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Harlem Nights (1989) Directed by Eddie Murphy A 28-year-old box-office champ with spunk as indelible as his chortle, Eddie Murphy could've made his directorial debut any vanity project he desired. Though his name also appears as writer and producer of Harlem Nights, Murphy instead used his pull to spotlight his heroes: foulmouthed trailblazers Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor, booming jazz legend Della Reese, thespians Danny Aiello and Michael Lerner, and bestie Arsenio Hall. With Herbie...
De Palma Directed by Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow Opens June 10 at the Angelika One can only hope Brian De Palma appreciates the black-comic irony that a movie about his life and work begins with a clip from Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. Salt meet wound. His Film Brat peers (Spielberg, Scorsese, Coppola, et al) pretty much escaped the long shadows of their influences. But De Palma and his predominantly thriller-based oeuvre are forever indebted to the Master...
Kamikaze ’89 (1982) Directed by Wolf Gremm “He’s always in the Police Disco when I need him.” Resplendent in head-to-toe leopard print, Rainer Werner Fassbinder (in his last on-screen appearance) is Jansen, the ruthlessly intuitive ace inspector of Police Unit 16, charged with chasing down a bomb threat in the glassy high-rise headquartering the media monolith whose third annual “Laughing Competition,” featuring cackling, caged contestants, Running Man smoke machines and Rocky Horror makeup, evoking a...
A Touch of Zen (1971) Directed by King Hu Has any action film strived for transcendence as openly as A Touch of Zen? Despite the occasional religious reference, the first half of this three-hour wuxia epic is focused mostly on establishing its characters and plot: the duplicity that forces Yang (Hsu Feng) and two of her aides to hide out in a small village, and which draws in Gu (Shi Jun), an aspiring scholar/slacker who...