An American in Paris (review)

As if there was any doubt that An American in Paris was nothing but an excuse for some fabulous singing and dancing, the film wraps up with a spectacular 18-minute ballet sequence. It’s got only the vaguest connection to plot or character, but it’s a gorgeous piece of filmmaking.

Going My Way (review)

How come filmmakers 50 years ago could do sentiment without going all sappy, and we can’t do that now? If Going My Way, a delightful movie confection, were remade today, it would end up as a sticky Hallmark Hall of Fame thing.

You Can’t Take It with You (review)

You Can’t Take It with You, an adaptation of the play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, is Frank Capra’s loving and wacky paean to nonconformity. The comedy is over the top but the moral of the story is a serious one: Find in yourself the courage to do with your life what you really want to do.

Grand Hotel (review)

It’s all very silly, the ultimate in Depression-era escapism: a piece of Hollywood magic that’s impossibly romantic filled with people who are impossibly elegant, bantering and wisecracking constantly. Its fascinating and diverse characters and a rather dark ending, however, give Grand Hotel more heft than any of its hellish spawn such as The Love Boat or Fantasy Island.

Shakespeare in Love (review)

Tom Stoppard, I’ll grant you, is infinitely more clever and more talented than your run-of-the-mill fan-fiction writer. But he’s doing exactly the same thing as those hordes of writers who have continued and expanded upon the adventures of the crew of the Enterprise, the owner of the TARDIS, those two FBI agents down in the basement, and the fictional denizens of a zillion other cultish TV shows.

Paulie (review)

I was not looking forward to watching Paulie, expecting the usual sitcomish antics that seem to pass for family viewing these days, so I was delighted to find an old-fashioned — in the best way — kind of movie. Disney used to make movies like this: uncynical but with a bit of an edge, wholesome without making you want to gag, sweet without sending you into a diabetic coma. Before Disney’s live action movies sunk to the level of a UPN sitcom, you could count on family films like Paulie (a Dreamworks release) to allow the bad guy (here, the lab director played by Bruce Davison) to be redeemed simply by witnessing an unselfish act, and to let you bawl your eyes out without feeling silly as only sentiment animal stories can.