AMERICAN PSYCHO (Mary Harron, 2000)

Steven Spielberg is probably Hollywood’s best judge of very young talent ever. When Empire of the Sun, his misguided attempt at filming J.G. Ballard’s autobiographical novel, opened to critical derision—the public simply stayed away—in 1987, film critic Andrew Sarris raised eyebrows by his pronouncement that the star, thirteen-year-old Christian Bale, as Jim, surpassed even Jean-Pierre […]

LOST IN TRANSLATION (Sofia Coppola, 2003)

For some time now I have hankered for less sex, more romance, in films, and I’m always complaining about there being too much plot in American films. Lost in Translation, written and directed by Sofia Coppola, comes then as answer to my pleas. I’m pleased with the result, the vibrant humor and delicate, intangible feelings […]

PARADISE ROAD (Bruce Beresford, 1997)

Bruce Beresford has made a number of films I don’t care for, including Breaker Morant (1979), Tender Mercies (1983), Crimes of the Heart (1986) and Driving Miss Daisy (1989), which though it won the best picture Oscar was strictly Hallmark Hall of Fame; but the Australian has also made one film that’s strikingly good: Black […]

WHITE SQUALL (Ridley Scott, 1995)

An anemic, diffuse boys’ adventure, of the sort that Steven Spielberg would fashion a few years hence with Saving Private Ryan (1998), White Squall is terribly disappointing. Its narrative premise is promising: the shared year-long experience of a bunch of schoolboys, mostly college preparatory seniors, aboard a two-masted ship sailing around South America, piloted by […]