A German film and Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut, reviewed.
In every way it is regrettable—that three horses have died in the making of Luck over a period of twelve weeks; and that the slowly developing series is going to be cut off, not exactly in its prime, but with glimpses of that glow in the distance.
Last Friday, the New York Times ran a double-page-spread ad for the new HBO series Luck. It featured quotes like “Sumptuous,” “Addictive,” “Compelling,” “Brilliant,” “Astonishing,” “Breathtaking.” (You know the sort of thing, you could write it yourself.) But after three episodes of Luck, I’m still hedging my bets and crossing my fingers—or just waiting to hear a line clearly. The show has plenty of credentials and promise.
Last week a note on what a pair of good actors can do for a weak romantic script. This week a look at what a crackerjack cast—first-class all the way—can do for a middling contemporary drama. Kramer vs. Kramer, based on a novel by Avery Corman, was written by Robert Benton who also directed. I don’t know the book: the script tells, in lithe dialogue, the story of a New York couple who split. The struggle is not about the divorce, which as such is never glimpsed, it’s about the custody of their small son.
With our brains set on “shuffle,” programmed now to process (if not to crave) a constant barrage of random sounds and images, a quartet such as the Four Bags no longer seems like the desperately jokey novelty it would have seemed like a decade ago. The group is a chamber ensemble making music in the era-defining category of the uncategorizable, its work a hybrid of jazz, classical, folk, and pop musics from around the world. Exuberant, virtuosic, and light-spirited, the Four Bags make smart music with a quiet, joyful intensity.
Heartbeat Detector (New Yorker) Love Songs (IFC) Sputnik Mania (IFC) The French director Nicolas Klotz proves—not for the first time in film history—that a picture may be a bit of a jumble yet fascinating. Klotz's Heartbeat Detector, written by Elisabeth Perceval from a novel by Francois Emmanuel, begins as an up-to-date story about Simon Kessler, a smart young psychologist employed by the Paris branch of a Franco-German company. His job is to judge job applicants and to keep tabs on the mental status of the staff.