Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
When the moon hits your eye, like a big-a pizza pie - that’s amore! - Dean Martin The most enchanting quality about “Moonstuck” is the hardest to describe, and that is the movie’s tone. Reviews of the movie tend to make it sound like a madcap ethnic comedy, and that it is. But there is something more here, a certain bittersweet yearning that comes across as ineffably romantic, and a certain magical quality that is reflected in the film’s title.
The movie stars Cher, as an Italian-American widow in her late 30s, but she is not the only moonstruck one in the film. There is the moonlit night, for example, that her wise, cynical mother (Olympia Dukakis) goes out for dinner by herself, and meets a middle-age university professor (John Mahoney) who specializes in seducing his young students, but who finds in this mature woman a certain undeniable sexuality. There is the furtive and yet somehow sweet affair that Cher’s father (Vincent Gardenia) has been carrying on for years with the ripe, disillusioned Anita Gillette.
And at the heart of the story, there is Cher’s astonishing discovery that she is still capable of love. As the movie opens, she becomes engaged to Mr. Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello), not so much out of love as out of weariness. But after he flies to Sicily to be at the bedside of his dying mother, she goes to talk to Mr. Johnny’s estranged younger brother (Nicolas Cage), and is thunderstruck when they are drawn almost instantly into a passionate embrace.
“Moonstruck” was directed by Norman Jewison and written by John Patrick Shanley, and one of their accomplishments is to allow the film to be about all of these people (and several more, besides). This is an ensemble comedy, and a lot of the laughs grow out of the sense of family that Jewison and Shanley create. There are small, hilarious moments involving the exasperation that Dukakis feels for her ancient father-in-law (Feodor Chaliapin), who lives upstairs with his dogs. (In the course of a family dinner, she volunteers, “Feed one more bite of my food to your dogs, old man, and I'll kick you to death!”) As Cher’s absent fiance lingers at his mother’s bedside, Cher and Cage grow even more desperately passionate, and Cher learns the secret of the hatred between the two brothers: One day Aiello made Cage look the wrong way at the wrong time, and he lost his hand in a bread-slicer. Now he wears an artificial hand and carries an implacable grudge in his heart.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
A review of Netflix's new series, Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events," which premieres January 13.
Meryl Streep and other awards recipients shared their thoughts on an America under Donald Trump during last night's G...
A review of NBC's "Emerald City," premiering January 6th.