The most conspicuous absence in the following list of “the ten best films directed by women” requested by the BBC is Elaine May; clearly I should have included either Mikey and Nicky or The Heartbreak Kid.
BBC: The best films directed by women:
1.The House is Black (Forugh Farrokhzad, 1963)
2. The Enchanted Desna (Yulia Solntseva, 1964)
3. Mix-up ou Meli-melo (Françoise Romand, 1986)
4. Vagabond (Agnès Varda, 1985)
5. The Asthenic Syndrome (Kira Muratova, 1989)
6. Sweetie (Jane Campion, 1989)
7. From the Other Side (Chantal Akerman, 2002)
8. You Are Not I (Sara Driver, 1981)
9. Daisies (Vera Chytilová, 1966)
10. Aragane (Kaori Oda, 2015)
… Read more »
From the Chicago Reader (December 20, 1991). — J.R.
** (Worth seeing)
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by Jim V. Hart, Malia Scotch Marmo, and Nick Castle
With Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Caroline Goodall, and Charlie Korsmo.
*** (A must-see)
Directed by Barry Levinson
Written by James Toback
With Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Elliott Gould, Joe Mantegna, and Bebe Neuwirth.
Wistful self-portraits of their respective stars — Steven Spielberg and Warren Beatty, two aging boy wonders lusting after the old magic — Hook and Bugsy are also lengthy meditations on investments, financial as well as spiritual. Coincidentally both projects were conceived seven years ago and have been gestating ever since: Spielberg started planning a straight version of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan in 1984, then decided to concoct an updated sequel set in the present, and the same year Beatty commissioned James Toback to write an original screenplay about Bugsy Siegel, which started out as an epic about his entire life and was gradually whittled down to cover only the end of his life in the 1940s. Hook is contrived to move from gloom to joy, while Bugsy charts a slow downward spiral into melancholy; but both movies leave one with a sense of failed purposes — and of an obstinate will to believe that exceeds the meaning or logic of any actual belief.… Read more »
From the Chicago Reader (March 2, 1990). — J.R.
MEN DON’T LEAVE ** (Worth seeing)
Directed by Paul Brickman
Written by Barbara Benedek and Brickman
With Jessica Lange, Chris O’Donnell, Charlie Korsmo, Arliss Howard, Joan Cusack, and Kathy Bates.
A central part of Paul Brickman’s talent as a director, apart from his skill with actors, is the use he’s made in his two features of the throbbing, semieuphoric rhythmic monotony of New Age music as a kind of figured bass to the melodic flights of his mise en scene. A master in orchestrating precise cuts, unorthodox camera angles, and camera movements that propel or embellish his story telling, Brickman may depend in part on slightly shopworn plots and familiar generic characters, at least as putative starting points. But he scores almost every time he articulates a fancy transition or highlights a telling detail, occasionally setting the story slightly adrift as he draws us into these lyrically abstract interludes. And the musical regularity of his scores — by Tangerine Dream in Risky Business (1983) and by Thomas Newman (son of Alfred and cousin of Randy) in Men Don’t Leave — tends to protect these well-crafted maneuvers, providing them with a kind of safety net (or, to alter the metaphor slightly, trampoline) from which he can make his expressive leaps.… Read more »