventional role.
Film Review  June 1, 2007, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Starring: Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, William Hurt, Dane Cook, Marg Helgenberger, Danielle Panabaker, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Jason Lewis, Aisha Hinds and Lindsay Ann Crouse. Serial killers are a dime a dozen in this often beguiling but essentially ludicrous movie that flirts with the idea that the urge to kill is just another one of the pesky addiction problems that plagues modern society..."

Owning Mahowny
Part cautionary tale, part psychological study, Owning Mahowny tells the 1982-set story of Dan Mahowny, a rising Toronto bank executive with a gambling addiction, who siphoned $10.2 million from his...
Film Review  June 20, 2003, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Maury Chaykin, John Hurt and Sonja Smits. Part cautionary tale, part psychological study, Owning Mahowny tells the 1982-set story of Dan Mahowny, a rising Toronto bank executive with a gambling addiction, who siphoned $10.2 million from his bank to feed his habit before he was inadvertently discovered through a wiretap set for his bookie..."

Naked Lunch
Leave it to Cronenberg to tackle William S. Burroughs' notorious – and notoriously "unfilmable" – novel. Then add in a score by Ornette Coleman.
Film Review  January 24, 1992, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...The movie allows more paths of entry – we see Lee in the movie's opening shot literally working as an exterminator, it gives us a heterosexual love story hook not present in the novel, there are also fewer insect images per cubic inch and less emphasis on the totalitarian control aspects. Heroin addiction is transposed into the safer fiction of “bug powder” junkiedom and the homosexual thematics are virtually erased..."

The King
America's soul explored on a road trip in Elvis Presley's car
Film Review  July 20, 2018, by Richard Whittaker
"...As he proves again, few directors have Jarecki's skill for pulling a massive stack of disparate themes – race, celebrity, power, wealth, drug addiction, poverty, militarism – into one coherent narrative. The road trip process helps, allowing him to weave together an extraordinary and broad array of voices, from Memphis Mafia buddy Jerry Schilling talking about sneaking into black clubs on Beale Street, or Emmylou Harris in awe of the legend, or the always surprisingly astute Ashton Kutcher discussing the caustic nature of fame, or the King's maid Nancy Rooks, her heart still pierced by watching him die..."

Another glimpse behind the curtain at the late musical legend
Film Review  July 6, 2018, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...This film is more probing than conspiracy-seeker Broomfield’s, although neither study fully explains how her life (not to mention that of her only child Bobbi Kristina) ended so piteously. Drug addiction and bad choices are the obvious answers to what caused Houston’s notorious downward spiral..."

The House
They say the house always wins, but sometimes ...
Film Review  July 7, 2017, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Furthermore, the house manages to rake in a ridiculous half-million dollars from their suburban friends in a matter of weeks. Complications ensue in the form of a slimy councilman (Kroll), Kate’s reignited pot addiction, and Scott’s transformation into the operation’s enforcer..."

The California Highway Patrol rides again

Film Review  March 31, 2017, by Kimberley Jones
"...The investigation is dull, the jokes dispiritingly flat-footed, with Ponch’s sex addiction and squirminess over male intimacy supplying most of the setups for CHIPS’s puerile humor. The film mainly seems to exist to show off the depth of Shepard’s Rolodex (Maya Rudolph has a fruitless cameo) and his ardor for fast machines..."

Addicted to Fresno
Natasha Lyonne and Judy Greer co-star as sisters in off-color comedy
Film Review  October 2, 2015, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Directed by Jamie Babbit (But I’m a Cheerleader, which also starred Lyonne) and written by Karey Dornetto (producer and writer for numerous TV series, most recently Portlandia), Addicted to Fresno is a dark comedy about twisted sisters, but it lacks bite. Older sister Shannon (Greer) is just out of rehab for sex addiction, her most recent conquest being her therapist (Livingston)..."

Thanks for Sharing
This story about sex addicts is top-heavy with healing bromides and romantic-comedy beats.
Film Review  September 20, 2013, by Kimberley Jones
"...Which is to say: When it comes to sex we all have our weird ways. And yet, despite making sex addiction its topic, Thanks for Sharing isn’t interested in exploring those idiosyncratic erotic preferences that sometimes explode into obsessions...."

