Hnery Sheehan film reviews
film reviews
film reviews
film reviewsmainnewsreelfilm reviewsdvd reviews
film reviews
film reviewsinterviewsfilm essaysfilm festivalsresources
film reviews
film reviews
film reviews film reviews
film festivals
film reviews
dvd reviews
dvd reviewsLegong, Dance of the Virgins
From the mid 1920s well into the 1930s, American and European audiences had a well nigh insatiable appetite for films set in the South Seas – whether they be features, documentaries, or travelogues.  One of the most outstanding examples turns out to be a recent rediscovery, Legong: Dance of the Virgins, made by the French adventurer and international socialite, the Marquis Henry de la Falaise.

dvd reviewsI'm Going Home
Nonagenarian Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira has been enjoying one of the most extraordinary careers in cinema history.  After a directing career that went through fits and starts, he settled down into his productive years in his 70s and has been producing a steady stream of provocations, curiosities, and masterpieces ever since
. more

film reviewsDespite the fact that it left audiences rapt and creeped out at the 1998 Toronto International Film Festival, and then again at Toronto in 1999, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure never hit with American audiences when it managed a small release in the United States a few years ago.
That might be because the only Japanese movies that make it through the “free-trade” barriers that keep most foreign films out of the U.S. are either some of Beat Takeshi’s or the grotesquely violent and sadistic chop-‘em-ups that have developed a cult following. more
film reviews
film essays
Douglas Sirk
film reviews
Auteurist critics have embraced the whole of Douglas Sirk’s work for at least 35 years, an intellectual clinch first marked by the filmmaker’s entry in Andrew Sarris’s "The American Cinema 1928-1968." Summer Storm, A Scandal in Paris, There’s Always Tomorrow, All That Heaven Allows, Written on the Wind, Imitation of Life – these have been long acknowledged as unadulterated masterpieces. But celebrating Sirk was a more hazardous venture than, say, fêting Samuel Fuller...
Read Part 1

The Peter Panning of Steven Spielberg
film reviews
(Reprint / 1992) - The "Panning of Steven Spielberg" ran as a two-part series in consecutive issues of Film Comment in 1992. I don’t see any reason to back off either the general premise – that an analysis of Hook reveals Spielberg’s central preoccupations in his films up to that point – or the individual analysis of movies.
Read Part 1 | Read Part 2

Clint Eastwood - "Scraps of Hope"
film reviews
Links To Other Sites
Visit other film critics whose commentary on cinema is extremely valuable. more
film reviews
• Use the search box below to find what you are looking for, or use the Advanced Search for more options.
film reviews
film reviews
David Cronenberg’s films have displayed such a hardnosed consistency over so long a time, that it is remarkable how rarely his movies project any sense of repetitiveness. And though there is a definite Cronenberg “feel” to his films, he has never made an excessive commitment to a particular look.  This, perhaps, may be due to his choice of perennial collaborators – composer Howard Shore, cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, editor Ronald Sanders, costume designer Denise Cronenberg – who operate at such a high creative level themselves that they are as loathe to settle for artistic reflex as he is.

The Dark Knight Rises
Director Christopher Nolan is the latest incarnation of an all too familiar figure in cinema, the maladroit filmmaker who, perversely, is celebrated as particularly skillful and polished.  This phenomenon extends at least as far back as Stanley Kubrick, is never supported by a scintilla of evidence, and is regarded as beyond argument by its fierce, unseeing proponents.

Moonrise Kingdom
For some time now, writer-director Wes Anderson has been making some good movies (Rushmore, The Royal Tennenbaums) based on the simple, common problems which assault eccentric people with as much force as they do, well, “regular” folks.  This success is partly based on avoiding what Claude Chabrol called “big subjects,” notions that overwhelm the proper human scale to which movies should aspire.

The Amazing Spider-Man
What is most amazing about this opening episode of the Spider-Man do-over is that anyone had the temerity to call it amazing.  This is simply a typical big-budget studio feature, marketed in the usual way (IMAX! 3-D!), and bad in the ordinary way.

