Saving Mr Banks is a merciless film. It hits you with every sentimental low blow it can think of. Then it pounds you again. And when you’re down, it jumps on you. It makes shameless use of Emma Thompson weeping for a soggy fifteen minutes, and while you know the trick is remorseless you’ll end up crying, too. Don’t blame yourself: It is permitted to weep at dreadful films, so long as you lament for the exploited audience.
Remembering a brief encounter with the self-destructive, life-affirming star.
'Inside Llewyn Davis' is a moody misstep
'Inside Llewyn Davis' is a moody misstep.
Luckily, I saw it in the U.S.
Luckily, you can see it here.
From TNR, November 1, 1980
The great Peter Kaplan's take on the 40th president's movies, published just before the 1980 election
"The Great Beauty" and "Bastards" reviewed
"The Great Beauty" and "Bastards" reviewed.
A film that finally depicts our original sin in all its horror. Made by foreigners.
Alexander Payne does not make mistakes, and that would seem to be his only serious handicap or restraint. But he has so many delicious virtues of taste, precision, and modesty. He has tragic instincts but will not succumb to melancholy. He is reluctant to let sex or violence overwhelm his work, especially in igniting combination. He not inclined to trust his heroes or villains; he has made a habit of wayward, awkward or unreliable characters. Give Payne an obvious movie star—like Jack Nicholson or George Clooney—and he looks for their lost ordinariness.
From the writings of Stanley Kauffmann
The Silence, 1964
On 'Nicky's Family,' 'The Artist and the Model' and 'The Act of Killing'
Nicky’s Family is a Czech tribute (stirringly deserved) to Nicholas Winton, the Englishman who organized the rescue of mostly Jewish Czech children from Prague when the Nazis invaded. His organization has been active ever since in similar work. Welcome as this picture is, the tribute is only part of its achievement. It has created a cinematic marvel: a reproduction of Prague in 1939.