Director Ingmar Bergman made only two English-language films, "The… MoreDirector Ingmar Bergman made only two English-language films, "The Touch" (1971) and "The Serpent's Eye" (1977). Neither are well-regarded, and this doesn't seem coincidental. The dialogue in "The Touch" is uncomfortably stiff, and even the otherwise garrulous Elliott Gould sounds awkward delivering it. And his character is a mess. He's ridiculously brutal and tempestuous in some scenes, and unnaturally restrained in the rest. Essentially a three-character film, "The Touch" follows an affair between Gould and beautiful Bibi Andersson, while her academic husband (Max Von Sydow) seems too wrapped up in work to notice. Andersson doesn't seem compatible with either man, and there's little reason to root for either pairing to win out. Even the cinematography and score aren't up to Bergman's usual standards. Bedroom scenes bring good news and bad news: Andersson's perfect breasts and Gould's furry back.
Never afraid to be formulaic, this is the typical '60s biker film with… MoreNever afraid to be formulaic, this is the typical '60s biker film with a "charismatic" leader and his roving gang terrorizing a local little burg. When they're wrongly accused of raping a pretty young thing (Mimsy Farmer, inevitably), they take offense because this was the one crime they didn't commit. Are we supposed to root for these bullying jerks? The only features that distinguish this Roger Corman production ar e a cynical ending and a worldwise sheriff character that isn't as one-dimensional as the usual. John Cassavetes (incredible that he still had to make movies like these to stay solvent, eight years after "Shadows") is the head biker, but it really doesn't matter.
The famed Powell/Pressburger team bring us an opulent staging of… MoreThe famed Powell/Pressburger team bring us an opulent staging of Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffman," an opera divided into three parts in which the title character tells a tavern about his doomed past loves. The first and longest section, involving Moira Shearer as a life-size doll, is easily the most entertaining and includes cute, no-tech illusions of her body being "disassembled." Otherwise, the stories aren't easy to follow except in the broadest way (a prostitute and magician plot to steal Hoffman's reflection, and an opera singer sings herself to death), because the shrill lyrics are too difficult to discern. Furthermore, only two of the actors do their own singing, and there is an palpable awkwardness with the syncing -- especially when ballet dancers are trying to mouth words as they dance. The best features are Shearer's willowy dancing and Robert Helpmann's mugging as the recurring villain (he'd be perfectly at home in a Fritz Lang silent). And this is Powell and Pressburger, so of course the colors and sets are like magical paintings come to life.