War Is Swell [HOPE AND GLORY]

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Published on 13 Nov 1987 in Featured Texts, Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Slamdance

The virtual effacement of a promising talent is the regrettable consequence of this muddled 1987 thriller from onetime independent director Wayne Wang (Chan Is Missing, Dim Sum). Apart from a few incidental flickers of Wang’s sidelong humor, there’s little of his personality evident in this film about a divorced underground cartoonist (Tom Hulce) finding himself enmeshed in a murder plota story that steadily loses coherence and interest the longer it proceeds. The script is credited to Don Opper, although reportedly Aaron Lipstadt worked on some of the earlier drafts. With Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Virginia Madsen, Millie Perkins, Adam Ant, and Harry Dean Stanton. 100 min. (JR)

Published on 01 Nov 1987 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Sign O’ The Times

Deftly and seamlessly integrating live performances in Antwerp and Rotterdam with thematically related interludes shot in his Minneapolis studio, Prince’s 1987 concert film starts fairly effectively and builds steadily from there. Leroy Bennett’s lighting and production design and Peter Sinclair’s cinematography both help to make this a rousing show, full of sound and fury and signifying plenty, but Prince remains the undisputed auteur. The rapid editing recalls the scattershot method of certain rock videos, but the cinematic and musical savvy with which this is done avoids the coitus interruptus of The Cotton Club: the overall spectacle is enhanced, not curtailed or compromised. Dancer Cat Glover and (especially) drummer Sheila E. shine in these razzle-dazzle surroundings; Dr. Fink (keyboards) and Atlanta Bliss (trumpet) play Now’s the Time much too fast and still manage to swing; and Prince himself, passing through a spectrum of costumes and sexual roles, is never less than commanding, as performer, composer, and director. Songs include Hot Thing, I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man, The Cross, If I Was Your Girlfriend, Play in the Sunshine, Forever in My Life, and the title tune. (JR)

Published on 01 Nov 1987 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Hope And Glory

John Boorman’s account of the pleasures of the London blitz, mainly as experienced by himself as a seven-year-old (Sebastian Rice Edwards), is a lively look at the coziness of disaster filtered through nostalgia. The most thoroughly English film Boorman has made, it lacks the recklessness of his wide-screen adventures, but is an obvious labor of love that a superb castincluding Sarah Miles as the hero’s mother, Sammi Davis (a delight) as his volatile teenage sister, and Ian Bannen as his irascible grandfatherhelps to make funny and poignant. Anthony Pratt’s flavorsome production design, re-creating the quaint optimism in the lower-income suburban housing of the period, is also a strong asset, as is the cinematography of Philippe Rousselot (Diva, The Emerald Forest, Therese). But the love and enthusiasm that Boorman feels for his characters and subject carry the day here, and as evocative period re-creation, the film succeeds triumphantly in achieving everything that Radio Days set out (and failed) to do. The only lingering doubts one has concern the virtual absence of corpses, which is what makes Boorman’s rosy-eyed view of the war possible. (JR)

Published on 01 Nov 1987 in Featured Texts, by admin

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