[Jonathan Rosenbaum’s] review of Apocalypse Now Redux [Critic’s Choice, August 10] was awful, simply dreadful. This line is typical: “The pan to The Golden Bough and From Ritual to Romance remains the most pretentious shot in the history of cinema.” May I ask how a three-second pan shot can be “the most pretentious” of anything? Absurd. Pretentious are your reviews, which, in their long, rambling “It’s interesting because I say it is” tone, raise navel gazing to the sublime.
I wonder why I should bother with a reviewer who thinks a movie is a “masterpiece” if it’s foreign and nobody’s ever heard of it or seen it. Oh, the review is hip and we aren’t. Not quite. You gave a Steven Spielberg movie (A.I.) a masterpiece rating.
But here’s the most pathetic line of all: “Back in 1979, this country’s film industry still had craft, class, showmanship, and Technicolor, most of which it has subsequently squandered or misplaced, making this a good showcase for the kind of entertainment we used to get.” What in the hell are you talking about? The kind of “entertainment we used to get” in 1979 was The Blues Brothers and Burt Reynolds movies. Nostalgia for the late 70s? That smacks of the worst kind of revisionism (Oh, the old days were so much better), and for an old coot like you, you should know better.
Apocalypse Now–and yes, it has flaws but is still a unique masterpiece–is not like ANYTHING we used to get. The movie is unique in its scope, topic (which is not Vietnam), cinematography, and just about anything else. Coppola was a major talent. This movie broke him. It is unique, and an unqualified masterpiece.
Stop reading the old Dave Kehr reviews or you’ll end up like him: fired, alone, and wanking out blurbs on a dot-com site.