‘JFK’: A mystery wrapped in an enigma

“‘Bout as subtle as a cockroach crawlin’ ‘cross a white rug.” “All this badinage can be so easily misunderstood.” “You got the right ta-ta but the wrong ho-ho.” “Oswald did badly on the test, he says. ‘He only had two more Russian words right than wrong.’ Ha! That’s like me saying Touchdown here …(points toContinue reading “‘JFK’: A mystery wrapped in an enigma”

‘The decor had to become a character for me’: On ‘The Age of Innocence’

Twenty-nine years after its release, few Scorsese fans regard The Age of Innocence as an anomaly, a head-scratching attempt to out-Merchant Ivory the competition. And it’s true: I counted more bluehairs in my September ’93 audience than in, say, the screening for Cape Fear. But from its sudden fades and Ophuls-indebted tracking shots to theContinue reading “‘The decor had to become a character for me’: On ‘The Age of Innocence’”

My 30 favorite horror films

Comedies are horror films. The best ones regard our caprices and follies with shock; the most manic among them gyrate lest they stop and despair. That said, horror as a genre fails to interest me; it’s rare I play one of those movies of my own volition, even the ones below. Yet I almost stoppedContinue reading “My 30 favorite horror films”

I love you, you pay my rent: ‘Peter Von Kant’

A certain kind of queer kitsch last forever. Arch, clinical, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972) is the least approachable of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s major films: the depiction of a love triangle between a fashion designer (Margit Carstensen), her mute and much-abused assistant Marlene (Irm Hermann), and Karin (Hannah Schygulla), whom Petra wants toContinue reading “I love you, you pay my rent: ‘Peter Von Kant’”

Anne Heche — RIP

Just over twenty years ago entertainment reporters speculated whether audiences would find the late Anne Heche “believable” opposite Harrison Ford in Six Days, Seven Nights. The actress’ coming out as Ellen DeGeneres’ girlfriend in 1997 precipitated the chatter. In a place of venal, distanced cruelty, no one thought to question what the hell Harrison Ford,Continue reading “Anne Heche — RIP”

James Caan — RIP

Sonny loves Connie; she’s his sister. But she’s not a woman, much less a person. A victim, a distillation of the Corleone’s self-regard — yes, sure. On realizing that her moronic schlub of a husband Carlo has beaten her, badly, Sonnny instinctive response is to stick his fist in his mouth, the swiftest means toContinue reading “James Caan — RIP”

May readings

For more than a decade, film writers who grew up in the 1980s have tried fanning interest in an epoch for which nostalgia comes easier than assessment. Hollywood, yes, made films for adults, many of which were hits and Oscar-consecrated, though the likes of Out of Africa looked staid at the time and remains aContinue reading “May readings”

Something of a paradox: On Tom Cruise

With Top Gun: Maverick‘s canny exploitation of nostalgia for a pre-COVID world resulting in impressive if expected revenues, Robert Farley examines Tom Cruise’s willingness to look ridiculous as his best talent, seen best in movies like Eyes Wide Shut where better actors like Sydney Pollack take advantage of the space he leaves them. Farley: TheseContinue reading “Something of a paradox: On Tom Cruise”