Movie reviews

Blood Simple (1984)

Blood Simple | Review by Pauline Kael

Blood Simple has no sense of what we normally think of as “reality,” and it has no connections with “experience.” It’s not a great exercise in style, either.

No Country for Old Men

The Coen Brothers: A Killing Joke | by David Denby

The Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men casts an ominous and mourn­ful spell from the first shot. Over scenes of a desolate West Texas landscape, an aging sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) ruminates on the new viciousness of crime.

Monsieur Verdoux

Monsieur Verdoux | Review by James Agee

I think Monsieur Verdoux is one of the best movies ever made, easily the most exciting and most beautiful since Modern Times. I will add that I think most of the press on the picture, and on Chaplin, is beyond disgrace.

Amadeus (1984)

Amadeus (1984) | Review by Pauline Kael

Milos Forman trudges through the movie as if every step were a major contribution to art, and he keeps the audience hooked the same way people were hooked by Hollywood’s big, obvious, biographical epics.

Barry Lyndon

Barry Lyndon | Review by Michael Dempsey

Barry Lyndon is utterly the opposite of the loose, improvised movies which are so popular with many critics these days. Every detail of it is calculated; the film is as formal as a minuet.

Bringing Out the Dead

Bringing Out the Dead (1999) | Review by Stanley Kauffmann

A chief trouble with Martin Scorsese’s new film is that it has to strain to be a Scorsese film. Certain graphic qualities have marked most of his work, and as with any director of personality and style, those qualities had become as natural to him as breathing. But in Bringing Out the Dead, the formerly natural seems forced, redemptive, almost salvaging.

The Straight Story (1999)

The Straight Story (1999) | Review by Stanley Kauffmann

Anyone ignorant of Lynch who sees The Straight Story will need an extra mite of patience to allow its beauty to unfold; others will be curious from the start about why this unconventional filmmaker chose this material, and that curiosity will speed up the unfolding.

Tom Cruise and Stanley Kubrick on the set of Eyes Wide Shut

In Memoriam: Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) | by Stanley Kauffmann

Eyes Wide Shut is a catastrophe—in both the popular sense and the classical sense of the end of a tragedy. Everything in Kubrick that had been worming through his career, through his ego, and through his extraordinary talent swells and devours this last film.

Top Gun (1986)

Top Gun (1986) | Review by Stanley Kauffmann

Films like Top Gun bring out the pharisee in many of us. We deplore the ethos that these films promote at the same time that, somewhere deep in us, we’re glad that at least some people live by that ethos.

Fellini’s Roma (1972)

Fellini’s Roma | Review by Paul D. Zimmerman

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.

Fellini’s Roma

Fellini’s Roma | Review by David Denby

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.

The Candidate (1972) Robert Redford

The Candidate | Review by Richard Schickel

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.

The Sorrow and the Pity (1969)

The Sorrow and the Pity (1969) – Review by David Denby

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.

Anjelica Huston and Martin Landau in Crimes and Misdemeanors

Crimes and Misdemeanors | Review by David Denby

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.