• Fanny and Alexander

    Fanny and Alexander

    “Ingmar Bergman’s Family Reunion”

    Ingmar Bergman's FANNY AND ALEXANDER is a festive and full-bodied dream play—a vision of family life as a gifted child might spin it around, turning himself into a hero, a magician, an actor. In what Bergman says is his final movie, his obsessions are turned into stories, and he tells them to us—he makes us a beribboned present of his Freudian-gothic dream world. To start with, Ingmar Bergman should not have been born a clergyman's son;…

  • Blue Thunder

    Blue Thunder

    “Fun Machines”

    BLUE THUNDER is a better piece of visual design than most of the other new fun machines, and its night shots of Los Angeles might pass for film noir poetry if the picture didn't star a monster helicopter. This sumptuous test model, with the deceptively romantic name Blue Thunder, is lovingly photographed, but it's only a gadget. Still, it might give Roy Scheider a run for it in a personality contest. Scheider plays an L.A. police-officer pilot, and…

  • The Flamingo Kid

    The Flamingo Kid

    “Lovers and Fools”

    THE FLAMINGO KID is about the summer that Jeffrey Willis (Matt Dillon) grows up. It's the summer of 1963, and Jeffrey, an eighteen-year-old Brooklyn boy whose father (Hector Elizondo) is a plumber, gets a job parking cars at El Flamingo, a beach club on Long Island. The tips are good, and so are the boy's winnings at gin rummy; he plans to go to Columbia in the fall, and he's able to put away a chunk of…

  • Starman

    Starman

    “Lovers and Fools”

    In STARMAN, the director John Carpenter tries to bring a romantic-comedy spirit to sci-fi. Although he acknowledges that he was trying for something like Capra's IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, the film's tone is more like that of Capra's IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE and MEET JOHN DOE. With Karen Allen as a young, childless widow with sad, glazed eyes and Jeff Bridges as a gentle alien who takes the form of the husband she mourns, STARMAN has a…

  • Micki & Maude

    Micki & Maude

    “Lovers and Fools”

    MICKI & MAUDE is a small screwball farce, a tame and trivial contraption, and it would probably seem insipid to people who hoped for something substantial, but there's a special delight about the timing of actors who make fools of themselves as personably and airily as Dudley Moore and Amy Irving do here. Moore looks better than he has in his recent films: he's lighter on his feet and more relaxed, and his changes of expression seem faster…

  • Ladyhawke

    Ladyhawke

    “The Muddle Ages”

    There's some enticement in the idea of LADYHAWKE, a medieval romance set in and around the walled city of Aquila, which is ruled by an evil bishop (John Wood). This tyrant secretly lusts after the matchlessly beautiful golden-haired Princess Isabeau (Michelle Pfeiffer), and when he discovers that she and his captain of the guard, the noble Navarre (Rutger Hauer), are in love, he reverts to sorcery and puts a curse on the couple to frustrate them forever.…

  • Street Smart

    Street Smart

    “Manypeeplia Upsidownia”

    Is Morgan Freeman the greatest American actor? Back in 1980, in a late-night-over-drinks conversation, a friend and I wound up agreeing that maybe he was. That was after seeing him in plays and on television and, earlier that night, in BRUBAKER. As a death-row prisoner who broke out of his hole and started to strangle another convict, he gave the film a sudden charge that the moviemakers didn't seem to know what to do with. Freeman just shot…

  • Law of Desire

    Law of Desire

    “Manypeeplia Upsidownia”

    Big-Bosomed, short-waisted, and long-legged, Tina (Carmen Maura) has a hot, roiling temperament; after she has given her nightly performance in Cocteau's monologue-play "The Human Voice," which her famous brother Pablo (Eusebio Poncela) directed, she walks toward a cafe with him and her daughter Ada, and, seeing a couple of streetcleaners who are busy with their spraying, she calls out to them to hose her down. Soaked, her short knit dress clinging to her wide hips, she's deliciously happy…

  • Raising Arizona

    Raising Arizona

    “Manypeeplia Upsidownia”

    RAISING ARIZONA is a monkeyshines burlesque of people who feel they can't live without an infant to cuddle; it's about baby love. At first, Edwina, or Ed—played by Holly Hunter—seems the sanest person around. Then she discovers she can't have a child, and she's a wreck until she hears about male quintuplets that have been born to a woman who took fertility drugs. Now a huffy little pixie with a quivering pout, Ed torments her husband, Hi (Nicolas…

  • C.C. and Company

    C.C. and Company

    “Men in Trouble”

    One has nightmare visions of the American movie companies’ trying to play it safe by turning to Ross (AIRPORT) Hunter to find out how he does it, because they just don’t know how to structure the value system for the good guys and the bad guys in youth movies. Two new major studio motorcycle pictures are indications of the crassness of confused merchandisers. In LITTLE FAUSS AND BIG HALSY, which has been synthesized from BONNIE AND CLYDE,…

  • Little Fauss and Big Halsy

    Little Fauss and Big Halsy

    “Men in Trouble”

    One has nightmare visions of the American movie companies’ trying to play it safe by turning to Ross (AIRPORT) Hunter to find out how he does it, because they just don’t know how to structure the value system for the good guys and the bad guys in youth movies. Two new major studio motorcycle pictures are indications of the crassness of confused merchandisers. In LITTLE FAUSS AND BIG HALSY, which has been synthesized from BONNIE AND CLYDE,…

  • This Man Must Die

    This Man Must Die

    “Men in Trouble”

    THIS MAN MUST DIE, adapted from Nicholas Blake’s “The Beast Must Die,” is one of Claude Chabrol’s lesser films. Even the bourgeois formalism of his previous film, LA FEMME INFIDÉLE—an aestheticized version of the “civilized” entertainment that people used to go to foreign films for—seems to have broken down in this down in this one. After the powerful opening, one looks forward to the storytelling of a celebrated technician, famous for the elegance of his perfectly controlled…