Out of the Mush [The Best Movies of 1990]

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Published on 04 Jan 1991 in Featured Texts, Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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Postcards From The Edge

Carrie Fisher doesn’t so much adapt as rewrite her own autobiographical novel about her drug problems and show-biz comeback, shifting the emphasis away from a couple of boyfriends and toward her relationship with her mother (Debbie Reynolds in real life). Mike Nichols’s direction makes a very old-fashioned and effective Hollywood entertainment out of it, with Meryl Streep at her best in the Fisher part, Shirley MacLaine equally fine as her show-biz mother, and an all-star backup cast including Richard Dreyfuss, Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman, and Mary Wickes (1990). Among the pleasures to be found here are some amusing sidelong glances at how movies get made and the singing talent of Streep as well as MacLaine. There’s not much depth here, but Nichols does a fine job with the surface effects, and the wisecracks keep coming. (JR)

Published on 01 Jan 1991 in Featured Texts, by admin

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All By Myself

Christian Blackwood’s fascinating documentary portrait of Eartha Kitt not only offers a multifaceted sense of its subjectas professional entertainer, private individual, political activist, and self-commentatorbut also treats each of these facets in a kaleidoscopic manner. The relationship between Kitt’s champagne-and-furs persona and her traumatic deep-south upbringing is especially suggestive; by the end of the film, one may not be sure how much of Kitt is self-invented, but the sense of dialectical exchange between the aspects of her personality keep all of them intriguing (1982). (JR)

Published on 01 Jan 1991 in Featured Texts, by admin

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