Youth Without Youth

I had a strange dream last night about Romania and Malta, India and Switzerland. In my dream, Francis Ford Coppola had made a new movie, something about an old man who is hit by lightning and grows a new set of teeth. He collects roses and languages and Bruno Ganz was there, too. He owned a German-made tape recorder, for which he apologized. A beautiful woman spoke in tongues and changed her name and lived in a cave for a thousand years. In Walter Murch’s hands, close-ups of cigarette smoke turned into drifting clouds illuminated by the full moon. Mad Nazi scientists electrocuted horses, and I couldn’t remember if I left the third rose in a safe deposit box or inside a shattered mirror. There was never enough time. By the seaside, I made promises and broke them, but all of my friends were at the Cafe Select.

I know, I know — there’s nothing duller than listening to other people’s dreams. And yet… the shared fantasy Coppola created from Mircea Eliade’s novella weaves a strange magic, mysterious, playful, philosophical, and loopy with romance. I’d like to hold on to that gossamer enchantment for just a little while longer, privately, before it’s time to take out the stainless steel critical apparatus and cut this one open. Check back for a proper review before the opening on December 14. With Tim Roth and Alexandra Maria Lara.

Youth Without Youth. Francis Ford Coppola, 2007. ****

The trailer:

Tucker: A Man and His Dream

A more glamorous version of Who Killed the Electric Car, the exuberant story of a failure, and a good-natured indictment of corporate malfaesance and the death of the American Dream. Christian Slater, Joan Allen, and Martin Landau are always welcome; Sofia sweeps through in a party scene, and Dean Stockwell makes an appearance as Howard Hughes. In the title role, Jeff Bridges plays the designer of a forward-looking car that was too innovative for its own good. Only 50 were ever built before the big car companies put him out of business. A flying version of the Tucker appears in Revenge of the Sith:

Bail Organa's Tucker Bail Organa's TuckerBail Organa's Tucker

Tucker: The Man and His Dream. Francis Ford Coppola, 1988. ***

[tags]film, francis ford coppola, 3 stars, cars, dreams, corporations, jeff bridges, preston tucker, star wars[/tags]

The Godfather Part III

Sophia can’t hold her own against Pacino, but when she’s acting opposite Andy Garcia, she’s just fine. The guy who plays Tony is a bit of a stick in the mud though. These are the only sour notes in the entire series. Marcy thought that the way Kay and the kids find out about Michael’s first wife, Apollonia, isn’t handled too well, but there’s enough pay-off here set-up in the previous films to satisfy. The opera, the Vatican, Pacino’s Vader-topping scream that seals his tragedy–it all culminates here, and it still deserves 5 stars.

The Godfather Part II

Extremely ambitious and grandiose–I know people tend to cite this along with Empire as the sequel that’s superior to the original, but if I had to pick (which I don’t) I think I’d prefer the first. Still just Francis on the commentary track; haven’t gotten all the way through yet but it promises to be as delightful as the first one.

The Godfather

Pretty much every scene here is gold; this movie bears rewatching as much as anything; like Star Wars, it’s opera. The commentary track–just Coppola–is one of the best I’ve heard. I’ll gladly hang out with him, watch his movie, and have him tell me stories about it.