Ray Liotta — RIP

A obit referred to him as ruggedly handsome as if they had never seen photos of feral rats. That bland parapluie participle “striking” is a better fit. Blessed with piercing blue eyes, a jaw flaunted like a knife in a street brawl, and the sort of nicotine-stained voice that earned him Chantix sponsorships a fewContinue reading “Ray Liotta — RIP”

Screenings #56

In addition to reigning as the second-highest paid American in the early 1930s, Mae West was the smartest. Watching I’m No Angel on The Criterion Channel provided me eighty-five minutes of pure verbal pleasure, thanks to West’s script. Cary Grant’s role consists of forgetting not to let his smile compete with the brilliantine in hisContinue reading “Screenings #56”

Screenings #55

Amiable but nobody’s fool, Jimmy Cliff moves like a star through The Harder They Come, the crime film whose soundtrack I knew before finally sitting down with the thing a couple Sunday mornings ago. Perry Henzell knows what he’s got in Cliff; the rest of his movie struggles to generate suspense, though, like The LateContinue reading “Screenings #55”

Jean-Jacques Beineix — RIP

Crowdsourcing works for bloggers too. Readers, can you point me to articles or books about French youth in the late ’70s and early ’80s? How prevalent were UK punk notions with youth culture, and, more importantly, did punk as UK bands understood it happen in big cities? These questions matter when assessing Diva (1981), theContinue reading “Jean-Jacques Beineix — RIP”

Peter Bogdanovich — RIP

In a three-year period Peter Bogdanovich became America’s most successful director, our premier revivalist and expert nostalgist, making it impossible to care about him again. The Last Picture Show, What’s Up, Doc, and Paper Moon earned cumulatively $130 million in Nixon-era money; Ben Johnson and Tatum O’Neal won Oscars for Best Supporting Actor and ActressContinue reading “Peter Bogdanovich — RIP”

The best of Robert Duvall

At home as a hellion and introvert, Robert Duvall has spent fifty years flitting between these modes. In the two Godfather pictures he managed a difficult trick: he didn’t vanish into the wallpaper so much as make himself talking wallpaper and as essential to the Corleone aesthetic. He’s too loud in Network or perhaps SidneyContinue reading “The best of Robert Duvall”

Why do so few good film satires exist?

The high dudgeon shown by the online left over the at worst mixed reaction to Don’t Look Up is enough to make me weep with laughter (I’m not a fan). A life spent denouncing DLC types for praising speeches over legislation will erode your ability to enjoy art. “Cut the crap and get to theContinue reading “Why do so few good film satires exist?”

‘No Way Out’ and the career of Joseph L. Mankiewicz

A not entirely successful mix of film noir and agitprop, No Way Out is nevertheless one of the most interesting and least commented on films by All About Eve director-screenwriter Joseph L. Mankiewicz. In his film debut Sidney Poitier, fiery as he rarely was during his 1960s plaster saint years, plays a doctor from aContinue reading “‘No Way Out’ and the career of Joseph L. Mankiewicz”