James Wolcott

Stories

History’s Nebbish

The tale of schlemiels schlemiel, Zelig is as funny, endearing, and slight as Woody Allen himself. Staying Alive is suicidal. The quick Grey Fox jumps nimbly the pitfalls of making a western.

Slower Than a Speeding Bullet

The third time is not always the charm. In Superman III our hero finds himself in a blue funk, and his melancholia is the liveliest part of the show. The Survivors doesn’t make it. Escape your little gray cells and enjoy The Man With Two Brains. Trading Places exchanges wit and finesse for boorishness and bigotry.

Slower Than a Speeding Bullet

The third time is not always the charm. In Superman III our hero finds himself in a blue funk, and his melancholia is the liveliest part of the show. The Survivors doesn’t make it. Escape your little gray cells and enjoy The Man With Two Brains. Trading Places exchanges wit and finesse for boorishness and bigotry.

Wookiees on Parade

Return of the Jedi is a star shower of new creatures and old favorites that leaves you wowed but underwhelmed. Breathless is suffocating. WarGanes starts out with a bang and ends with a whimper. Flashdance has a certain twinkle.

Double Jeopardy

What’s Exposed is the worlds of fashion and terrorism and the curves of Nastassia Kinski. Blue Thunder is nothing but noise; Tender Mercies, on the other hand, is practically a silent.

Double Jeopardy

What’s Exposed is the worlds of fashion and terrorism and the curves of Nastassia Kinski. Blue Thunder is nothing but noise; Tender Mercies, on the other hand, is practically a silent.

Scotch, Neat

Local Hero is undiluted pleasure. Lianna is a little watered-down.

Scotch, Neat

Local Hero is undiluted pleasure. Lianna is a little watered-down.

The Nerd Who Would Be King

Martin Scorcese’s The King of Comedy is about the stock-in-trade of comedians, but who’s the laughingstock? You’ll be smitten with Lovesick. The Year of Living Dangerously teeters precariously between metaphysics and lust.

The Nerd Who Would Be King

Martin Scorcese’s The King of Comedy is about the stock-in-trade of comedians, but who’s the laughingstock? You’ll be smitten with Lovesick. The Year of Living Dangerously teeters precariously between metaphysics and lust.

Next to Godliness

Gandhi presents its title character as all but a god and India as all but a paradise. Starstruck is a lark; Sophie’s Choice is a letdown.

Nolo Contendere

Paul Newman stars as an existential ambulance chaser in The Verdict, a dismal study of law and disorder. Best Friends will alienate you; Heartaches will make you feel good. 48 Hrs. is dirty talk and deja vu.

Truth and Woolworth’s

Life is false fronts and fantasies to the women who flock to a dusty Texas town in Robert Altman’s Com Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. The Missionary won’t convert you. Still of the Night is still, all right.

Your Flick of Flicks

Laughter, nostalgia, and a delightful performance by Peter O’Toole are brought to you by My Favorite Year, a tribute to the heyday of TV. Lookin’ to Get Out will have you doing the same. Yes, Giorgio is so-so. Texas has its moments.

Kangaroo Westerns

He has no manners, polish, or panache. He has stubble, a low brow, and a violent temper. Thanks to filmakers from down under, he's the new Austrailian male.

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