Pauline Kael collection of articles

PALE RIDER (1985) – Review by Pauline Kael

2018-02-18T11:19:33-08:00 February 17th, 2018|Categories: CINEMA|Tags: , , , , |

As an actor, Eastwood never lets down his guard. His idea of being a real man is that it’s something you have to pretend to be—as Sergio Leone put it, he’s wearing a suit of armor. This actor has made a career out of his terror of expressiveness. Now here he is playing a stiff, a ghost. It’s perfect casting, but he doesn’t have the daring to let go and have fun with it. Even as a ghost, he’s armored.

BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985) – Review by Pauline Kael

2018-02-18T11:21:27-08:00 February 17th, 2018|Categories: CINEMA|Tags: , , , , |

What keeps Back to the Future from being a comedy classic is that its eye is on the market. Despite Zemeckis and Gale’s wit in devising intricate structures that keep blowing fuses, the thinking here is cramped and conventional. I wish that moviemakers and their designers would stop using old Life magazines for their images of the American past.

VICTIM (1961) – Review by Pauline Kael

2018-02-11T23:35:52-08:00 February 11th, 2018|Categories: CINEMA|Tags: , , , , |

It was a bit startling to pick up an English newspaper and see that the review of Victim was entitled “Ten-letter word”—but as it turned out. The Observer was referring not to Lenny Bruce’s much publicized hyphenated word but to the simple term “homosexual,” which it appears is startling enough in a movie to make the Johnson office refuse to give Victim a seal of approval.


2018-01-21T11:50:05-08:00 January 21st, 2018|Categories: CINEMA|Tags: , , , , |

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is the most innocent of all technological-marvel movies, and one of the most satisfying. This film has retained some of the wonder and bafflement we feel when we first go into a plan­etarium: we ooh and aah at the vastness, and at the beauty of the mystery. The film doesn’t overawe us, though, because it has a child’s playfulness and love of surprises.

BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI’S 1900: HAIL, FOLLY! – Review by Pauline Kael

2018-01-20T12:31:28-08:00 January 20th, 2018|Categories: CINEMA|Tags: , , , , |

Bertolucci is trying to transcend the audience appeal of his lyrical, psy­chological films. He is trying to make a people’s film by drawing on the mythology of movies, as if it were a collective memory. 1900 is a romantic moviegoer's vision of the class struggle—a love poem for the movies as well as for the life of those who live communally on the land.

THE AMERICAN FRIEND – Review by Pauline Kael

2018-01-20T08:45:45-08:00 January 20th, 2018|Categories: CINEMA|Tags: , , , , |

Angst-dark primary colors—reds and blues so intense they’re near­psychedelic, yet grimy, rotting in the thick, muggy atmosphere. Cities that blur into each other. Characters as figures in cityscapes or as exiles in rooms that are insistently not home. And, under it all, morbid, premon­itory music.

QUEST FOR FIRE (1981) – Review by Pauline Kael

2018-01-12T15:41:04-08:00 January 12th, 2018|Categories: CINEMA|Tags: , , , , |

Eighty thousand years ago, on broad primeval plains, Naoh (Everett McGill), the bravest warrior of the spear-carrying Ulam tribe, and two fellow-warriors, Amoukar (Ron Perlman) and Gaw (Nameer El-Kadi), are sent out on the sacred mission of finding fire and bringing it back to the Ulam.


2018-01-11T16:26:20-08:00 January 11th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorised|Tags: , , , , |

Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets is a true original of our period, a triumph of personal filmmaking. It has its own hallucinatory look; the charac­ters live in the darkness of bars, with lighting and color just this side of lurid. It has its own unsettling, episodic rhythm and a high-charged emo­tional range that is dizzyingly sensual.

THE GODFATHER: ALCHEMY – Review by Pauline Kael

2017-12-30T13:54:12-08:00 December 30th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorised|Tags: , , , , |

A wide, startlingly vivid view of a Mafia dynasty, in which organized crime becomes an obscene nightmare image of American free enterprise. The movie is a popular melodrama with its roots in the gangster films of the 30s, but it expresses a new tragic realism, and it's altogether extraordinary.


2017-12-12T09:42:17-08:00 December 12th, 2017|Categories: CINEMA|Tags: , , , , |

Throughout the three hours and twenty minutes of Part II, there are so many moments of epiphany — mysterious, reverberant images, such as the small Vito singing in his cell — that one scarcely has the emotional resources to deal with the experience of this film.

DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990) – Review by Pauline Kael

2018-01-30T23:23:17-08:00 November 28th, 2017|Categories: CINEMA|Tags: , , , , |

The movie—Costner’s debut as a director—is childishly naïve. When Lieutenant Dunbar is alone with his pet wolf, he’s like Robinson Crusoe on Mars. When he tries to get to know the Sioux, and he and they are feeling each other out, it’s like a sci-fi film that has the hero trying to communicate with an alien race.