If "Ran" turns out to be indeed Akira Kurosawa's final film, there's a good deal of satisfaction in knowing he's going out with a winner. "Ran," which is translated from Japanese to English as "Chaos," is Kurosawa's version of "King Lear" and it's a dazzling, melancholy, entertaining achievement. It's been well-publicized that Kurosawa hasn't been a popular individual with the Japanese film industry during the past 20 years or so. But that's probably the only place where his popularity has diminished. In the rest of the world, and in art and specialty theatres across the United States, "Ran" should be welcomed whole-heartedly.Read more
Promoters and theatre owners won't have an easy time fixing on one particular sales pitch for "Blood Simple," because just about any way you pitch it, it's going to sell. If there are ticket buyers looking for edge-of-the-seat suspense, tongue-in-cheek satire, complex whodunnit, cut-and-slash horror, or remarkably sophisticated visual design, they will each and all get their money's worth with "Blood Simple," a film noir-type suspense thriller/spoof that's a first feature triumph for NYU Film School graduate Joel Coen and his brother, producer Ethan Coen. The surprise hit of the 1984 New York Film Festival, "Blood Simple" should garner enough momentum from favorable reviews to see it through the initial slow reception that usually greets such low-budget independent productions.Read more
This rip-roaring action adventure has already carved out its niche as one of the major hits of the pre-Christmas season. And with good reason. Fast paced and cleverly conceived, "The Terminator" is welcomed proof that a well-made sci-fi thriller can deliver the goods without encumbering itself with an outsized budget.
Although he was originally slated to play the role of the hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger appears to have made a wise decision when he opted to portray the villainous Terminator, a futuristic cyborg who journeys back in time.
The picture begins with a vision of a post-holocaust future in which sophisticated machines have managed to subjugate the last remaining remnants of humanity.
"Stop Making Sense" is probably the best rock concert film since Martin Scorsese's "The Last Waltz." Deceptively straightforward, the film serves as a welcome reminder of how much more impact a well-photographed and recorded musical performance can have on the silver screen than on television. Rather than include the standard mix of interviews and backstage preparatStop Making Sense" comes alive due to Demme's seemingly effortless changes of camera angles and focal lengths. Subtle but never bland, Demme's direction is in such perfect sync with the music that we don't ever get the feeling (so common in other concert films) that we'd rather be watching anything other than what's up there on the screen.Read more
To the average moviegoer, just the thought of watching a nearly four-hour black-and-white Japanese movie about death, madness and alienation is enough to cause internal bleeding. Art film buffs still fond of the great Japanese epics of the '50s and '60s, however, will find much to appreciate in "Eureka," a highly ambitious and mostly successful new thriller-drama from writer/director Shinji Aoyama. Broader appeal, however, is sketchy. Harking back to the day when masters like Kobayashi, Inagaki and Kurosawa regularly spat out films with running times in excess of 200 minutes, Aoyama ("Two Punks," "Shady Groove") has delivered a picture that is both quintessentially Japanese and unabashedly artsy.Read more
“Amadeus” is intriguing, funny, sad and wonderfully entertaining. Milos Forman's film version of Peter Shaffer's stageplay takes an earthy, realistic approach in presenting Mozart's Vienna of the late 1700s, and though it's somewhat overlong, it's forgivably so. Without the long running time, we wouldn't get the great music, lavish opera selections and large ensemble of fascinating characters. Mozart may not be as commercial as Michael Jackson, but as presented by Forman and Shaffer, he and his world are infinitely more interesting. We see Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart through the envious eyes of Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham), a seemingly crazy old man who claims to have killed the musical genius and who tells his tale to a priest.Read more
Screened at Toronto. Mia Farrow can give amazingly luminous performances that demonstrate how (as an actress) her elusive strength and resilience give depth to her delicate features. For about the first fourth of "Reckless," she turns a dippy housewife into a radiant sprite. But in the end the film is a failed attempt at quirky black comedy because it keeps wanting to sneak in realistic life lessons. Not only do they not make sense, but the shift in tone grinds the movie to a halt. Rachel (Farrow) is happily married and enjoying Christmas Eve until she discovers that her husband (Tony Goldwyn) has taken out a contract on her life. She escapes into the snowy landscape and meets an affable physiotherapist named Lloyd (Scott Glenn), who takes her home for the holidays.Read more