There's nothing quite like the movies if you want to learn what people's hopes and dreams were during the period in which they were made. Take for instance the recent "Up in the Air". In the present when air travel has turned into something to be endured, George Clooney's Ryan Bingham showed us how it can become an enticing way of life. The same subject was also portrayed extensively, under a very different light, some forty years as the "Airport" movies dealt with our fears of dying in new and horrible ways, while glamorizing our dreams of flying first-class, surrounded by a movie star in every seat. As the trailer for one of these features once put it: "on board, a collection of the rich and the beautiful!" They also marked the advent of a new genre (the Disaster Film) as well as the "Ark movie" which Ebert's Little Movie Glossary defines as "mixed bag of characters trapped in a colorful mode of transportation". How many films can claim to this kind of impact?
The reviews of "Salt," re-teaming Angelina Jolie with director Phillip Noyce, fell into two distinct camps: those that treated it as an action/espionage thriller, and those that saw it as something rarer: an old-fashioned star vehicle. Of course it's both, but (as I said in my second paragraph) I think it's even more fascinating as an examination and appreciation of Jolie's persona, on- and off-screen.
Kathleen Murphy observed that Noyce "has turned 'Salt' into a movie about being a movie star, about gorgeous Angelina Jolie dressing up and down, working up a sweat, displaying her exotic self for our voyeuristic pleasure...."
CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA - "There's no use kidding ourselves," Lewis Gilbert said. "The appeal of this film will be based on sex and violence, of course. But the difference is, this will be the first sex and violence epic. Usually sex and violence are counted on to sell themselves, and so that sort of thing is made cheaply..."
For an hour the screen was filled with clips from the movies of 37 years. Garbo in "Camille." Katharine Hepburn in "The Philadelphia Story" and again with Spencer Tracy in "Adam's Rib." Ingrid Bergman in "Gaslight." Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady." And, of course, Judy Garland in "A Star Is Born."