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AFTERGLOW: A Last Conversation with Pauline Kael

Francis Davis, Author, Pauline Kael, Author
Francis Davis, Author, Pauline Kael, Author . Da Capo $18 (134p) ISBN 978-0-306-81192-0
Reviewed on: 08/05/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Paperback - 144 pages - 978-0-306-81230-9
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This slim but potent volume offers movie lovers an elegant good-bye from the acerbic, wildly opinionated National Book Award– winning film critic who reigned at the New Yorker from 1968 to 1991. The New York Times called her "probably the most influential film critic of her time." Kael's enthusiasm for films was contagious, as she praised or damned them with giddy vitality. Longtime friend Davis's three extended conversations find the octogenarian still an avid moviegoer. While this book doesn't offer extended reviews, fans will be delighted to hear Kael weigh in on movies released since she stopped writing a decade ago. She enjoyed the "sweet" Star Trek spoof Galaxy Quest; the first half of Boogie Nights; High Fidelity ("it gets better as it goes along"); and Brian De Palma's Mission to Mars. She was also fond of TV's "terrific" Sex and the City and The Sopranos ("I loved the first season and watched it religiously"). She found Silence of the Lambs "a hideous and obvious piece of moviemaking"; Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut "ludicrous from the word go"; and American Beauty "heavy and turgid." She also blasts later-day Steven Spielberg (Always was "a shameful movie" and the casting was "terribly wrongheaded" in Schindler's List). Besides film quips, Kael defends her critical review of the Holocaust documentary Shoah, regrets being talked out of reviewing Deep Throat and discusses current filmmaking and her 20-year battle with Parkinson's disease. (Sept. 3)

FYI:The book's publication date coincides with the one-year anniversary of Kael's death at age 82.

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