Possibly the most celebrated film of the 1970s -- at least among film snob circles -- Robert Altman's sprawling case study of five days in the Tennessee city is self-absorbed, overwrought, and dismissive. Nor is it particularly well-made, with poor sound (even after being remastered for its DVD release) and washed-out photography, not to mention a running time (2:40) that's at least an hour too long.
Continue reading: Nashville Review
Such sentiment, spoken early in the film, sums up The Candidate's position on politics, not to mention my own. Robert Redford plays the title role, a fresh-faced kid and son of a former governer goaded by a group of campaign strategists (namely Peter Boyle) into running against an "unbeatable" Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate. With nothing to lose, he starts off by running the campaign by his conscience and the seat of his pants, but eventually it all gets away from him as the machine takes over. Much like Network, this satire on an American institution continues to gain relevance instead of lose it. The scene of Redford finally losing his mind stands as one of cinema's most classic moments. Plenty of one-liner gems only add to the majesty of the film.
The film follows Cameron (Steve Railsback), a former Vietnam soldier, who is sought by the police and FBI. He is a street-smart savage and a criminal with unblinking tension in widened, wild eyes. Even motionless, he seems to be running from something. Soon he's on the run from the cops, and finds himself witnessing the shooting of a film. When the scene is over and the director, Eli Cross (Peter O'Toole), descends from the helicopter, the camera is looking at him from down below -- he is at once God and Devil, and he brings with him an air of greatness and unfathomable mystery. Peter O'Toole is brilliant in a role of megalomaniacal film director: He is imperial, bitter-tongued and controlling. He carries his madness in the blue arrogance of his eyes, in the deep wrinkles of his face and sinister sleeves of his black turtleneck. When he is looking down on Cameron from the helicopter's window, he seems to be gazing right into Cameron's soul. They strike a deal and Cameron becomes someone else -- a stunt man, an actor, and a fugitive -- in the movie. If he works it all out, it could mean having one more chance to lose, and Richard Rush exploits the twists and turns of Cameron's adventures with exuberance and unpredictable inventiveness.
Continue reading: The Stunt Man Review
Starring Richard Gere as a cornet player-cum-movie star (Gere even plays his own solos in the film) and Diane Lane as a kind of singer/hooker/kept woman, the film gets off to a wild start, throwing us into Coppola's archetypal world of violence and betrayal. Gere and Lane have an uneasy romance, the problem being they are low on the totem and the gangsters who control them wouldn't care for any such hanky-panky.
Continue reading: The Cotton Club Review
Supposedly a sequel to De Palma's Greetings (never seen it), here we have Robert De Niro as Jon, a Vietnam vet who moves into a hovel of a tenement in New York City, where a trio of interconnected stories begin to play out, all involving Jon's love of his little film camera. First, he becomes infatuated with the building across the street, in particular one of the women (Jennifer Salt) there. Jon hatches a plan to woo her, which he carefully orchestrates like an actor reading from a script. Meanwhile, Jon is also tryiing to make a sort of amateur porn movie by peeping through the windows across the way, figuring this is his next calling in life. This plays into the love affair when he trains the camera on his new girlfriend's window, then pays her a romantic visit.
Continue reading: Hi, Mom! Review
Set in 1951, The Majestic stars Jim Carrey as Peter Appleton, a blacklisted actor struck by a mishap, endlessly seen in its trailers, that erases his memory. As so many amnesiacs before him, Carrey wanders around aimlessly until someone tells him who he is. Unfortunately, that someone mistakes him for his son, dead seven years, a brutal casualty of WWII. Even more coincidentally, Peter looks exactly like the long-dead hero Luke Trimble, and soon the entire town, having lost nearly all it's young men to the war believes as well, rallying around Luke and his re-opening of their local movie theater "The Majestic" as a source of rejuvenation.
Continue reading: The Majestic Review
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