Safe and the Avengers
Settling for an examination of a movie’s sociological or political significance usually represents the failure of a critic or a movie. For the critic, it means turning away from the inside of a movie and looking at the outside. As for the movie, well, it usually means there is no inside to speak of.

Most of the words spilled over Ridley Scott’s remake/sequel/prequel (take your pick; it doesn’t matter) of Alien have to do with its efficacy as a reiteration or as a stand-alone sci-fi horror movie.  But both movies are ruthlessly manipulative, devoid of internal logic, and utterly dependent on surprise penetrations of the frame lines from off-camera for “boo!” effects.
film reviews

Kim Novak Interview
I interviewed Kim Novak in 1996 on the occasion of the re-release of Vertigo (1958)in a newly restored version.  At age 63, she was friendly and bright and though there are a few statements she made that sound like sour grapes in cold print, those remarks were delivered with an objective tone which made them seem more matter-of-face than bitter. 

As it pretty much says in the article, this interview was conducted over Thai food in Boston in 1986.  At the time Fuller was in his second eclipse.  The first had ended when auteurists celebrated the uniquely bold language of his movies.  Unfortunately, the wave of enthusiasm had broken just about the time The Big Red One came out in a truncated version.  No one except the usual critical minority raised a hue and cry when White Dog was nearly put down for good by Paramount.  Luckily, the college film groups, museums and cinematheques of the world maintained their interest throughout.  Hence my dinner with Sam.       

Clint Eastwood
film reviewsOn November 19, 2003, Clint Eastwood sat down with Henry Sheehan for an interview at his offices at Warner Bros. more

Vincente Minnelli (Web exclusive)
Johnnie To (March, 2003)

film reviews
The specialty divisions of the major studios aren’t what they used to be.  In fact, some of them aren’t at all.  This past May, Warner Bros. – which is about as big as an entertainment conglomerate can get – shuttered its two boutique houses, Warner Independent Pictures (Good Night and Good Luck) and Picturehouse (La Vie en rose).  This was only a short while after Warners had closed down another outpost of its empire, New Line (Lord of the Rings).  Similar operations at other majors are still open for business, but in most cases their lists of releases are shrinking.

Million Dollar Question
SPOILER ALERT: The following contains major revelations of surprise twists in Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, including the ending.
The difference between criticism and journalism showed was revealed under a particularly bright light in a February 5 column by the Los Angeles Times’s Tim Rutten.  Rutten writes under the heading “Regarding Media,” and while many sins are committed in the daily press under the guise of journalistic dissection, Rutten is not one of the offenders.  Maybe that’s why I felt so personally disappointed by this column. more

film reviewsToo Hot To Handle
Determined to prove that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, Jack Valenti, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, has prevailed upon the distributors of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 to change a quote in the movie’s ad.  The quote, as it happens, is from Richard Roeper, and read in its original form, “Everybody should see this movie.” more
film reviews

All About Henry Sheehan
film reviewsHenry Sheehan, past president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, has been a professional film critic for over 25 years and has been published in Film Comment, Sight and Sound, the Chicago Reader, the Boston Globe, and LA Weekly. Since 1986, he has been based in Los Angeles, where he currently appears as a regular panelist on KPCC-FM’s "Film Week," an hour-long live discussion show broadcast Friday mornings from 10am to 11am. "Film Week" can also be heard on KPCC’s web page. more

film reviews
site map
• To see a complete listing of articles on the website, use the Site Map.

film reviews
main  |  newsreel  |  film reviews  |  dvd reviews  |  interviews
film reviews
film essays  |  film festivals  |  resources  |  info/about  |  search  |  sitemap
film reviews
film reviews
© 2004 - 2012 Henry Sheehan - all rights reserved
(not to be reproduced without permission)
contact Henry Sheehan by sending an Email to
Site built by Futura Studios -
creators of
film reviews