February 24, 2018 | Rome, Italy | °C
Search film reviews:
Genre: Keyword:

Biopics

Christine

Antonio Campos' take on the Christine Chubbock suicide is all about the stunning Rebecca Hall.

Drama

Mother!

Darren Aronofsky's latest concoction can feel like Rosemary's Baby meets Apocalypse Now.

Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig's "Lady Bird" gets fine work from Soarise Ronan, but ultimately flubs the script.

Rome Adventure

Delmer Daves' 1962 film, while no "Roman Holiday" or "La Dolce Vita," possesses its own small pleasures.

Zodiac

A decade later David Fincher's serial killer film still stands tall as a study in administrative futility.

Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson's dives into the British fashion world of the 1950s, and creates an difficult romance.

American Made

Tom Cruise is in top form in Doug Liman's sly take on the life and times of one Barry Seal.

Lucky

John Carroll Lynch's ode to veteran American actor Harry Dean Stanton is a small-town masterpiece.

Horror

It Comes at Night

Trey Edward Shults' low budget thriller links a killer plague with human mistrust and fear wins out.

Thrillers

Double Indemnity

Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck are gifted actors but they can't dance the sizzle.




Date: 1987
Directed by: Woody Allen
Starring: Julie Kavner, Michael Tucker, Seth Greene, Mia Farrow, Dianne Weist

Radio Days

Woody Allen has lovingly engineered a slew of memory lane stories over the decades, but none may be as gently poignant as "Radio Days," his no-frills fictional autobiography of growing up in Brooklyn of the 1930s and 40s. Allen provides the mischievous narration but it's the Rockaway Beach family he builds that does the lion's share of the work. Julie Kavner is the ever-complaining but compassionate Jewish mother of trickster Joe (actor Seth Green supplemented by the omniscient Allen), wife to a smart-alecky father, played by Michael Tucker, a cab driver embarrassed by his vocation who stomps around the modest house offering slapdash homegrown wisdom and all manner of paternal insight.

The Brooklyn of Allen's embroidered recollections include cigarette girl Sally White (Mia Farrow) who sleeps her way to stardom; Dianne Weist's Aunt Bea, who manages one ruinous date after another. There are plenty of nods to Allen's love of radio — the 1930s were radio's so-called Golden Age — and the quirky voice actors of the day, from which impressionable Joe creates a parallel universe (one that includes Orson Welles' famous Martian landing broadcast).

Allen's non-neurotic narration is itself a wonder, making the siting of a U-Boat (and pre-teen voyeurism) into acts of palpable adolescent joy. There's no real moral to this story except perhaps what's between the lines of a quip by Joe's radio hero, The Masked Avenger: " I wonder if future generations will ever even hear about us. It's not likely. After enough time, everything passes. I don't care how big we are or how important are our lives."

The soundtrack also plays a leading role, featuring a wealth of up-tempo band tunes from the 30s and 40s. With the peerless 1985 "The Purple Rose of Cairo," this is Allen's best and kindest ode to memory.

Reviewed by: Marcia Yarrow
Day and Boarding International High School in the Heart of Rome

Everything you need to know about visiting or moving to Tuscany, Italy.