Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Worked for Universal in the late 70s.
Have been a serious film viewer since high school. The American Cinema by Andrew Sarris was the key which opened American film history for me.
ListsAn error has ocurred. Please try again
Anti-male screed masquerades as a film about music.
I must admit that I could barely force myself to finish watching this miserably sexist piece of junk. I came to it interested in its exploration of the Appalachian musical tradition, and found instead a series of male caricatures, which basically suggests the world would be a fine place were it not for the presence of men. I have never seen a film more relentless in its one-note propagandizing of this sexist viewpoint. Even if it were a celebration of female values and lesbian love, it would not have to populate the landscape with worthless and hateful men. (Aiden Quinn is the token sympathetic male) Most repellant is to use a fine musical tradition as a pretext for such vituperative, male hating sentiments. This false pretext cheapens the film beyond redemption. It is to be hoped that these filmmakers don't get another opportunity to produce yet another dishonest piece of work. Shame on them. The music is wonderful, however so buy the soundtrack and skip the movie (fine performance by Pat Carroll, however).
The Claim (2000)
Slow moving, highly pictorial, McCabe & Mrs. Miller wannabe.
You can not escape the very close parallels between this rather tedious, PBS/BBC like (earnest,artsy,pretentious) film and the brilliant and evocative Robert Altman masterpiece, McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Where Altman's central characters are the co-founders of a profitable, freewheeling frontier town until big business (railroad then, Walmart now) blows into town lured by the smell of money. Altman's warmly sympathetic portrait of the title characters who are loners isolated from each other as well as the community they founded together is in stark contrast to the melodramatic, paper thin characters Michael Winterbottom props up like stick figures in a picturesque landscape. In McCabe and Mrs. Miller, the town pulls together to form a community as they fight a church fire. In The Claim, the townspeople scramble for gold in the ashes of the town they deserted for economic reasons. Altman's view of the railroad suggests the ruthlessness of corporate enterprise. Winterbottom straddles the fence, celebrating the railroad and endorsing the naive technological boosterism that one of America's worst attributes, while condescending to the townspeople who are depicted as avaricious in the film's climactic scenes(the murderous railroad engineer is the love interest and hero of this capitalistic epic). Altman evokes a lost era with sympathy, while Winterbottom wallows in cheap irony, shamelessly borrowing from Altman while defiling a great film's memory. This movie would be perfect PBS fodder, as it lacks any spark of originality while it clings to its "serious art" pedigree (based on a novel by Thomas Hardy) for dear life. If you want to see a great "Northwestern" try Anthony Mann's The Far Country, which would pair wonderfully with McCabe and Mrs. Miller in a double bill. Don't waste more than two hours with this pointless, meandering pastiche of Thomas Hardy by way of Robert Altman. Go and enjoy the originals instead.
Shock Corridor meets Homicide in this superbly written, finely acted series.
With the departure of the superb Homicide series last year, I did not expect to see another show that would be as dense with detail and as intelligently written again, never mind anytime soon. Well, it has aired only one episode so far, but Wonderland is a remarkable piece of work. The pace is faster than Homicide and the storylines are perhaps even edgier (given the setting is an urban psychiatric hospital, this was, I suppose, inevitable). It is great to see the remarkably talented Michelle Forbes working again. Ted Levine and Martin Donovan (remember Hal Hartly's Trust?) are two of the other fine actors who make up this talented ensemble cast. Like Homicide, the characters are multi-faceted, vulnerable and living on the edge in very stressful lives. The opening episode shows a central character who is pushed to an emotional breaking point by events that result in a reaction not unlike one of his patients. It is as if someone had seen Samuel Fuller's Shock Corridor and decided to make a Homicide style series out of it. If the first episode is an accurate indication, this series will be a keeper.