Pauline Kael collection of articles

THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN (1988): TOO HIP BY HALF – Review by Pauline Kael

2018-04-23T17:15:13-07:00 April 23rd, 2018|Categories: CINEMA|Tags: , , , , |

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.

POPEYE (1980) – Review by Pauline Kael

2018-03-07T08:52:35-08:00 March 7th, 2018|Categories: CINEMA|Tags: , , , , |

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.

BAND OF OUTSIDERS: GODARD AMONG THE GANGSTERS – Review by Pauline Kael

2018-02-27T23:24:31-08:00 February 27th, 2018|Categories: CINEMA|Tags: , , , , |

Jean-Luc Godard intended to give the public what it wanted. His next film was going to be about a girl and a gun—”A sure-fire story which will sell a lot of tickets.” And so, like Henry James’ hero in The Next Time he proceeded to make a work of art that sold fewer tickets than ever. What was to be a simple commercial movie about a robbery became Band of Outsiders.

THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE: ANARCHIST’S LAUGHTER – Review by Pauline Kael

2018-02-23T13:44:13-08:00 February 20th, 2018|Categories: CINEMA|Tags: , , , , |

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is a cosmic vaudeville show —an Old Master’s mischief. Now seventy-two, Luis Bunuel is no longer savage about the hypocrisy and the inanity of the privileged classes. They don’t change, and since they have become a persistent bad joke to him, he has grown almost fond of their follies—the way one can grow fond of the snarls and the silliness of vicious pets.

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.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND: THE GREENING OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM – Review by Pauline Kael

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.