I’ll admit to a certain surprise that the big winner at the New York Film Critics Circle turned out to be neither “12 Years a Slave” nor “Inside Llewyn Davis”, but David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” which won best feature and best screenplay as well as best supporting actress for Jennifer Lawrence.
MOVIE JOURNAL: J. Hoberman on movies and movie-related things
Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category
Underachieving son (played against type by the comedian Will Forte) drives his near demented, alcohol sozzled old father (Bruce Dern) across the Midwest in search of a nonexistent pot of gold: Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska” is a slow-burning heart-warmer that neatly dodges the cornball bullet of a climactic manly hug. Indeed, it’s Payne’s best movie since his old Jack Nicholson road movie “About Schmidt”—and, in its absence of grandstanding, perhaps better than that.
Rene Clair’s 1942 fantasy “I Married a Witch” has some distinguished artists among its fans. Jack Smith included it in the syllabus for a class he never ever came close to teaching; Guy Maddin writes a long appreciation for the new Criterion DVD, out in time for Halloween. But I’m afraid I can’t join the club.
OK to plug my own show? If so, read on. “Fun City,” the series I programmed at the Museum of the Moving Image, includes 17 Hollywood features and one documentary shot on the streets and sidewalks of New York from 1966 through 1973—with one more feature, filmed in 1974, that recreates a bizarre event from the summer of ‘72.
I don’t know what it says about Pedro Almódovar that, seen in a Manhattan screening room rather than in competition at Cannes or at the New York Film Festival, “I’m So Excited!” seems so much more enjoyable than his previous half dozen movies.
Glitz on glitz. It would have been most Liberace-like had the TV premiere of Steven Soderbergh’s HBO production, the Liberace bio-pic “Behind the Candelabra,” been presaged by the announcement that star Michael Douglas had won the Best Actor Award at Cannes. (In fact, it was another Hollywood vet, Bruce Dern, who was garlanded for his performance in Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska.”)
Life is a cabaret, old sport, or maybe halftime at the Super Bowl in Baz Luhrmann’s overhyped and overheated 3D adaptation of “The Great Gatsby”—the fifth time Hollywood has taken on the 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald novel that many consider the greatest novel in the American language.
A youthful movie in more ways than one, Olivier Assayas’s “Something in the Air” evokes an irretrievable past even as it manages to embody the total excitement of a particular historical moment and even, self-reflexively, the trajectory of the French director’s career. This quasi-autobiographical evocation of student politics and European hippie counterculture circa 1971 is also a crypto sequel or perhaps a prequel to “Cold Water”, the extended party movie with which Assayas made his reputation in the mid ‘90s.