A+ List: Top Hat (also To Be or Not to Be)

Few Hollywood features have celebrated their own wholly unreal artifice like Top Hat, the best Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musical. Despite its contemporary setting (contemporary for 1935, the year it was released), it contains almost nothing that suggests the real world. Thanks to that artifice, the songs, the madcap comic dialog and hijinks, and most of … Continue reading A+ List: Top Hat (also To Be or Not to Be)

A+ List: The Thief of Bagdad (1940 version); also Taxi Driver

Arabian Nights movies seem to have gone out of fashion, and that's probably not much of a loss. Most of them were laughably bad. But a few good ones got made, along with one true masterpiece: Alexander Korda's The Thief of Bagdad. With its loosely-weaved story, poetic dialog, beautiful color design, groundbreaking special effects, and … Continue reading A+ List: The Thief of Bagdad (1940 version); also Taxi Driver

Barton Fink still strange and textured in new Blu-ray

The Coen brother's fourth film, and their first financed by a major Hollywood studio, may just be their weirdest. It's outrageous, surreal, occasionally gross, and at times screamingly funny. Much of the story is never explained. It's one of their best. That Barton Fink is the Coen's first Hollywood film seems appropriate, because the movie … Continue reading Barton Fink still strange and textured in new Blu-ray

John Sayles’ accidental trilogy: The Secret of Roan Inish, Lone Star, and Men with Guns

Note: This article was published on FandorĀ in the summer of 2016. I recently discovered that the article is no longer available on that site. I therefore placed it here. John Sayles' Lone Star turns 20 this year. Few people will notice it, and that's a shame. Both commercially and artistically, Lone Star was the peak … Continue reading John Sayles’ accidental trilogy: The Secret of Roan Inish, Lone Star, and Men with Guns