Country Strong
It's Nashville-on-the-rocks as Gwyneth Paltrow takes a starring turn as an alcoholic singer trying to make a comeback.
Film Review  January 14, 2011, by Kimberley Jones
"...If much of the hackneyed dialogue here has the ring of lyrics scribbled on a bar napkin to the saddest song ever writ, well, that’s sort of the point – and even the pleasure – of Country Strong. No country cliché is left unturned in writer/director Shana Feste’s four-part-(dis)harmony ditty about a multiplatinum artist battling addiction and three Nashville players snared in her devastating orbit..."

The Fighter
Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, and Amy Adams combine forces with director David O. Russell to make one of 2010's most exciting movies.
Film Review  December 17, 2010, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Chief among them is Dicky, his crackhead brother and trainer. Bale’s performance is a thing of brilliance, capturing the physical contradictions of the character’s residual athleticism and corrosive addiction..."

The Town
Ben Affleck directs, co-writes, and stars in this gripping action-drama about bank robbers.
Film Review  September 17, 2010, by Kimberley Jones
"...The title’s town isn’t blue-blood Cambridge or scrappy South Boston, but rather Charlestown, a kill-or-be-killed stretch of land notorious for hatching bank robbers like chickens do eggs. Ingrained violence and OxyContin addiction are casual facts in Charlestown, but Doug MacRay (Affleck) is trying to leave both behind..."

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Nic Cage delivers one of his best and most outrageous performances in Werner Herzog's cops-and-iguanas drama.
Film Review  December 11, 2009, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Finkelstein, a seasoned TV writer on numerous police procedurals, is its own beast (iguana, to be exact). Finkelstein’s “bad lieutenant” is bad in many of the same ways as Ferrara’s (rampant cocaine and narcotics use, gambling addiction, and flagrant abuse of the badge), but gone are the Catholic guilt, the New York City streets, and the naked, howling Keitel..."

Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer
This celebratory documentary skips briskly over the 60-plus-year career of one of jazz's pre-eminent and most original singers.
Film Review  November 28, 2008, by Theresa Everline
"...Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer features excerpts – often frustratingly brief – from interviews O'Day gave everywhere from Dick Cavett's talk show to NPR's Fresh Air. Often, the subject is her nearly two decades of drug addiction and other personal troubles, and the film attempts to be clear-eyed about this material..."

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
This comedy starring Simon Pegg is based on Toby Young's memoir about working at Vanity Fair.
Film Review  October 10, 2008, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...Starring: Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Jeff Bridges, Danny Huston, Gillian Anderson and Megan Fox. When it was published in 2001, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, Toby Young’s memoir of his brief stint as a writer and contributing editor at Vanity Fair, was celebrated as a snarky, pitch-perfect, borderline insufferable tonic for a world gone mad on celebrity addiction..."

El Cantante
Jennifer Lopez and her real-life husband, Marc Anthony, portray the lives of salsa star Hector Lavoe and his wife, Puchi, in this biopic overstuffed with music-industry clichés.
Film Review  August 3, 2007, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...It's the formula that counts: the rise-and-fall trajectory that drives every Behind the Music-style docudrama. Unfortunately, there's little more than formula in Ichaso's El Cantante, a biopic about the singer known as Lavoe – or "the voice." His rise from the beaches of Puerto Rico to the pinnacle of New York's rising salsa movement and Nuyorican community is shown as meteoric and trouble-free, his descent into drug addiction and unreliability appears endless and endlessly enabled, the love of his wife Puchi is instant and eternal..."

Kicking & Screaming
Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall, and Mike Ditka all appear together in a film that sings the praises of kids soccer and caffeine addiction.
Film Review  May 13, 2005, by Marc Savlov
"...Phil drives a Prius and owns a vitamin store (Buck, on the other hand, runs a wildly successful sporting goods chain) but has never, according to the story, sampled coffee in his life. Not until he hires his dad’s next-door neighbor, Mike Ditka (yes, that Mike Ditka), as assistant coach, does he take his first sip of victory and ends up drawing as close to meth addiction as a PG film can go..."

