Poirot: The Adventure of the Clapham Cook (1989)

Fully Realized Over the years, I have written one tirade after another about Clive Exton, the adapter of Christie for many of these Poirot mysteries. He just doesn’t get the form, what makes the form of the detective story so captivating. What he does is substitute character for discovery. The excuse, I am sure is… Continue reading Poirot: The Adventure of the Clapham Cook (1989)

A Girls Own Story (1984)

Her Very Own I recently watched “In the Cut,” and found its connectives strange and exciting. So I went to this to see them when young and raw. Supposedly, this is Campion’s first long form film. It didn’t quite work as a film the first time because it is so fractionated. Her earlier “Passionless Moments”… Continue reading A Girls Own Story (1984)

Aunt Peg’s Fulfillment (1981)

Unfulfilling Classic porn, the kind celebrated in “Boogie Nights,” cannot be avoided if you are serious about studying film. An amazing number of these, mostly from the 70s, have pretty cleverly engineered contexts. It is completely different than the porn of today, where there is no attempt at story. Often, those old films stretched for… Continue reading Aunt Peg’s Fulfillment (1981)

1984 (1984)

Is What It Shows It is a pet peeve of mine to discover films whose point is undermined by its container. Most of these are the trivial case of movies about taking chances and being unique, but the form of the movie is the complete opposite. What we have here is similar, but in an… Continue reading 1984 (1984)

Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple: 4:50 from Paddington (1987)

Missed Train The Marple stories — many of them — are lessons in narrative placement. We start with the basic notion of the mystery narrator shuffling through multiple created realities looking for what makes sense. Marple turns that into the clever notion of detection as gossip: the constructed realities of small town busybodies imposing a… Continue reading Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple: 4:50 from Paddington (1987)

36 Fillette (1988)

Evenings of Cabiria In the late seventies, actress/writer Breillat made a film (“Young Girl”) about the nearly suicidal angst of female sexual discovery/fantasy. It is worth watching for the raw honesty, but it misses being a whole film. Five years later, she wrote a Fellini film, not a good one. It was during the period… Continue reading 36 Fillette (1988)

Bloodsport (1988)

No Bruce Lee Bruce Lee invented a genre; Jackie Chan invented a genre; Sly Stallone invented a minigenre, all with various approaches to personal combat. But these guys deeply understood how film works so they could tap the relevant pressure points. Van Damme did not invent a genre here, despite the best efforts of his… Continue reading Bloodsport (1988)

The Jazz Singer (1980)

No Jazz I like to see remakes, because in many cases you experience two films at once: the film you are watching of course, and the one you recall. Usually that prior one is pretty good. In this case, it IS pretty good, and historically important too. It was the first popular talkie, and not… Continue reading The Jazz Singer (1980)