Daily Archives: May 7, 1993

8 1/2

From the Chicago Reader (May 7, 1993). — J.R.

8 1_2-car

8 1_2 leg

If what you know about this exuberant, self-regarding movie comes from its countless inferior imitations (from Mazursky’s Alex in Wonderland and The Pickle to Allen’s Stardust Memories to Fosse’s All That Jazz), you owe it to yourself to see Federico Fellini’s exhilarating, stocktaking original — an expressionist, circuslike comedy about the complex mental and social life of a big-time filmmaker (Marcello Mastroianni) stuck for a subject and the busy world surrounding him. It’s Fellini’s last black-and-white picture, and conceivably the most gorgeous and inventive thing he’s ever made — certainly more fun than anything he’s made since. (The only other Fellini movie that’s about as pleasurable would be The White Sheik.) With Claudia Cardinale, Sandra Milo, and Anouk Aimee (1963). A new 35-millimeter print will be shown. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, May 7 through 13.

8 1:2

8 1_2-womenRead more »

Lies and Death

From the Chicago Reader (May 7, 1993). — J.R.


** (Worth seeing)

Directed by Ivan Reitman

Written by Gary Ross

With Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella, Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, and Ben Kingsley


**** (Masterpiece)

Directed by Tom Joslin and Peter Friedman

With Tom Joslin, Mark Massi, Charles and Mary Joslin, Whitey and Sue Joslin, and Lois Black Hill.

Is it the prime purpose of every movie we want to see to tell us comforting lies? On some level I suspect it is, and paradoxically this may be the case even with pictures that supposedly break through reassuring deceptions to give us the unvarnished truth. One way or another, even the best of films tend to deceive us about certain matters — and if they didn’t, we probably wouldn’t give them the time of day.

The two recent examples I have in mind are in other respects about as different as movies can be. With a skillful piece of Hollywood pastry like Dave, an Ivan Reitman comedy about a small-time businessman named Dave (Kevin Kline) impersonating the U.S. president (Kline as well), one might at first be drawn in by its refreshing candor about the ignobility of the office of president.… Read more »

Emma and Elvis

From the Chicago Reader (May 7, 1993). — J.R.

This entertaining first fiction feature of Julia Reichert (Union Maids) is at least 25 times better than The Pickle in making a filmmaker’s creative/mid-life crisis meaningful, engaging, and interesting — so the fact that it’s taken two years for this enjoyable independent movie to open here (and at Facets rather than, say, Water Tower) must have more to do with the vanity of cock-waving industry honchos than with the needs of ordinary spectators like you and me. The filmmaker is a married woman (Kathryn Walker) in Dayton, Ohio, who’s bogged down in a documentary about the 60s counterculture. She becomes involved with a bitter, disaffected cable-access video artist in his 20s (Jason Duchin), which creates an ongoing dialogue between 60s and contemporary approaches to political protest — particularly when both characters become involved with a local censorship issue involving a gay activist with AIDS. The story is set in spring 1989, during the Tiananmen Square protests, and all the characters are fresh and unpredictable. The film-within-a-film features interviews about the 60s with Angela Davis, Tom Hayden, David Horowitz, Greil Marcus, and Holly Near. Mark Blum is effective as the filmmaker’s neglected husband; Steven Bognar and Martin M.… Read more »


To the editors:

Contrary to what I wrote in my review of My New Gun (April 30), the film’s distributor is I.R.S. Media, not Fine Line. My apologies for the error.

Jonathan Rosenbaum … Read more »