Woman Thou Art Loosed
Based on a novel by Bishop T.D. Jakes, a black evangelical preacher and author who also co-stars, this unusual film is part revivalist sermon, part narrative drama, and wholly urgent and engaging.
Film Review  October 22, 2004, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...So too, here. Woman Thou Art Loosed seethes with the rage and anger of modern black women, who are fed up with the legacy of abuse, neglect, addiction, and poor self-esteem that have grown into a self-perpetuating cycle of damage..."

A Dirty Shame
John Waters, America's king of trash, is back with this tale of sex addiction, fetishes, and mad, bad, lascivious squirrel sexin’.
Film Review  September 24, 2004, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Tracey Ullman, Johnny Knoxville, Selma Blair, Chris Isaak, Mink Stole, Patricia Hearst and Suzanne Sheperd. America’s self-proclaimed king of trash cinema returns to form in this NC-17 tale of sex addiction, fetishes, and mad, bad, lascivious squirrel sexin’..."

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
You don't have to be a Metallica fan to enjoy this candid documentary that in essence is a complex chronicle of people just trying to get along.
Film Review  September 10, 2004, by Marrit Ingman
"..."All these rules and shit," smirks Metallica drummer Ulrich in the studio. "This is a rock & roll band." But when addiction and animosity threaten to rend the group during their recording of the St..."

This film is a sympathetic biopic about the troubled life of Nuyorican writer Miguel Piñero (author of Short Eyes).
Film Review  May 17, 2002, by Kimberley Jones
"...The film's depiction of Piñero begins as a grimy, drugged-up poet genius and continues as such, like a flat line. For all its honesty about the artist's addiction and general unhingedness, the film still romanticizes him..."

The Eyes of Tammy Faye
After the holocaust, three things will remain, says Tammy Faye Bakker Messner's most recent TV co-host, gay comedian JM J. Bullock: Roaches, Cher, and Tammy Faye. The well-documented public life...
Film Review  September 8, 2000, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...She stood by her man through his scandal over the affair with Jessica Hahn and his imprisonment for financial irregularities at Heritage USA. Also part of this portrait of a survivor is Tammy Faye's subsequent divorce from Jim, her marriage to Heritage USA's master builder Roe Messner, Messner's imprisonment for bankruptcy fraud, her addiction to the sedative Ativan, her bout with colon cancer, and her estrangement from and reconciliation with her children..."

My Life and Times With Antonin Artaud
Antonin Artaud, a crazed visionary who spilled his blood and guts into theatrical productions, poems, and drawings that expressed his yearning for art that liberated our souls like ancient shamanistic...
Film Review  December 13, 1996, by Russell Smith
"...My Life, adapted from dubiously accurate diaries by poet manqué and Artaud butt-kisser Jacques Prevel, is so drenched with ennui that at times you almost detect the sly wink of the parodist. Unfortunately, this chronicle of Artaud's last days, which saw him living as an outpatient from an nuthouse near Paris and battling addiction to prescription opiates, is about as amusing as the Black Death..."

The Addiction
Screens Story  June 21, 1996
"...Director Ferrara (King of New York, Bad Lieutenant) is on familiar ground in this stylized, modern-day vampire film starring Lili Taylor as the NYU grad student literally sucked into the philosophy of evil after an undead Sciorra bites her on the neck. The Addiction takes a more cerebral approach to the eternal concept, the dark side being something inherent to which we give ourselves in moments of weakness; its taste, once acquired, rouses the desperate hunger of a junkie craving a fix..."

Leaving Las Vegas
Leaving Las Vegas hits you like a breath of fresh air coupled with a 100-proof chaser. The movie is an amazing, bracing, funny, audacious, tender, and sobering piece of filmmaking....
Film Review  November 22, 1995, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...The movie is an amazing, bracing, funny, audacious, tender, and sobering piece of filmmaking. Few movies have ever dared to be this remorseless in their portraits of addiction -- in this case, alcoholism..."

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