‘My Dinner With Andre’ a feast for the ears

Wallace Shawn in My Dinner With Andre on Criterion Blu-ray

Three and a half decades on, "My Dinner With Andre" remains a succulent piece of filmmaking. The ultimate talkie has lost none of the charm, mystery and wisdom that turned it into an indie hit back in 1981. Somehow, the film about two intellectuals talking in a Manhattan restaurant became a cultural sensation -- this in the time of "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Raiders of the Lost … [Read more...]

‘Limelight’: Chaplin’s melancholy dance

Claire Bloom and Charlie Chaplin in Limelight

"The cycle is complete," the not-so-great Calvaro says in Charles Chaplin's "Limelight." It was more than a line from a self-pitying clown. Chaplin's 1952 film completes the circuit between the pure joyous comedy of his youth and the time-weary art of his advanced years. Chaplin, fully expecting "Limelight" to be his last film, made it his last testament. To this day, the audiences don't … [Read more...]

‘Fellini Satyricon’ sets sail on Criterion Blu-ray

Satyricon film

"Satyricon" is advanced Fellini, a film seemingly made with little regard for its audience -- going so far as to end mid-sentence to stress its fragmented nature. The idea was to "upset viewers," says one expert on the film. Fellini, of course, succeeds at upending the cinema as few filmmakers could. Difficult and frustrating as "Satyricon" can be, however, the 1969 film rewards repeated … [Read more...]

‘F for Fake’: Welles’ last magic trick

Orson Welles in F for Fake

File "F for Fake" under truth in advertising. After all, this is not a real Orson Welles movie -- at least not in the sense of "Touch of Evil," or even "The Magnificent Ambersons." Welles took an unfinished documentary shot by someone else, tacked on some hocus-pocus at the beginning and end, mixed in spicy footage of his mistress and called it his latest movie. A scam perpetrated by an … [Read more...]

‘A Hard Day’s Night’ on Blu-ray

Fab Four in A Hard Day's Night

The long-awaited Blu-ray of "A Hard Day's Night" comes with the prominent subtitle: Directed by Richard Lester. Truth in packaging, as the Criterion Collection's smashing release of the Beatles' film puts the focus squarely on the iconoclastic director, whose vision and bravery under fire made what could have been a forgettable "jukebox musical" into a classic of several genres. "A Hard … [Read more...]