The Killing Fields, which is based on Sydney Schanberg’s 1980 Times Magazine article "The Death and Life of Dith Pran,” is by no means a negligible movie. It shows us the Khmer Rouge transforming Cambodia into a nationwide gulag, and the scenes of this genocidal revolution have the breadth and terror of something deeply imagined.
Will Blow-Up be taken seriously in 1968 only by the same sort of cultural diehards who are still sending out five-page single-spaced letters on their interpretation of Marienbad?
De Palma keeps our senses heightened that way all through Blow Out; the entire movie has the rapt intensity that he got in the slow-motion sequences in The Fury (1978). Only now, De Palma can do it at normal speed.
If John Huston’s name were not on Prizzi’s Honor, I’d have thought a fresh new talent had burst on the scene, and he’d certainly be the hottest new director in Hollywood. The picture has a daring comic tone—it revels voluptuously in the murderous finagling of the members of a Brooklyn Mafia family, and rejoices in their scams.
Rambo: First Blood Part II explodes your previous conception of “overwrought”—it’s like a tank sitting on your lap firing at you. Jump-cutting from one would-be high point to another, Rambo is to the action film what Flashdance was to the musical, with one to-be-cherished difference: audiences are laughing at it.
As a movie, Purple Rain is a mawkish fictionalized bio [...] It’s pretty terrible; the narrative hook is: will the damaged boy learn to love? There are no real scenes—just flashy, fractured rock-video moments.
Gremlins isn’t dull; there’s always something going on. In one scene, we discover that Giz can reproduce musical tones; nothing comes of it. The picture is an unholy mixture—a whimsical pop shocker—and finally nothing comes of any of it.
by Pauline Kael The great thing about a tall tale on the screen is that you can be shown the preposterous and the implausible. In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the director Steven Spielberg is like a magician whose tricks are so daring they make you laugh. He [...]
One of the worst failures of the movie is, implicitly, a rather comic modern predicament. Huston obviously can't make anything acceptable out of the Bible's accounts of sinfulness and he falls back upon the silliest stereotypes of evil
So Barry Lyndon is a failure. So what? How many “successes” have you seen lately that are half as interesting or accomplished, that are worth even ten minutes of thought after leaving them? By my own rough count, a smug little piece of engineering like A Clockwork Orange was worth about five. I’m reminded of what Jonas Mekas wrote about Zazie several years ago: “The fact that the film is a failure means nothing. Didn’t God create a failure, too?”
By far his most ambitious film to date technically and in the scope of its references, Taxi Driver shows Scorsese's urgency working at full throttle—to the film's considerable success and less considerable failure.
Crimes and Misdemeanors, written and directed by Woody Allen, is a sad, censuring look at the world-famous doctor and other crooks in high places who (in Allen’s view) have convinced themselves that they can do anything, because they don’t think God is watching.
Pauline Kael reviews 'New York Stories', the 1989 anthology film consisting of three shorts with the central theme being New York City. Episodes directed by Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen.
What saves Munchausen from mediocrity is that you sense that Gilliam is brainstorming. He goes hippety-hoppety all over the place. The picture is too dry and too busy to be considered merely mediocre. And he has his gifts. He retains an edge of Monty Python’s cranky, warped slapstick, and he has a painter’s eye.
In Last Tango there is a quite plain idea—it’s very nearly a film with a message: sex as an instrument of power divorced from tenderness or curiosity results in chaos and despair.
Da Nang è lontana da Montelepre. La storia di Salvatore Giuliano e la guerra del Vietnam non si consumano sotto lo stesso cielo. Ma, forse, le traiettorie della "blindatissima" Full Metal Jacket e la parabola fatale del Siciliano attraversano lo "stesso" cinema.
Possibly there’s no way to make a picture this fast (it was shot in ten weeks) and achieve something comparable in greatness to the elegant comedy of evil that Laclos left us.
The director Alan Parker likes to operate in a wildly melodramatic universe of his own creation. In Mississippi Burning, which is set during the Freedom Summer of 1964, he treats Southerners the way he treated the Turks ten years ago in Midnight Express.
Pedro Almodóvar may be the only first-rank director who sets out to tickle himself and the audience. He doesn’t violate his principles to do it; his principles begin with freedom and pleasure.
Stanley Kubrick has topped a masterpiece with a masterpiece. A Clockwork Orange is not the best Anglo-Saxon language film of 1971, it is the best film of 1971, and there are so many masterful things in it that I hardly know where to begin.
Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is remarkable on a number of counts. Firstly, it is perhaps the first multi-million-dollar supercolossal movie since D. W. Griffith’s Intolerance fifty years ago which can genuinely be regarded as the work of one man.
This view of the Satyricon is proof positive that the golden resources lavished on Fellini by his trusting producers can be reduced to brightly-colored but unenriching fare.
Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune are the stars of Hell in the Pacific, and there’s nobody else in the movie — just this American soldier and this Japanese soldier stranded on a Pacific island during the Second World War, and neither speaking a word of the other’s language.
Visually, the movie is without depth or shading, and often the compositions seem cramped; possibly the chalky, off-key look was by choice, but, if so, I'm not sure what dictated it. This is Kurosawa's first period film in color, and he has used color in an eerily unrealistic, painterly way.
2001 no less than Dr. Strangelove is an apocalyptic vision: it i is an alternate future but no less pessimistic. Beneath its austerely beautiful surface an alarm is sounded for us to examine a problem of which Dr. Strangelove was a pronounced symptom: the possibility that man is as much at the mercy of his own artifacts as ever he was of the forces of nature.
Louise Sweeney, New York-based film critic for The Christian Science Monitor, wrote a generally favorable review following the New York premiere of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Boston staff critic John Allen’s full-page review appeared in the Monitor a month later and M-G-M reprinted it as an ad in a Sunday edition of The New York Times.
Any annoyance over the ending—if indeed it is widely felt—cannot really compromise Kubrick’s epic achievement, his mastery of the techniques of screen sight and screen sound to create impact and illusion.
Sometimes the components of a picture seem miraculously right and you go to it expecting a magical interaction. That's the case with Popeye. But it comes off a little like some of the Jacques Tati comedies, where you can see the intelligence and skill that went into the gags yet you don't hear yourself laughing.
Polanski's Tess is Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles under sedation. The film has a penitential attitude toward the suffering that men inflict on women. This Tess becomes a tribute to women's dear weakness.