David R. Slavitt

David R. Slavitt is a poet and novelist. His most recent work is The Octaves: Poems (LSU Press, 2017).

Latest by David R. Slavitt in Chronicles

Results: 31 Articles found.
  • June 1994

    Sinners into Saints

    Franz Kafka was right about metamorphoses. The usual direction is from the human condition to something lower, the cockroach or whatever insect it was that Gregor Samsa became.

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  • February 1994

    Theater of Cruelty

    Because of my enthusiasm for the verve of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, I would have wanted to catch True Romance, for which he wrote the screenplay, even without the interestingly diverse reviews.

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  • December 1993

    Metaflicks

    Robert Warshow, one of the best critics of film we ever had (all serious moviegoers should read his collected essays, The Immediate Experience), wrote that the most difficult thing about reviewing movies is "admitting that you were there."

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  • November 1993

    La Condition Humaine

    Frederick Wiseman's rigorous documentary style disdains the unctuous narrator's voice-over explanations to the audience of what it ought to be able to see with its own eyes, and this technique has never been more eloquent and effective than in Zoo.

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  • August 1993

    Horse Plays

    No, I haven't lost my mind, or at least that's what I choose to believe. But this hasn't been a terrific month for movie-viewing, and I saw a neat flick on American Movie Classics, a 20-year-old Western I'd never heard of, called Ulzana's Raid.

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  • June 1993

    Saintly Thugs

    The way the camera turns an actor's body into an objet d'art is wonderful. Some faces—Bogart's, for instance, or Cooper's, or Wayne's—can be maps of experience, the topography of those weathered lines and architectural planes suggesting a richness of emotional history that endows any routine scene with depth and dimension.

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  • March 1993

    Biggies

    There are advantages to doing these movie pieces at a leisurely (bi-monthly) pace, prime among which is that I don't have to go to too many movies. What got to me the last time around, when I was working for a weekly magazine, was that I was getting up, dressing, shaving, and going into New York.

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  • January 1993

    A Charming Film

    Husbands and wives is a slight but charming film, and, had it not been for the inability of the press to distinguish between life and art, it would have opened in the usual eight theaters to reviews that were mildlv favorable if not quite ecstatic.

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  • December 1992

    Christmastime in Hollywood

    Not only had I not planned to see Batman Returns, I had made a verv definite promise to myself not to see it. The earlier Batman had been boring and incoherent, a product from and for another culture or maybe even another species.

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  • November 1992

    Gaiety Follies

    I went to Edward II, expecting to hate it. In New Haven the week before, I had seen the extraordinarily fine production of the play Stan Wojewodski, the new dean of the Yale Drama School, had mounted at the Yale Rep, and I was skeptical of any screen version, particularly a gay-rights polemicization.

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  • Gift: The Life of Lorenzo Da Ponte
    October 1992

    Gift: The Life of Lorenzo Da Ponte

    Not merely a strange place, but the home of strangeness, / the land stretching away west to vertiginous / spaces beyond the imagination. / Philadelphia first, / then New York, where Nancy is living.

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  • August 1992

    The Year in the Novel, 1991

    What we have here—not even the President has had the effrontery to deny it—is an intellectual recession. I cannot think of a year in which more; bad books received more serious attention.

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  • June 1992

    Star Turns

    Gangster movies show us an are, the parabolic rise and fall of a career where ambition comes a-cropper, where there is payment extracted by the inexorable fates for the hubris of the protagonist.

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  • February 1992

    Endangered Species

    Advance word was that this film was troubled, which helps it, I think. With lowered expectations, one comes hoping only for an engaging Dustin Hoffman performance in a more or less predictable gangster flick.

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  • December 1991

    A Great Novelty

    At a certain point, maybe two-thirds of the way through the pretentious nonsense of Barton Fink, I began to despair of finding anything interesting enough to write about, even in a bimonthly chronicle.

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  • October 1991

    Creations Great and Small

    Sumer was icumen in. The air conditioners were humming and the monstro-humungus blockbusters were opening. The biggest of the monsters, the Mount Pinatubo of the summer releases, was Terminator 2, the costs of which the producers denied were in excess of $100 million.

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  • August 1991

    Intimations of Mortality

    Honesty in movie-reviewing is a giddy business, which is what I suppose Robert Warshow meant when he wrote that the most difficult thing a movie critic has to do is "admit he was there."

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  • June 1991

    Antecedents

    It is usually a reliable rule that when moviemakers decide to "open up" a stage play to adapt it to the screen with its voracious appetite for scenery, they lose more in focus and intensity than they gain in pretty vistas.

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  • April 1991

    Returns

    The return of Francis Ford Coppola to the Godfather epic was clearly the movie event of 1990.

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  • The Vessels of His Meaning
    February 1991

    The Vessels of His Meaning

    To say that O.B. Hardison, Jr., who died last August at the age of 61, was a poet is in some respects to diminish his memory. "Poet" has become a hollow accolade, a label with an honorific charge that is not unrelated to the disesteem in which most poets are actually held in a society that distrusts and resents poets and has little patience for what they do.

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Results: 31 Articles found.



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