Movie reviews

Manhattan (1979) – Review by Maurice Yacowar

After the somberness of Interiors, Woody Allen has returned to the romantic comedy style of Annie Hall. The result is his most lyrical and emotional film to date. Although it may not be as complex as Annie Hall, Manhattan is a magnificent film, subtle both in expression and in feeling. It proves that Allen’s genius is still growing and capable of fertile surprises.

Alien (1979) – Review by Laura Sanden

For the filmgoer who can distance himself from the occasional gore of the first viewing, or who can sit through it a second time, Alien furnishes more than simply an opportunity to scream in unison with a couple of hundred other people.

Hardcore (1979) – Review by Charles Schwenk [Cinemonkey]

Amongst film aficionados, the more simple-minded or shy smut fans, and the strong and growing coterie of Paul Schrader enthusiasts, Hardcore was awaited with special enthusiasm; yet all seem to have walked away in varying degrees of disappointment.

The Deer Hunter (1978) – Review by Sid Falko [Cinemonkey]

The Deer Hunter has created such controversy as a political entity that I think it would be valuable to consider it, briefly, purely as an aesthetic object. Certainly art affects us in many ways, but many of these effects are brought to the film by ourselves.

John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) – Review by Sean Mercer [Cinemonkey]

The essence of Halloween is a burst of violence on the part of an insane, though clever, man who is “unstoppable,” ubiquitous, and virtually inhuman. He is set against a small group of young women who remain ignorant of his existence, are powerless to stop him when he does attack, and seem to merit his fury due to the licentious and vain orientation of their actions and thoughts.

The Sting (1973) – Review by Pauline Kael

The Sting, with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, strings together the chapters of a Saturday-afternoon serial, each with its own cliffhanger, and we’re invited to wait around to see what the happy twosome will do next. The happy twosome seem to have something for each other, and for most of the rest of the world, that I don’t tune in to.

Sleeper (1973) – Review by Pauline Kael

Woody Allen appears before us as the battered adolescent, scarred forever, a little too nice and much too threatened to allow himself to be aggressive. He has the city-wise effrontery of a shrimp who began by using language to protect himself and then discovered that language has a life of its own.

Papillon (1973) – Review by Pauline Kael

Papillon is a strange mixture of grimness and propriety. There are unnecessary brutalities involving characters we hardly know , and at the same time the movie absolutely refuses the audience any comic relief.

Shining (1980) – di Enrico Ghezzi [Il Castoro Cinema]

Vedere, rivedere, stravedere. Sarà possibile inventare uno «stravedere» come possibile ulteriore significato di «to overlook». In ogni caso, Shining è un film da vedere rivedere stravedere, portando la «stravisione» oltre l’intransitività dello «stravedere (per – qualcuno o qualcosa – )». Ed è un film che stravede il cinema e nel cinema, il futuro negli anni ’80.

Kubrick and His Discontents – by Hans Feldmann

Since the recognized success of Dr. Strangelove, objections to Kubrick’s obscurity, his enigmatic mind, his bleak view of man, his simplistic view of life, his boring mannerisms abound in the reviews of his films. Barry Lyndon seems destined to encourage the same ambivalent critical reaction.

Serpico: The Hero as Freak – Review by Pauline Kael

What could be a more appropriate subject for a 1973 movie than the ordeal of Frank Serpico, the New York City policeman who became a pariah in the Department because he wouldn’t take bribes? Serpico, whose incorruptibility alienates him from his fellow-officers and turns him into a messianic hippie freak, is a perfect modern-movie hero.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967): Gangsters on the Road to Nowhere – Review by Richard Gilman

Bonnie and Clyde is about violence and crime, and the desire of the ego to define itself, to live in violence and crime if it can’t in anything else. To this end it remains properly sympathetic to the characters it has plucked from history, the sympathy being given not to crime but to a process in which crime figures, to the action by which the ego displays itself as the embattled source of everything—crime, love, violence, goodness, error, dream.

Movie Trial: A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

The movies that split people down the middle, put in the Empire dock… Simon Ingram (Prosecution) and Kat Brown (Defence) on Steven Speilberg’s “A. I.: Artificial Intelligence”

The Servant (1963) – Review by Andrew Sarris

The Servant is a genuinely shocking experience for audiences with the imagination to understand the dimensions of the shock. In years to come The Servant may be cited as a prophetic work making the decline and fall of our last cherished illusions about ourselves and our alleged civilization.

2001: A Space Odyssey – Review by John Simon [The New Leader]

2001: A Space Odyssey is fascinating when it concentrates on apes or machines, and dreadful when it deals with the in-betweens: humans. For all its lively visual and mechanical spectacle, this is a kind of space-Spartacus and, more pretentious still, a shaggy God story.

Once upon a Time in the West (1969) – Review by Dave Kehr

In Leone’s hands, capitalism itself becomes a mythic force, as much a part of the landscape (it’s embodied here by the building of a railroad across the desert) as the horses or mountain ranges. In criticizing the myth — in filling in the economic relationships American westerns have skipped over —Leone expands and enriches it, which is what the best criticism does.

THE KILLING FIELDS (1984): UNREAL – Review by Pauline Kael

The Killing Fields, which is based on Sydney Schanberg’s 1980 Times Magazine article “The Death and Life of Dith Pran,” is by no means a negligible movie. It shows us the Khmer Rouge transforming Cambodia into a nationwide gulag, and the scenes of this genocidal revolution have the breadth and terror of something deeply imagined.