December 15, 1989 |
Video games, and the kids obsessed with them, are the main subjects of "The Wizard" (citywide). But is it inevitable that the movie itself become a video game, with the movie-makers ramming us through the story, trying to jam down all our buttons? "Rain Man" may be one of the models for "The Wizard," but the treatment is closer to "Pac-man." The characters don't really interact. They keep moving forward, gobbling up the plot as they go.
July 17, 1995 |
Film critic Kenneth Turan can't seem to decide whether he liked "Apollo 13" ("Mission Improbable," June 30). Was it a "sentimental, middle-of-the-road" movie? Or was it "a great story, which they mostly tell rather well"? What did seem pretty clear was that Turan does not like director Ron Howard and did not want to say anything nice about his work. Calling Howard "the master of Opie-Vision" seems on a par with calling Frank Capra "the king of Capra-corn." And we know how much that damaged Mr.
May 27, 1993 |
Tom and Roseanne Arnold can't seem to get a break. Following their flap with ABC over Tom Arnold's "Jackie Thomas Show," the couple hit a roadblock in their efforts to get their first movie together off the ground. Columbia Pictures pulled the plug Monday on the Arnolds' modestly budgeted road movie--sometimes referred to as "Thelma & Lou" or "Car Movie"--three weeks before it was to begin shooting.
November 13, 1992 |
Hal Hartley is a filmmaker who takes us to familiar-looking yet utterly strange places: modern cul-de-sacs where anxiety meets lassitude, honor battles absurdity, and love tries to strike a bargain with lust. He's a comic original, but he's not just a comedian. With his mixture of sly wit and wary compassion, he's able to dig deeper into his characters than all but a handful of American directors, especially the self-consciously serious ones.
May 22, 2011 |
— When Jessica Chastain, the up-and-coming actress who stars opposite Brad Pitt in "The Tree of Life," had a meeting with Ben Stiller a few years ago, the actor caught her off guard with an unexpected request: "Tell Terry I said hi," Stiller told her, referring to "Tree" director Terrence Malick. Chastain assumed that Stiller was kidding. How on Earth would the star of comedies like "Dodgeball" and "Meet the Fockers" be on such casual terms with a reclusive, enigmatic auteur like Malick?
March 9, 1990 |
"Coupe de Ville" (selected theaters), a mediocre road comedy with a few sparkling scenes, tackles that pivotal cultural question of the '60s: Exactly what were the lyrics of the Kingsmen's mush-mouthed big-beat hit "Louie Louie"? Were they, as many suspect, a barrage of unrelieved scatology and filth? Were they a tender, if incoherent, love song? Or were they, as one "Coupe" character stoutly maintains, a sea chantey about a voyage to Jamaica?
May 21, 1995 |
When the FBI went into the movie business in the 1980s in an attempt to weed out racketeering and payola, mobsters weren't the only casualties of the sting. Among the unwitting participants in the drama were struggling filmmakers Dan Lewk and Gary Levy. Though their film "Cartunes" was never produced, they were left with a wild story to tell--and now the real Hollywood is listening. The two were approached in 1987 by a producer named David Rudder with an offer they couldn't refuse.
June 13, 2010 |
Mark and Jay Duplass were despondent. It was 2002, and the brothers had just made an independent feature film that turned out so badly they vowed to never let anyone see it. Instead, they sat on the couch watching their favorite movies and wondering where they had gone wrong with their own. The two had been making films since they were little kids in New Orleans, lugging around a camcorder connected by cables to a VCR. Film was their life. But the next day, they shook off their self-pity, picked up their parents' digital video camera, and shot a scene for 20 minutes without thinking about it. The resulting short starred Mark as a guy trying to perfect a personal greeting on his answering machine, "who fails to do so, and then basically has a nervous breakdown," says Jay, 37, adding that it was based on his own experience.
December 11, 2011 |
Before he made it, the great radical filmmaker Robert Kramer described "Milestones," the 1975 epic of post-counterculture America that he co-directed with John Douglas, as "the last film. " "Everything has to be in it," Kramer said. "All the play of the heart. All the fullness of feeling. " True to his promise, "Milestones," newly available on DVD through Icarus Films, contains multitudes. In a film that stretches and sprawls and often seems to overflow its bounds, dozens of characters around the country — on communes, in cities, on the road, starting families, finding work, reintegrating into society after time in prison — wrestle with what it means to live in the hangover of their dashed utopian aspirations.
April 10, 1987 |
In "Three for the Road" (citywide), the movie makers try to revive another day's genre--the early '70's "road" pictures--in today's terms. And it doesn't work. The looser, more anarchic feelings they're going after don't jibe with the modern packaging, and they wind up with something slicked-up, streamlined and hollow--like "Blowing in the Wind" rearranged as elevator music.