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  • Hard Times

    Hard Times

    “The Visceral Poetry of Pulp”

    The hero of HARD TIMES rides into town on the rails, looking like an authentic Depression worker—a cap on his head, his face worn, narrow slits of hurting eyes. It’s a lean, stoical face from the breadlines and close kin to Dorothea Lange’s migratory workers, but it’s also the face of Charles Bronson, the most popular movie star in the world and one of the highest-paid. And HARD TIMES, though low-key, stays completely within the…

  • Conversation Piece

    Conversation Piece

    “Lazarus Laughs”

    Helmut Berger has often been perversely likable, flaunting mannerisms that many other actors avoid. As Konrad in Luchino Visconti's CONVERSATION PIECE, Berger is of a queenly self-centeredness so garish that he becomes a comedian. A petulant little nymph, Konrad acts as if the whole world were his closet. He is being kept—lavishly—by a countess (Silvana Mangano), who enlists her teen-age daughter and the daughter's fiance in her schemes to hang on to him; meanwhile, he and the kids…

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  • Something Wild

    Something Wild

    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 in RED…

  • Stop Making Sense

    Stop Making Sense

    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 was some…