Posted inFilm, Short Reviews

Get Carter

Michael Caine stars as Carter, a London hood returning to his home in Newcastle to clear up some family unpleasantness in this 1971 feature. Directed by Michael Hodges (whose later collaboration with Caine, Pulp, proved to be much more satisfactory), with a flair for the wry evocation of genre conventions. Harold Pinter appears as a […]

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After the Rehearsal

Ingmar Bergman’s 70-minute TV film (1984) is an afterword to Fanny and Alexander, an examination of the impressions and emotions that linger after the story is over, taking the form of three monologues (an elderly director, a young actress, the director’s alcoholic ex-star and ex-lover) and a concluding duet. The film is awful where Bergman […]

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Coney Island

A turn-of-the-century musical with Betty Grable as a sideshow thrush. Walter Lang, the forgotten stalwart of 20th Century-Fox, directs in his patient, anonymous style. It’s a typical Grable vehicle, and mainly for her fans, but the allure of 40s Technicolor is always irresistible. With George Montgomery, Cesar Romero, and Phil Silvers (1943). (DK).

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La Bete Humaine

Jean Renoir’s generous sensibility seems at odds with the sterile determinism of the Zola novel on which this 1938 film was based. Jean Gabin is an epileptic train engineer drawn to the stationmaster’s young wife (Simone Simon). The couple murders a man who tried to seduce her; Gabin witnesses the killing and begins an ambiguous […]

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Les biches

Claude Chabrol’s humor and irony aren’t much in evidence in this 1968 work, his first “art film” after five years of genre work. The title (less racy in translation—“The Does”) refers to Stephane Audran and Jacqueline Sassard, two women living out an enigmatic relationship in the south of France. Sex enters with the appearance of […]

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Romancing the Stone

Director Robert Zemeckis displays such dazzling cinematic know-how that it’s genuinely depressing when this 1984 film falls off into the usual self-ridicule. It sometimes seems that the main task of filmmakers in the 80s was to placate the smart-asses in the audience; Zemeckis wins them over through a plot (romance novelist stumbles into an adventure […]

Posted inFilm, Short Reviews

Romeo and Juliet

Franco Zeffirelli’s athletic production of Shakespeare’s love story stars Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, with Michael York as Tybalt. Garish and goopy—a kind of West Side Story reworked into its original form—with narration by Laurence Olivier (1968).