Kellow & Kael III (+ Nelson & Clint)

And the reviews keep coming:

  • Jason Bailey, Village Voice: “While Kellow’s analysis is often trenchant (‘The life was seeping out of the film movement of the 1970s, and she knew it. All the more reason, then, to intensify her advocacy for the movies she loved, even for those that she thought simply showed promise’), his conclusions are frequently puzzling. He slams Kael’s appraisal of Ellen Burstyn’s performance in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore for ‘speculating on the private thought processes of the actress’ and engaging in ‘crystal-ball gazing, pure and simple’that is ‘quite out of critical bounds.’ According to whom?”
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: “As for Kellow’s second strength, it’s an elegantly simple one: He’s a movie lover but not a professional critic. Kael had many axes to grind, but Kellow appears to have none. He just pays attention — an asset for anyone who loves life in the dark.”
  • Somewhat related: Richard Brody, in this New Yorker piece uses Conversations with Clint: Paul Nelson’s Lost Interviews with Clint Eastwood 1979-1983 (edited by Kevin Avery) as a launch pad to discuss the hostility between Kael and Clint Eastwood. Nice to see Brody giving the Nelson/Eastwood book its due, but his axe-grindey conclusion is something else: “P.P.S. The returns have long been in, and, despite the friends and followers who colonize the columns of publications across the country, Pauline Kael has lost. Clint Eastwood is rightly recognized as one of the most distinguished directors of the last forty years (and his career continues to advance from strength to strength); the same is true of Woody Allen (she preferred the early, ‘funny’ Woody). Alfred Hitchcock, Nicholas Ray, John Cassavetes, Otto Preminger are justly considered consummate artists; The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a locus classicus of the political cinema. Ishtar was welcomed with ecstasy at its 92nd Street Y screening last spring, and its creator, Elaine May, was received like the exiled heroine returning. Nobody would mistake Nashville for the cinematic second coming of Ulysses or Last Tango in Paris for that of “The Rite of Spring”; when Shoah returned last year, it was not discussed as a ‘long moan.’ And the list could go on for quite a while.” (Is this guy a critic or a scorekeeper?)

Finally, Kael gets tweeted:

One thought on “Kellow & Kael III (+ Nelson & Clint)

  1. God, that Brody thing is absurd. 1) There are hints that Kael liked Leone’s ’60s films a lot (her review of Once Upon a Time in America, a reference to “the psychedelic ambiance of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns” in her Barbarosa review; 2) the inexplicable assertion that Woody Allen is still widely regarded as a great director in view of his output over the past 20 years; 3) speaking personally, I can’t think of two more turgid Big Quality Films than Unforgiven and Mystic River (Million Dollar Baby was a little bit better).

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