Author: Caitlin

April 6, 2007 / / Main Slate

By Julie Lavelle

Considered the first Polish film to spurn World War II as either text or subtext, Knife in the Water won the Critics’ Prize at the Venice Film Festival, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and was heralded on the cover of Time Magazine. Roman Polanski was considered a wunderkind, and Knife on the Water proof that the new wave of experimental European cinema was not limited to the films produced by the French.

April 4, 2007 / / Film Notes

By Jessica Singer

Robert Altman’s Nashville is famous for effectively capturing a unique time and place in cultural history: the country music circuit of mid 1970s Nashville, Tennessee, America’s country music capital. Yet Nashville covers far more terrain than that for which it is most often given credit. Yes, metaphorically, the film serves to critique American culture, commercialism, and the political hypocrisy of the 1970s, but the values exhibited and explored here are quite universal and apply just as well to modern-day society. And really, this film is not just about politics anyway. It’s about people: the stories they tell, the ways in which they see themselves, and the ways in which they want others to see them. These characters feel real- they alternately exhibit vulnerability and pride, insecurity and vanity, stubbornness and tenderness. A web of relationships and circumstances inspiring all of these human tendencies would certainly sound like a lot to cover, but this seems to be the very story that Robert Altman, with his trademark style of ensemble filmmaking, was born to tell.

April 4, 2007 / / Film Notes

The-Princess-Bride

 

By Rachel Thibault

More than any other genre in the ’80s, the fantasy/adventure film dominated. Broadly defined, these films ranged from the glossy blockbuster films of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg (RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, E.T, EMPIRE STRIKES BACK) to mainstream, postmodern comedies with sequels (BACK TO THE FUTURE, GHOSTBUSTERS), to the creature-features aimed at children (GOONIES, GREMLINS) and beyond to the absurd, futuristic, and often unclassifiable (BRAZIL, ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BONZAI). Although many fantasy films of the ’80s were marketed to young people between the ages of twelve and twenty-nine, a demographic that made up 75% of the movie-going audience, many films appealed to both children and adults, hoping to find the “kid in all of us.” 

April 4, 2007 / / Film Notes

By Jess Wilton

There is already a “film note” that covers the fundamentals of Annie Hall 101—its importance as a turning point in Woody Allen’s career, its influence within the genre, autobiographical aspects, and much more. Therefore, for the benefit of all the shivering couples and forlorn singles who will be revisiting this masterful work of romantic comedy in anticipation of yet another Valentine’s Day, I’d like to approach the film as a twitchy urbanite’s guidebook for understanding men, women, and relationships. This may not sound like the most practical approach to life’s greatest mysteries, but it’s cheaper than therapy and easier than most forms of selfimprovement. I also suspect that many of us, model our lives and relationships after their favorite cinematic romances. And after all, if we can’t look to Uncle Woody for insight on life and love, where can we turn?

April 4, 2007 / / Film Notes

By Jess Wilton

The lights go down, “Moon River” begins to play, the taxi pulls up to Tiffany’s in the violet glow of a New York dawn, Holly Golightly steps out onto the deserted sidewalk, and even the most cynical, objective viewer begins to feel a bit giddy. Forty-five years after its original release, Breakfast at Tiffany’s remains a reliable source of nostalgia, sentimentality, and reckless escapism. But its staying power doesn’t lie solely in the enormously appealing, slightly twisted characters from Truman Capote’s novella, nor has it held a place in our hearts simply for in its powerful themes of urban identity crisis. These things add dimension to any great film romance, and help sustain the viewer through multiple screenings, but honest-to-goodness Hollywood spectacle constitutes the shallow soul of this valentine; The City, Audrey Hepburn, Mancini’s music, they are all so good to see and hear that they render actual content almost secondary.

April 4, 2007 / / Film Notes

When Western critics and audiences first made their acquaintance with Woo, the prevailing sentiment was that what they were witnessing was nothing less than the reinvention of the action film. – Manohla Dargis

April 4, 2007 / / Film Notes

By Jason Haas

The Muppet Movie is a timeless family film for a number of reasons, but it is also a product of its times. The film rejects much of the cinematic aesthetic of the 1970s, an era that began with pornography enjoying widespread mainstream success and ended in the birth of the blockbuster, which reveled in auteurloving “look-at-me” filmmaking and/or special effects. Throughout the decade, cinema was fighting with television for its audience, so it is odd to find that a production staff that came mostly from television created a movie bursting with a deeply innocent love for the movies and for a time when movies provided a more cheerful joy. It seems as if Henson and his collaborators (most notably Frank Oz) were dedicated to creating a film that reflected a love of all that made the golden age of cinema so fantastic. Simultaneously, Henson and company, not unlike their big budget and pornographer contemporaries, make clear that their movie offers something that cannot be had in the comfort of one’s living room: more Muppet action than viewers could get out of TV’s The Muppet Show.