One of these days, the film community is going to recognize Walter Hill’s movie The Warriors as the classic that it is.
I think it gets short shrift because of the controversy it generated when it came out in the late-1970s owing to its depiction of New York City gangs and associated violence. But the truth is, it’s an exceptionally well-made film, with brilliant direction, strong performances, sharp editing and terrific cinematography … including some great slow-motion camerawork during the myriad fight scenes.
Surprisingly, it also has a sensitive script that calls attention to class discrepancies, most notably in a sequence set on a subway car. Not your average action flick, methinks.
So this is more than a guilty pleasure. It’s a quality picture, one that I can watch over and over again. I don’t really get tired of it. Maybe it’s because I was born and raised in The Big Apple, and I have an affinity for the film’s depiction of my city. Or maybe it’s just because I like good movies.
Of course, it could be both. Still, one thing’s for certain: It should be in better cinematic standing. And that’s something I’ll advocate with all my heart.
David Cronenberg’s movies will rub you one way or another, there’s no doubt about that. I think his latest opus, Maps to the Stars, will be in that category, too.
The question is, will it be as strong as his previous efforts, from Scanners to Eastern Promises? I’m not so sure. In general, this director has been one of the strongest (and in my opinion, one of the most underrated) in the industry, with a talent for generating oodles of interesting plots amid creatively yucky violence, biological horror and strong performances. It’s hard to say whether he has been a favorite of mine, but his body of work is unique, and his talent is always apparent. Plus, he’s quite consistent, even when working with subpar material; you can generally find some kind of inspiration there, no matter what.
So why am I so skeptical about Maps to the Stars?
I guess the main reason is because it has one of my least-favorite actors in it: John Cusack. That, to me, is not a lure; I generally don’t care for Cusack’s performances and find most of the vehicles I’ve seen him in to be maudlin. Though his presence in the movie isn’t a deal-breaker, it doesn’t bode well for the picture. It’s not the type of casting that’ll make me want to see it.
Still, Cronenberg’s direction brings with it the possibility of surmounting any obstacles, and it’s possible that Maps to the Stars could offer quite a bit. If it’s anything like the filmmaker’s vintage movies, that would be a triumph.
Hopefully, that’ll be the case.
There’s a lot of really good stuff in Nicole Holofcener’s bittersweet flick Lovely & Amazing. An introspective script. Strong subject matter. Good performances.
There are also many annoying things about the film, particularly the fact that it meanders and doesn’t seem to come to a resolution. That’s sad, because it otherwise has a lot going for it, including yet another fine turn by Catherine Keener as one of three sisters with dealing with the problems of life.
I lost interest, however, after what seemed like the eighth reel. It went on a bit too long and could’ve used more editing, as well as significant tightening.
Still, it has some interest value, and it tackles an issue that’s rarely dealt with sensitively or truthfully: how women view themselves. Kudos to the film for that – you don’t see such subject matter in the theaters often.
What will my next movie be? Let’s see …