Movie reviews

Pulp Fiction | Review by David Denby

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

Night and the City | Review by David Denby

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.

Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist (1982) – Review by Pauline Kael

Poltergeist, which is about a family besieged by nasty, prankish ghosts, is no more than an entertaining hash designed to spook you. It’s The Exorcist without morbidity, or, more exactly, it’s The Amityville Horror done with insouciance and high-toned special effects.

Shoot the Moon (1982) – Review by Pauline Kael

There wasn’t a single scene in the English director Alan Parker’s first three feature films (Bugsy Malone, Midnight Express, Fame) that I thought rang true; there isn’t a scene in his new picture Shoot the Moon, that I think rings false.

Heaven's Gate (1980) Isabelle Huppert and Kris Kristofferson

Heaven’s Gate – Review by Pauline Kael

Heaven’s Gate” is a numbing shambles. It’s a movie you want to deface; you want to draw mustaches on it, because there’s no observation in it, no hint of anything resembling direct knowledge—or even intuition—of what people are about. It’s the work of a poseur who got caught out.

Solzhenitsyn

The First Circle (1973) – Review by Pauline Kael

Solzhenitsyn’s “The First Circle” is a view of the top echelon of the slave-labor world — the mathematicians, scientists, engineers, and professors working in a technical institute near Moscow.

LʼAvventura (1960)

Note on L’Avventura – by Pauline Kael

LʼAvventura is a study of the human condition at the higher social and economic levels, a study of adjusted, compro­mising man — afflicted by short memory, thin remorse, easy betrayal.

The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist (1973) – Review by James Baldwin

The mindless and hysterical banality of the evil presented in The Exorcist is the most terrifying thing about the film. The Americans should cer­tainly know more about evil than that; if they pre­tend otherwise, they are lying.

Intolerance (1916)

Intolerance (1916) – Review by Pauline Kael

“Intolerance” is one of the two or three most influential movies ever made, and I think it is also the greatest. Yet many of those who are interested in movies have never seen it.

A Clockwork Orange – Review by Paul D. Zimmerman

A Clockwork Orange is a characteristically frosty piece of film-making, shorn completely of sentiment, working through brilliant ironies and dazzling dramatic ideas that please us, provoke our laughter, galvanize our intellects, win our admiration—but never touch our hearts.