Author: David Blaylock

  • Rack Focus

    The Crook (MGM) In Claude Lelouch’s clever adventure, Jean-Louis Trintignant plays an escaped thief tracking down his hidden loot. More (Home Vision) Barbet Schroeder’s debut is mostly a mess, but the Pink Floyd sound-track and Néstor Almendros photography add to this essay on European drug culture. Viva María! (MGM) Easily the oddest work in Louis […]

  • Film

    “Do we need any more machine guns?” asks Sheriff Ronald E. Hewett, protecting his North Carolina county from illegal video poker games and ceramic-mold thieves. Although the setting is Cape Fear, the real-life replacements for Mitchum/De Niro—a fat gambler and a bank robber in his boxers—couldn’t be less menacing. Kraus seems determined to juxtapose the […]

  • Film

    Emile has the year’s best opening credits so far: As Ian McKellen walks with senile befuddlement, a Reader’s Digest version of the film plays behind the cast and crew names. This odd beginning permits viewers to leave after five minutes and know what happens. Those remaining are left with the full tome, its 92-minute length […]

  • Film

    Even if America grew sick of The White Shadow within three seasons, its unavoidable return was assured when former cast member Thomas Carter learned about the similar story of Ken Carter and his rags-to-riches basketball squad. Replacing milquetoast Ken Howard with timeworn hardass Samuel L. Jackson, this Backboard Jungle keeps with the subgenre: A former […]

  • Film

    DARKNESS Directed by Jaume Balagueró Dimension, in release Forgetting he was nearly killed there by a cult 40 years earlier, expat Mark (Iain Glen) moves his unhappy brood (including Lena Olin and Anna Paquin) to a Spanish cottage where the lights have minds of their own and someone is always lurking in the dark. A […]

  • Film

    Four Nazi soldiers holed up in a cabin are so bored of killing escaped Jews that they let the one surviving captive create a role-playing game. Seeing the German sense of supremacy as a possible gateway to freedom, this Jewish American G.I. convinces the soldiers to let him portray their commander and treat them as […]

  • Film

    A pill-popping, booze-guzzling Maria Callas spent most of her final years crying while listening to her old albums and flirting with a picture of Aristotle Onassis. Franco Zeffirelli, who saw this firsthand, rewrites the timeline by using a fictional proxy (Jeremy Irons) to get the opera icon (Fanny Ardant) out of the apartment to lip-synch […]

  • Film

    A Reagan postmortem for those unsated by cable news’s eulogizing lovefest in June, In the Face of Evil is so haphazardly put together the viewer almost forgets that it’s basically thanking Reagan for fixing every political, military, and diplomatic error of the 20th century with the help of his Team America: Allen, Casey, Weinberger, Thatcher, […]

  • Film

    A To Be and to Have with politicking replacing nose picking, Arna’s Children documents the theater productions at a Jenin school where kids liken their performances to Molotov cocktails. The film’s uncompromising portrayal of youths struggling with the Israeli military presence raises questions about the catch-22 these kids face, choosing between accepting the occupation or […]

  • Film

    With Hollywood showing off iMac sets and characters in Sky Captain, Richard Sylvarnes—who, Gallo-style, scripted, directed, scored, and photographed this empty opus—delivers the indie equivalent in which all the writing seems auto-programmed by his old PC. In this mystery about a catatonic woman possibly possessed by the ghost of her doctor’s dead wife, stilted lines […]