Sunday, January 1 1995
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie has lost none of its relevance or power, and is well worth seeing again on the big screen, if only to remind ourselves how good it is not to be unscrupulously comfortable.
The last 'Dolittle' film was a successful commercial film. The trouble is, the sequel is a far less noble beast. Many of the beats (and beasts) from the first film are here too, but despite being written by Larry Levinson, one of the co-authors of the first script, it just doesn't work as well.
Tim Robbins has never been shy about being one of them damn Hollywood liberals -- pro-union, anti-death penalty, solidly Green, married to Susan Sarandon.
In 'Cats & Dogs', the colors are a little too bright, everything is a bit too perfect. And all is not as swell as the humans would think: it's 'American Beauty' for pets.
Set in the 1930s and '40s, The Cider House Rules has a typically Irving-ian sense of scatter: the years sort of drift by, characters are sundry, and themes are vaguely related to each other. It could be that the film is concerned with the chronically troubled relations between parents (or their substitutes) and children...
'Corky Romano' is a limp, set 'em up and knock 'em down barrage of hijinx and horseshit that proves definitively that Chris Kattan's shtick is barely big enough to carry a 90-second trailer, let alone a 90-minute movie.
It's a confrontational, if manipulative, style, never offering excuses for Chopper's behaviour. There's no obligatory flashback to an unfavourable childhood. There's no real evidence of the influence of drugs. He is who is because he is. That's it.
The film's narrative unfolds slowly -- too slowly at first.
Renowned Korean director Im Kwon-taek presents a traditional Korean legend in Pansori (solo opera) style, in which a singer (Cho Sang-hyun), accompanied by a drummer (Kim Myung-hwan), sings the story of a forbidden love set in 18th-century Korea, between Mongyong Lee (Cho Seung-woo) and Chunhyang (Yi Hyo-jeong).
Passer expertly laces this compelling character study with all the intrigue and narrative complications familiar from classic 'film noir' of the 1940s and '50s.
One doesn't need a Kung Fu Cinema background to enjoy 'Crouching Tiger', but it helps in appreciating how the movie builds on -- and arguably surpasses -- that rich cinematic tradition.