• Bill & Ted Face the Music

    Bill & Ted Face the Music


    BILL AND TED FACE THE MUSIC (Dean Parisot, USA, 2020) 7

    It's fan service, which sometimes gets in the way (a friend on Twitter correctly pointed out it'd've been funnier had the daughters not been Bill and Ted Clones, hated rock music, etc.) ... but I'm a fan. And I'm not really sure there would've been any point besides fan service to making a Bill & Ted movie 30 years after BOGUS JOURNEY.

    But unnecessary as it is, it's still the…

  • Sans Soleil

    Sans Soleil


    SANS SOLEIL (Chris Marker, France, 1983) 9

    Despite the grade, this heady essay film isn’t perfect — it seems to be some sort of rule that every French leftist intellectual’s stream-of-consciousness has to contain at least three monumentally stupid pseudo-profundities, a quota Marker manages to meet (did you know the American “occupation” introduced puritanical sexphobia into Japan? I sure didn’t.)

    But at some point, I quit caring. My jaw was on the floor more often than an overmatched fighter’s, as…

  • Gandhi



    GANDHI (Richard Attenborough, Britain, 1982) 8

    It's fashionable to hate on Lives of the Saints Wikimovies (and GANDHI is an ur-example of one), and there's no way, GANDHI should have beaten ET and TOOTSIE. But it is an extraordinarily well-paced film and never emotionally false. There may be generational bias here as GANDHI was a knock-my-early-20s-socks-off film in a way even the excellent and superficially similar SELMA (e.g.) couldn't be and I frequently watch huge chunks of it as it…

  • Poltergeist



    POLTERGEIST (Tobe Hooper, USA, 1982) 8

    POLTERGEIST has this place in my history ... it was the first film I ever wrote any sort of formal review of. In my sophomore Gifted-English class, we each had to write a review of a movie then in theaters.

    The review doesn't exist, for which I am probably grateful (this was the longhand-and-paper era kiddos; not long after the use of quills and scrolls died out). The only things I remember writing were…

  • A Good Marriage

    A Good Marriage


    LE BEAU MARIAGE (Eric Rohmer, France, 1982) 7

    ... or the middle film in Rohmer's trilogy Woman Tries to Set Up Beatrice Romand with a Man. This one is never anything other than delightful and ruefully funny and I've overcome my CLAIRE'S KNEE distaste for Romand, but once you know the premise (within the first 15 minutes -- Romand decides to marry), Rohmer springs no surprises on us. At. All.

    Also weird to see Andre Dussollier, whom I primarily recognize…

  • Sequences



    SEQUENCES (Alexandru Tatos, Romania, 1982) 7

    Less a film than three clumsily-connected sequences, but... Those. Sequences. (well, the 2nd and 3rd really). The DAY FOR NIGHT comparison is obvious and the (de facto) first "sequence" isn't terribly involving until you get to the punchline.

    But the second (involving a restaurateur trying to please the film crew) and third (of two extras in the background) are so tightly gripping that it's easy to see why several current Romanian directors supposedly cite this film as a key influence.

  • Macbeth



    MACBETH (Bela Tarr, Hungary, 1982) 6

    Glad I saw it and it IS, after all, an Edward DeVere play, but the effect on me was ... like a Hungarian watching an English remake of SATANTANGO.

    Shakespeare is meant to be acted not read, and the effect of hearing Hungarian while reading subtitles that kept Shakespeare's stylized writing (often strange and unnatural, per contemporary English) took real getting used to.

    But the segment "shots" are so impressive and Gyorgi Cserhalmi and Erzsebet Kutvolgyi (the killer couple) so ferile that it won me over anyway.

  • Time Stands Still

    Time Stands Still


    TIME STANDS STILL (Peter Gothar, Hungary, 1982) 6

    50s juvenile-delinquency tale, Eastern-bloc style. Several fine set pieces and suitably downbeat, given the time covered (1956-1968).

    But if it's a great film, I sure as heck couldn't tell because the print was unsubtitled and the electronic-projected subtitles were almost never in synch (and sometimes parodically out of synch)

    Still, if a movie shows Hungarian high schoolers running through the hallways smashing pictures of Lenin et al, scored to Elvis Presley, then such a movie is metaphysically prevented from being bad or boring or attention-losing.

  • The Prefab People

    The Prefab People


    THE PREFAB PEOPLE (Bela Tarr, Hungary, 1982) 5

    I know Tarr is not about Plot, but you can't make a marriage/relationship film without a chronology. I will give Tarr credit for one great sequence here -- the dance club and aftermath, which overcame my to-then hatred (CQ) for the wife.

  • The Eyes, the Mouth

    The Eyes, the Mouth


    THE EYES THE MOUTH (Marco Bellocchio, Italy, 1982) 5


    Obviously the late-70s and early-80s was a period of self-loathing for leftist Italian auteurs, waking up not living in actually existing socialism. Like the vastly superior Scola and also like Rosi's THREE BROTHERS, it takes a family as representative of the revolution that didn't happen.

    Unfortunately, when THE EYES THE MOUTH is not about a past-sell-by-date radical actor whose movies…

  • Tenebre



    TENEBRE (Dario Argento, Italy, 1982) 4

    Y'know, I get that the acting and the writing aren't the point here (whether "here" = Argento or horror generally), but this doesn't even reach minimal competence, and the naturalistic, contemporary setting and lighting makes "It's Stylized!!" hard to accept.

    TENEBRE's lesbian writer -- how she acts and what she says -- is almost enough to turn me into a feminist. (Notice I said "almost.") And you know you're in trouble when you see…

  • The Aviator's Wife

    The Aviator's Wife


    THE AVIATOR'S WIFE (Eric Rohmer, France, 1981) 9

    Is Lucie from this film's mid-section the first Manic Pixie Dream Girl. If so, good job, Eric in actually making her the most interesting character, the ur-storyteller who has a ball in a film about gloomier characters' delusions.

    I think this was the last film he shot in Academy/1.37 that was set at the time it was made, i.e., the ratio not used for nostalgia/periodizing. If so, good job again Eric -- it does seem to be a more psychologically piercing aspect ratio, as closeups are centered with little dead space.