Double feature: Okay, so, “2001: A Space Odyssey” is set in space, while “Mon Oncle” takes place in a modernist home in the French suburbs. But both concern themselves with progress and evolution, contrasting the earthy warmth of the past with the chilly possibilities of the future.
Double feature: The obvious link between “As Time Goes By” and “The Good Life” (aka “Good Neighbors”) is the creator/writer they have in common, a fact contributing to their similar tone and shared conversational tics and preoccupations. The deeper connection between these two British sitcoms is their protagonists’ worldview, a specific mixture of humanism in theory and latent misanthropy in practice.
Double feature: “Footnote” and “The Story of Qui Ju” are two films that explore the concept of advocacy. Both contrast characters who can’t, or won’t, stand up for themselves with relatives who defend their interests by proxy, often against their own. The former are partially motivated by pride and practicality, the latter by a sense of justice being violated.
Double feature: Lots of films concern themselves with the “what” or “when” of action. “The Straight Story” and “The Swimmer” stand out, and link to each other, by placing their urgency on the “how.” Both center on protagonists who turn routine journeys into quests by dreaming up exquisitely particular, unconventional ways to get from point A to point B.
Double feature: “I’m not the enemy,” the eponymous protagonist of “Michael Clayton” tells his unravelling coworker in an attempt to distance himself from the compromising agenda of his profession. The latter, not skipping a beat, shoots back: “Then who are you?” It is this exchange – the sharpest in a film of sharp exchanges – that links “Michael Clayton” to the endearing and moving documentary “Bill Cunningham New York.”
Double feature: Here are two ravishingly beautiful, radiantly intelligent films whose beauty and brains are in large part due to their shared attention to the details of domestic life.
Double feature: There isn’t much to argue about/with the assertion that New York is a city of cultural, as well as financial, wealth. The enviably literate, well-spoken characters in “The Last Days of Disco” and “Hannah and Her Sisters” are socially and temperamentally positioned to take advantage of both. In traveling the seams where money, art, breeding, and beauty meet in various combinations, they let us vicariously do so as well.