From the Archive: Consenting Adults

This was written for The Pointer, the student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. When I look back at my clippings from that publication, I’m reminded of the remarkable number of times I penned reviews on films that the average twenty-year-old likely had zero interest in. I assume it was my attempt to speak to those college kids that caused me to reference the then-recent Presumed Innocent rather than Alan J. Pakula’s sterling nineteen-seventies film as demonstration of his established merit as a director. I’m inordinately pleased that sharing this review today means the phrase “Spacey’s ultimate game: wife-swapping” will now yield … Continue reading From the Archive: Consenting Adults

Arzner, Byrkit, Hitchcock, Pakula, Tartakovsky

Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943). Though he would sometimes demure at the question, this was typically the title Hitchcock offered up as his default answer when asked about his personal favorite among his hefty, dazzling oeuvre. I can’t really back him up on that, even though I can completely understand how this one would loom large for the Master. He’d made great films before this (The Lady Vanishes, Rebecca, and Suspicion among them), but there’s something about this one that feels like the Hitchcock cinematic voice locked in for good. The film follows Charlie Newton (Joseph Cotten), a … Continue reading Arzner, Byrkit, Hitchcock, Pakula, Tartakovsky

Bernhardt, Bicquet, Donen, Huston, Pakula

Two for the Road (Stanley Donen, 1967). This comic drama about the evolution of a marriage, with particular focus on the sharp degradation it experiences, is playful with its chronology in a way that must have been completely novel at the time of the film’s release. Now, it’s a more familiar cinematic approach, which doesn’t make Two for the Road terribly ineffective, though it does undercut some of the sillier moments that were presumably inserted to make the film easier to grasp a hold of for perplexed audiences. Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney are both terrific as they play the … Continue reading Bernhardt, Bicquet, Donen, Huston, Pakula