Tag Archives: Christopher Walken

Annie Hall: This Is 40

A NERVOUS ROMANCE.  In the film’s first scene, Woody Allen as Alvy Singer addresses his audience, letting us know that he recently turned 40 and that this landmark event has brought on a life crisis. It wasn’t really planned, but I happened to watch this movie for the first time in many years at exactly … Continue reading Annie Hall: This Is 40

San Francisco in Films and on TV

Every time I vacation in a major city I feel a need to buy a book that tries to capture either its soul or history. If I’m fortunate, the book does both. When I was in San Francisco last fall, I bought “A Crack in the Edge of the World” by Simon Winchester. I expected this … Continue reading San Francisco in Films and on TV

A Late Quartet

NO ARRANGEMENT IS MORE BEAUTIFUL… OR MORE COMPLICATED.   Approaching its 25th anniversary, a string quartet is shaken when the cellist, Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken), announces that he’s retiring because of a debilitating illness. Documentary filmmaker Yaron Zilberman brings a sense of honesty and carefulness to his first dramatic feature, which is obvious in the … Continue reading A Late Quartet

Heaven’s Gate

THE ONLY THING GREATER THAN THEIR PASSION FOR AMERICA… WAS THEIR PASSION FOR EACH OTHER. Director Michael Cimino’s legendary follow-up to The Deer Hunter (1978) ruined his reputation and became such a commercial failure that it almost destroyed a movie studio – but the criticism hasn’t always been fair. This depiction of the 1890s Johnson County War … Continue reading Heaven’s Gate

Romance & Cigarettes

A SAVAGE MUSICAL. When Kitty (Susan Sarandon) finds out that her ironworker husband (James Gandolfini) had an affair with a seductive saleswoman (Kate Winslet), she throws him out. As a filmmaker, John Turturro usually sets his stories in working-class neighborhoods and puts a twist on what goes on there. This one turns a highly ordinary … Continue reading Romance & Cigarettes

Hairspray

IT WAS A TIME OF TRADITION, A TIME OF VALUES, AND A TIME… TO SHAKE THINGS UP. Baltimore, 1962; plump teenager Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) gets the chance to dance on a popular TV show but faces stiff resistance… not least when she becomes engaged in the civil rights movement. Not really a remake of the … Continue reading Hairspray

Man of the Year

COULD THIS MAN BE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT? Late-night comedian Tom Dobbs (Robin Williams) is urged by fans to run for president; he agrees to do it and ends up winning the election, but a computer engineer (Laura Linney) suspects fraud. Two years before Al Franken ran for the U.S. Senate, director Barry Levinson delivered another … Continue reading Man of the Year

Man on Fire

A PROMISE TO PROTECT. A VOW TO AVENGE.  John Creasy (Denzel Washington), an alcoholic former CIA assassin, is hired as a bodyguard to a 9-year-old girl (Dakota Fanning) in Mexico City at a time when kidnappings are rampant. This remake of a 1987 Scott Glenn movie is bombastic to a near-ridiculous level; much too long and full of … Continue reading Man on Fire

Antz

EVERY ANT HAS HIS DAY.   Worker ant Z ends up posing a major threat, along with princess Bala, to a power-crazed general in the hill. This movie and a bug’s life are fortunately what you get when CGI innovators DreamWorks and Pixar compete with each other. It’s a simple but funny, adult film that hopefully should stop you … Continue reading Antz

Sleepy Hollow

HEADS WILL ROLL. In 1799, New York constable Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is sent to a hamlet called Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of murders where the victims’ heads have been lopped off; the locals blame a ghost, the Headless Horseman. Published in 1820, Washington Irving’s short story is one of the earliest great … Continue reading Sleepy Hollow