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  • High Spirits

    High Spirits

    “Ghosts”

    In HIGH SPIRITS, a busload of American tourists arrive at a castle that's advertised as the most haunted place in Ireland. The producers may have been hoping for something on the order of National Lampoon's Irish Vacation with a jigger of GHOSTBUSTERS. But even though they whacked away at the film, it's still clear that what the writer-director, Neil Jordan (best known for his 1986 MONA LISA), was trying for was an Irish phantasmagoria—a Midsummer Night's Dream, with love…

  • Scrooged

    Scrooged

    “Ghosts”

    Dickens' A Christmas Carol seems like ideal screen material, and it has been filmed over and over again, starting in 1901, and with versions in 1908, 1910, 1913, 1914, 1916, and so on. Yet as far back as box-office figures go it has never really been a hit—maybe because it's about a wasted life. (The spectacle of a miserly old man getting his comeuppance is not particularly enticing.) And maybe the story's familiarity has worked against it; whatever the…

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  • Something Wild

    Something Wild

    "Doubling Up"

    For seven decades of romantic screwball comedies, sexy, smart, funny women have been waking up heroes who, through fear or shyness or a stuffy educational background, were denying their deepest impulses. The women perform a rescue mission. Sometimes, in earlier eras, they did it in the guise of dumb blondes (like Marie Wilson) or dizzy dames (like Katharine Hepburn in BRINGING UP BABY), but mostly they were wisecracking broads, like Mae West and Joan Blondell, and Jean Harlow…

  • Stop Making Sense

    Stop Making Sense

    "Three Cheers"

    STOP MAKING SENSE makes wonderful sense. A concert film by the New York new-wave rock band Talking Heads, it was shot during three performances at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in December, 1983, and the footage has been put together without interviews and with very few cutaways. The director, Jonathan Demme, offers us a continuous rock experience that keeps building, becoming ever more intense and euphoric. This has not been a year when American movies overflowed with happiness; there…