POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE (1990)

dir. Mike Nichols. Screenplay by Carrie Fisher, based on her novel. Meryl Streep is Suzanne Vale, an actor getting over a drug problem, who is forced to move back in with famous performer mother (Shirley MacLaine) in order to secure her next acting role. A real delight. Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine are terrific together, they’re very funny, and can also be very tender and sweet. Gene Hackman has a wonderful supporting role as a film director, I love his scene with Meryl Streep in the audio looping studio. Carrie Fisher’s dialogue between the mother and daughter is brilliant, every conversation strikes a perfect balance of witty, and believable. MacLaine has a great musical moment during the surprise party, which is made even better by Streep’s shifting facial expressions as she watches on. Meryl Streep as an important song too, but her voice is not really strong enough for it to carry the moment. Possibly Meryl Streep’s first really funny performance?

QUICK CHANGE (1990)

dir. Howard Franklin, Bill Murray. Grimm (Murray), robs a bank dressed as a clown, along with two friends, and spend the day trying to escape from the police. Bill Murray’s only directorial credit, and it’s brilliant. One of my favourite comedy-crime films. Some painfully suspenseful scenes with the semi-competent thieves always on the verge of catastrophe. Gina Davis is fantastic as always. Supporting cast is outstanding, especially the talented Phil Hartman as the gun wielding yuppie, and Stanley Tucci as the bootlicking mob enforcer. The only aspect that has not aged well is the cabbie (Tony Shalhoub) with his gibberish foreign accent, which he made up for the role. The film is dedicated to Helen Scott, who was a collaborator and close friend to both Francois Truffaut, and Bill Murray, she introduced Murray to the book that this film is based on. Sadly she passed away three years before QUICK CHANGE was released. The same book was also made into the French film HOLD-UP (1985), starring Jean-Paul Belmondo.

PARIS IS BURNING (1990)

PARIS IS BURNING (1990) dir. Jennie Livingston. Classic documentary about the ‘Ball’ scene in 1980s New York City, where the LGBTQ community, especially African-Americans and other minorities could celebrate each other through dance, fashion, and music, through runway style competitions. Mostly known for being a behind the scenes look at the origins of ‘Voguing’, the dance move Madonna demonstrates in her ‘Vogue’ music video. Comprised of interviews with dozens of people, and footage of the balls, it’s a fascinating look into this 1980s subculture, which continues today. The overwhelming emotion of the film is an optimistic feeling that love will prevail, and that community and culture can fill the gaps that hate and prejudice create. Some tragic turns in the lives of the interviewees are impossible to forget. Should be mandatory viewing for any fans of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’, or the Netflix ‘POSE’ series. 

THE JUNIPER TREE (1990)

dir. Nietzchka Keene. Spooky and atmospheric, based on a Brothers Grimm tale. Starring a 21 year old Björk, in her first feature film performance, also first feature from director Keene. Made by an American director, filmed in Iceland, and spoken in English. I found the Icelandic accent a bit thick sometimes, so watched with English subtitles turned on. Maybe time for this film to have a comeback for its 30 year anniversary, especially with other recent films shooting in Black & White, like THE LIGHTHOUSE (2019) and BAIT (2019). Superb performances by all, including the young boy. The music by Larry Lipkis is brilliant, surprising this is his only film credit. Highly recommended.