Polish-British director Pawel Pawlikowski had wanted to make a film about Helena Wolinska-Brus for some time, but never managed to come up with the right approach. She was a military prosecutor in Poland after World War II and partly responsible for the executions of many Poles who had belonged to the Home Army and fought … Continue reading Ida: Life After Hitler and Stalin
GET READY FOR THE NEXT WORLD WAR. Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) wants a comeback in the ring and decides to fight an intimidating Soviet boxer (Dolph Lundgren); the disastrous consequences pulls Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) into the biggest bout of his life. It’s possible to view this third sequel, the most bankable of them all, as … Continue reading Rocky IV
KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSE. When a U.S. Senator gets his throat slit, the CIA recognize the method of a legendary Cold War assassin and calls an old operative (Richard Gere) back into action. Screenwriter Michael Brandt’s directing debut is a thriller that offers mediocre but OK entertainment right up to the finale where a huge … Continue reading The Double
THE DAY BEFORE. THE DAY OF. THE DAY AFTER. One of the most talked-about TV movies of its day attracted a huge audience and inspired a national debate on the pros and cons of nuclear deterrence. The story takes place right before, during and after a crisis where the U.S. and the Soviet Union launch … Continue reading The Day After
When a Soviet mole is believed to have been planted at the top of the Circus, the British intelligence service, old pro George Smiley (Alec Guinness) is called back in action… About as far from a James Bond movie as you can get, this miniseries portrays the art of spycraft as one based on meticulous investigation … Continue reading Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
TRUST NO ONE. SUSPECT EVERYONE. I prefer my spies dapper. I want to see them sip martinis and seduce women in one breath, and in the next kill enemy agents in cold blood. I want to see nifty little toys, fast cars and insane supervillains hiding in lairs that could only be designed by Ken … Continue reading Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Return of the Ringmaster
INVISIBLE. SILENT. STOLEN. In 1988, Die Hard had been such a tremendous hit that a sequel was inevitable. The film’s director, John McTiernan, was obviously considered for it. In the end, he chose to do something else. Adapting Tom Clancy’s “The Hunt for Red October” may seem like a natural follow-up, and it certainly is a thriller, … Continue reading Hunt for Red October: Run Silent, Run Deep
MOVIE? WHAT MOVIE? American rock singer Nick Rivers (Val Kilmer) goes to East Germany where he becomes involved with the… French Resistance? The Airplane! directors strike with a comedy in the same vein that is too busy throwing gags at us to bother with a coherent story. The result is a wild mix where French resistance fighters (with … Continue reading Top Secret!
AN ANATOMICALLY INCORRECT ROCK ODYSSEY. This film adaptation of the off-Broadway show about a rock artist with a botched sex-change operation behind him who sings about his upbringing behind the Berlin Wall, and how he was seduced by an American G.I., is not your average musical. But it did charm the Sundance film festival and … Continue reading Hedwig and the Angry Inch
IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE! In the 1950s, a boy encounters a giant made of iron in the woods; the creature is from outer space, but the kid’s new playmate is not easily accepted by adults. An animated charmer that shows director Brad Bird’s potential, even though it wasn’t a commercial success. Reminiscent of E.T. (1982), this is … Continue reading The Iron Giant
IS IT A CRIME OF PASSION, OR AN ACT OF TREASON? Navy officer Tom Farrell (Kevin Costner) is posted at the Pentagon where he starts having an affair with Susan Atwell (Sean Young)… who turns out to be the Secretary of Defense’s (Gene Hackman) mistress. This remake of The Big Clock (1948) ups the ante by moving the … Continue reading No Way Out
IT WILL HAVE YOU SITTING ON THE BRINK OF ETERNITY! 1964 was indeed the year of the Bomb. Stanley Kubrick’s absurd Cold War comedy Dr. Strangelove, which was based on a novel by Peter George, was first released. When George found out about Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler’s novel “Fail-Safe” and its very similar theme, … Continue reading Fail-Safe: Be Very Afraid
IN BERLIN, THE CRAZED CITY WHERE WEST CONFRONTS EAST, A SON WILL DO ANYTHING TO PROTECT HIS MOTHER. Soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a devoted East German Socialist (Katrin Sass) awakes from a coma; in order to prevent a life-threatening shock, her son (Daniel Brühl) does everything to make her … Continue reading Good Bye, Lenin!