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  • The Youth of Maxim

    The Youth of Maxim


    MAXIM’S YOUTH (Kozintsev, USSR, 1935, 5)

    Shostakovich’s music sizzles, as Bolshie propaganda takes the form of traditional Russian peasant airs. But as the earliest Soviet sound film I’ve seen, its interest is purely historical and critical. It’s a Bolshevik Bildungsroman as a worker becomes radicalized. But compare the Odessa Steps sequence in POTEMKIN with the structurally and dramatically identical scene here ... a worker’s funeral becomes a political rally becomes a police raid ... and it’s very easy to see…

  • Running on Empty

    Running on Empty


    RUNNING ON EMPTY (Sidney Lumet, USA, 1988) 8

    John Simon criticized this movie as a pander, and I guess it does some things to soften the Popes’ past — the 60s Weathermen-type radical couple on the permanent run and abandoning their “home” on a moment’s notice, but now for so long that their baby-at-the-time is now 16 and they have since added a 10-year-old. A better film WOULD have worsened their crime, but that’s minor. A similar “politicizing” change that…

Popular reviews

  • A Quiet Passion

    A Quiet Passion


    A QUIET PASSION (Terence Davies, Britain, 2017) 9 R

    On second view, A QUIET PASSION (a title that could not unreasonably be paraphrased A LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK) transparently became what I inchoately inferred on first view — Terence Davies’s spiritual autobiography regarding his own deeply conflicted homosexuality, through a felt kinship with Emily Dickinson on that score.

    Davies is openly gay but has said often that he’d rather it weren’t so — he is celibate and it “ruined…

  • Everybody Wants Some!!

    Everybody Wants Some!!


    EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! (Linklater, USA, 2016, 9)

    What I want to say sounds oxymoronic, but … Linklater has succeeded in making an uncritical critique of nostalgia. On one level this film is 200-proof, capital-N Nostalgia, completely self-absorbed in its era, in the filmmaker's own biography, and in the hanging-out vibe it encourages (there is no plot, per se; with a couple of thereby-significant caveats, below). It's an easy life to view through rose-tinted glasses -- the last weekend before classes…