In terms of faithfulness to source material and oversimplification of plot and theme, kids’ movies based on books tend to get a free pass. Historically, they have been taken from fairy tales or novels that were themselves written for juveniles. This is why Disney’s 1996 adaptation of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame was and remains so strikingly odd, based on a novel from 1831 that was not written with tots in mind.
Tag Archives: Michael Koresky
Bad taste—or least what constitutes it—is a matter of, well, taste. Way earlier in 1964, Kiss Me, Stupid’s possible savior Peter Sellers provided the glue that held together the disparate strands of Kubrick’s precarious Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. And though that film poked callous fun at, and cannily exploited, the Cold War fears of the American populace, its slapstick vision of total human annihilation wasn’t met with the same ire as … Read More
Regardless of the drastic decline in the quality of Shyamalan’s films, his downfall is also reflective of a general fickleness in public taste. One way of emotionally and aesthetically gauging a given year in American cinema is to look at its star players who have since fallen out of favor. In the year 2000, Shyamalan was on top of the world; the title of his new release, Unbreakable, seemed like it might be describing him as much as the movie … Read More
The next year we’d have that first trickle of American films that willfully catered to a younger, increasingly rebellious audience ready to toss out old Hollywood with delight. But in 1966, we seem to have a perfect example of that middling middle ground between the bloated behemoths and international coproductions that had finally subsumed the American movie scene, keeping audiences away in droves, and the aggressively youth-minded, politically oriented films on the horizon.
In The Good Earth, Luise Rainer is heavily altered, in appearance and manner, but one can’t say she disappears into the role. As in the various examples of stunt casting that exist to this day (though now it’s usually about “uglying up,” like Charlize Theron in Monster, as opposed to trying on ethnicities like different colored hats), you’re always aware of the actor beneath the makeup. However, 1937 offered another wholly transformed actress, and this one really did vanish into … Read More
Invasion of the Body Snatchers, like La Cage aux folles and In a Year of Thirteen Moons, is explicitly about facades and the impermanence, whatever they may or may not be worth, of our physical bearings. In the former two, characters are judged by and often feared according to their outward appearances; in Kaufman’s quintessential paranoia scenario, the adage that the soul is behind the eyes is perversely turned inside out.
Today, as from its inception, Reverse Shot remains essentially a labor of love for all involved. The phrase “I don’t know how you do it” is flung around a lot, but I mean it quite literally when talking about Msrs. Reichert and Michael Koresky, who for a decade have done this thing on evenings and weekends, with minimal consideration for the profit motive. And it is a thing very worth doing precisely because it is free of that motive.
For this week’s column, I have forced myself to reckon with three films I wrote about in articles I might prefer to forget. Up first, a review from 2013 I’d particularly love to relegate to the dustbin of history in which I deemed Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible not merely an act of provocation—I even mildly took the critical community to task for being offended by it! The bloviations of a little ninny critic screaming to be heard, my review seems now … Read More
The stuff that creates character in a movie—both literally the people on screen, as well as the sensibility of the film itself—can be so subtle you sometimes don’t even notice it. One of the ways Annie Hall cleverly communicates its sensibility, and by extension its year, 1977, is through the reading materials the characters either handle or occasionally discuss onscreen.