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.
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?
In Little Big Man, Arthur Penn uses the mode of comic elegy in order to sustain a reverent feeling for the American past without falling into sentimentality
Although Peckinpah’s general attitudes turn out to be reactionary to the point of madness, he has never functioned better as a filmmaker: Straw Dogs is a hateful but very exciting movie.