Birds DeWitt, Bees DeWitt
Manhattan. Woody Allen's latest is, as perceptive critics in every national publication have pointed out, a gloppy mixture of Annie Hall and Interiors--bits of the former's clever humor sprinkled on top of a stale layer of the latter's unbearable dialogue. Manhattan is black-and-white, entertaining, not quite as good as Annie Hall, but better than most other movies you could choose to see. If Allen ever overcomes the paralysis his years of psychoanalysis have induced in his capacity to write serious dialogue, he may yet emerge as the American Bergman. Until then, he should stick to comedy. And stay away from 17-year-olds.
The Buddy Holly Story Well all right so I'm being foolish, well all right let people know...It takes fair amount of foolish adulation to really like this movie, but Buddy Holly fans know he had it all over Elvis. If the movie flits from anecodote to funny line to endearing scene with only the most superficial transitions the music (not vintage BH but good reproductions) holds it together. Buddy Holly was the James Dean of rock'n'roll.
Yojimbo. This is one of the funniest of Akiro Kursawa's Samurai films, telling the story of a Samurai (Toshiro Mifune) who offers his services to each of two factions warring in village. After some reversals, he of course ends up helping the side that deserves his skills. The film served as a model for the first block-buster spaghetti western, Fistful of Dollars, which brought Clint Eastwood to fame.
Hair. Milos Forman looks at the sixties through a rose- colored lens, sanitizing the anti-war movement into youthful anger with a utopian glow. Still the movie has more plot than the show ever did,, Twyla Tharp's choreography encourage some fancy swirling camera work, and the songs are still good. Compared to abysmal movie musicals like Grease, Hair shines.
Rules of the Game. A case could be made for this film as the best film comedy ever made. It is certainly Renoir's best film. His work generally involves a search for a community to identify with in French society, whether aristocracy bourgeoisies, peasantry or working class. This quest often leads to the sentimental conclusion that such an identification is possible. But in Rules of the Game Renoir rejects false resolutions. Though the film seems to identify itself sporadically with the aspirations of different characters--the eccentric aristocrat, his Viennese wife, the romantic aviator, and Octave (played by Renoir himself)--the movie ultimately demonstrates all their limitations. Renoir blows the form of romantic comedy apart, constructing a work of great subtlety and complexity, which in the starkness of its vision conveys the difficulties of finding viable way to live in bourgeois society. But will it play in Lubbock?