I am an artist, critic, teacher and avid movie buff. Currently, I write about film for "The New York Sun."
God bless Emma Thompson for baring all and, more to the point, giving all as a sixty-something widow who's lived a live bereft of excitement, pleasure and ecstasy. Congrats to Daryl McCormack for almost convincing us that prostitution is indistinguishable from therapy. As for screenwriter Katy Brand and director Sophie Hyde: they've made an entertainment that's more naughty and programmatic than tender and real. A movie for those who privilege theory over fact.
A charming romantic comedy that involves a beloved painting, a family in arrears, three fake ghosts and one real ghost. The latter is played by Jacques Tati who, through some impressive double exposure cinematography, haunts the proceedings to beneficent effect. A minor pleasure, well-crafted and true.
A social problem picture masquerading as a film noir, "Victim" may prompt titters (or eye-rolling) from contemporary audiences in its depiction of gay life--or, rather, its subterfuges--in mid-twentieth century Britain. But historical context counts for something--remember, homosexuality earned prison-time back in the day--as does the willingness to bring it to a mainstream audience. Director Basil Dearden, ever underrated, is on point throughout. Involving and nuanced.
An audacious debut by actor-turned-director Charles Laughton, "The Night of the Hunter" is a bizarre amalgamation of fairy tale, monster movie, black comedy, and tract on both the excesses and kindnesses of religiosity. Audiences didn't flock to the thing, and is it any wonder why? Laughton's film is forever shifting its ground underneath our feet, juxtaposing bucolic scenes of country living with a nightmarish symbolism that would be heavy-handed if it weren't so adroitly handled. Despondent over the film's financial failure and critical drubbing, Laughton never directed again. What's left is a one-of-a-kind masterstroke.