Double feature: “What Maisie Knew” and “About a Boy” are two low-key literary adaptations examining what, and how, two only children understand and absorb upheaval in their domestic lives. (Seasonally appropriate bonus points to “About a Boy” for easing viewers into the holiday season.)
Double feature: The perfect pairing for the (unofficial) last weekend of summer – “Before Midnight” and “Claire’s Knee.” Why? It’s not just that both are set, either all or in part, during summer’s end. It’s that, in a larger sense, the two films are structured around, and brim over with, markers of time.
Double feature: The prevailing genealogy of “Blue Jasmine” and its eponymous heroine involves “A Streetcar Named Desire,” the Madoffs, and the personality/mannerisms of a New York art gallery owner who came within Woody Allen’s ken. My personal theory involves the director (subconsciously?) crafting a take on the personality of, and everlastingly contentious end of his relationship with, Mia Farrow.
Double feature: Goodness knows, “The Godfather” doesn’t need anything else written about it. And, of course, the natural, undeniable impulse is to follow any viewing of it with its own sequel/prequel. But for something less conventional and equally evocative, try double-featuring it with the 1970’s German TV production of Thomas Mann’s “Buddenbrooks” – another multi-generational saga with literary roots.
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: 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: 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: “Cactus Flower” and “Christmas in Connecticut” are two films whose humor stems from an invented domestic life with imaginary family members. In the former, the made-up family is a compassion-inducing source of woe; in the latter, it is a beacon of bliss from which others take comfort.