Posts by: robertr

Stanley Cavell at Harvard

On April 6, I learned who provided Boston-Cambridge cinephiles with one of our most adventurous venues. The Harvard Film Archive celebrated its thirtieth birthday with a talk by the American philosopher Stanley Cavell, who has written extensively on cinema in Pursuits of Happiness: the Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage and The World Viewed: Reflections on the […]

The Headless Woman

Earlier this year, amid all the hype surrounding Katherine Bigelow’s Oscar win, another, possibly more impressive, achievement by a female director went ignored in the mainstream media. In a poll of hundreds of New York’s film experts to determine the best Latin American films of the last decade, the top spot did not go to […]

Great Scene: Moonstruck

Norman Jewison’s 1987 film Moonstruck, a landmark romantic comedy, is positively bursting with insight on matters of love and marriage in the modern world.  At its core, the movie makes two central assertions about the mysteries of the human heart.  First, that love and happiness are dependent almost entirely on luck; and second, that men […]

Vincere Review

I first fell in love with the work of Marco Bellocchio after viewing I pugni in tasca (Fists in the Pocket, 1965), a masterpiece of Italian cinema that perfectly captured the psychological disturbances of its characters.  My fondness for the director’s work was reignited after his 2003 drama Buongiorno, Notte (Good Morning, Night), which also […]

Repo Men Review

In recent years, timeliness has been high on the minds of most box office prognosticators. Last winter, some blamed the box office disappointments of films like The International and Confessions Of A Shopaholic on how they related to current events. The International was deemed too timely with its story of evil bankers trying to take […]

Great Scene: Hannah and Her Sisters

Since taking his first foray into seriousness with Annie Hall in 1977, Woody Allen has been nothing if not upsetting, morally and emotionally.  His earliest films were one laugh riot after another—ingenious, cheeky, odd—but he really hit his stride when he embraced his inner Ingmar Bergman in the late 1970s and beyond, asking the Big […]

J’ai tue’ ma mere (I Killed My Mother) Review

If you plan to see J’ai tue’ ma mere with the hopes of seeing a film about matricide, you will be disappointed.  The protagonist does not kill his mother, physically at least.  But Xavier Dolan’s directorial debut, J’ai tue’ ma mere, has won international attention and for plenty of reasons.  The plot may not be […]

Classic Review: Ishtar

The first time I heard of Ishtar was when I was about 13 years old spending a nice summer’s day inside watching television. Elaine May’s comedy starring Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty was on the wrong end of various jokes during an episode of VH1’s ever present I Love The 80s. It was labeled stupid, […]

Great Scene: The Third Man

In his Criterion DVD introduction to Carol Reed’s The Third Man, director Peter Bogdanovich explains the stage concept of “Mr. Woo,” also called the “star part.”  Here’s how it works:  For the first hour of the play, all the characters talk, in hushed voices, about a mysterious fellow named Mr. Woo.  “Just wait until Mr. […]

St. John of Las Vegas Review

Let’s get it out of the way from the very beginning: Steve Buscemi needs to be the lead actor in more films. No matter the movie, Buscemi is always interesting to watch and such is the case with St. John of Las Vegas. Starring in a film based on Dante’s Inferno and produced by an […]