Fellini discards the twin staples of character development and continuous narrative in favor of a series of set pieces organized around the tension between Rome’s mythic past and uncertain future.
In Fellini’s Roma, the director has totally liberated his obsessions from the discipline of telling a story or developing a character or even maintaining a comprehensible point of view.
We have never been overburdened with movies about electoral politics, probably because the process of running for office in this country is in itself such a highly entertaining pastime, at least for spectators.
In The Candidate, Redford and Ritchie have teamed again to deliver what I think is nothing less than the best movie yet done about politics in coaxial America.
One of the greatest films ever made, “The Sorrow and The Pity” is a contribution to history, to social psychology, to anthropology, and to art. If there’s any justice in the world, Marcel Ophüls’ monumental labor will be studied and debated for years.
The mesmerizing ‘L.A. Confidential’ unfolds in a seductive demimonde where violence and desire, nobility and vice, all intersect.
Woody Allen, to our relief, has decided to embrace the movies—a story, dramatic tension, complications—rather than “art,” with the result that he’s more of a moviemaker and perhaps more of an artist than before.
Spectacular yet severe, violent yet gravely formal, Kagemusha is marked by an overall nobility of style that extends to every gesture, stance, or movement.
Heartfelt and sincere, Ordinary People plods along glumly and finally achieves a moderate degree of emotional truth and power, but it’s far from an imaginative movie.
Coal Miner’s Daughter is a musical bio-pic without hysteria—a sweet-souled movie in a genre known for its flamboyant miseries and luxuriant despairs.
Tarantino serves up low-life characters and situations from old novels and movies, and he revels in every manner of pulp flagrancy—murder and betrayal, drugs, sex, and episodes of sardonically distanced sadomasochism.
Night and the City is based on a Jules Dassin B-movie from 1950 (same title), but its true spiritual antecedent, I suspect, is Sweet Smell of Success, the wonderfully ambivalent melodrama about the pleasures and corruptions of New York night-life in the late fifties, starring Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster.
Can the sentiment of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket be anything but mere attitude—death-enthralled chic?
Kubrick has, in one big jump, discovered new possibilities for the screen image. He took on a large challenge, and has met it commendably.
Poltergeist, which is about a family besieged by nasty, prankish ghosts, is no more than an entertaining hash designed to spook you. It’s The Exorcist without morbidity, or, more exactly, it’s The Amityville Horror done with insouciance and high-toned special effects.
There wasn’t a single scene in the English director Alan Parker’s first three feature films (Bugsy Malone, Midnight Express, Fame) that I thought rang true; there isn’t a scene in his new picture Shoot the Moon, that I think rings false.
Heaven’s Gate” is a numbing shambles. It’s a movie you want to deface; you want to draw mustaches on it, because there’s no observation in it, no hint of anything resembling direct knowledge—or even intuition—of what people are about. It’s the work of a poseur who got caught out.
Roland Joffé’s epic film is well-meaning and technically superb.
Pauline Kael reviews “The Long Goodbye”, Robert Altman’s 1973 movie based on Chandler’s 1953 Los Angeles-set novel.
La Notte, Last Year at Marienbad, La Dolce Vita
Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial envelops you in the way that his Close Encounters of the Third Kind did. It’s a dream of a movie—a bliss-out.