As Hong Kong directors like John Woo, Tsui Hark, and Ringo Lam made their way to Hollywood in the 1990s one star helped them get there: Jean-Claude Van Damme. The weird thing: It kind of worked.
A conversation about The Killer covers its auspicious arrival in America, its lasting legacy, and whether or not John Woo lays on the melodrama thickly.
Though Woo’s influences range from Sam Peckinpah and Martin Scorsese to Le Samouraï and Magnificent Obsession, his breakthrough hit brought his own distinct style to a bullet-riddled gangster melodrama.
From The Virgin Suicides through The Bling Ring, Coppola turns up the volume even when her characters can’t express themselves.
The conversation around Sofia Coppola’s debut continues with a discussion of death, nostalgia, and teenagers.
Coppola’s career-long concern with looking in, looking out, and characters feeling trapped no matter which side they’re on begins with her remarkable debut.
Aliens’ Colonial Marines are a memorable group, thanks to a combination of smart writing and the efforts of a cast that went through hell together.
The Aliens discussion continues with a conversation about why it still works so well, and the legacy of a film that still seems ahead of its time.
From the beginning, the Alien franchise drew its deepest horrors from sexual discomfort, reproductive fears, and gender-swapping. Aliens drew on that theme, but also partially reversed it, for the series’ sweetest moment.
With the assistance of music supervisor Richard Baskin and a cast of singers, Robert Altman assembled a collection of songs that would reflect a turning point for post-Vietnam America.
The sprawling 1975 masterpiece deftly mixes the micro and the macro as it explores a cross-section of ’70s America.
The Movie Of The Week conversation continues with a discussion of White Men Can’t Jump’s very ’90s racial politics and a consideration of where its characters might be today.
Matthew Weiner loaded the opening scenes of Mad Men’s finale with homages to Two-Lane Blacktop. But the connections between the two run deeper than a few superficial references.
Two writers continue the conversation by looking at Monte Hellman’s subversion, the problematic character of The Girl, and the modern fate of the gearhead movie.
Monte Hellman’s 1971 ode to the road followed Easy Rider on its search for America, but found a much quieter place full of restless dreams.
The 1992 feature captures Spacey as he comes into his own, transforming from an actor who could disappear into the background to one destined to take center stage.
What makes James Foley’s shrewd adaptation of David Mamet’s Pulitzer-winning play a “Cadillac”? Two writers hash it out.
There are familiar guidelines for adapting plays into movies, and making movies successful. James Foley’s film broke a lot of rules, and found most of its strengths in the process.