Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Robert Horton, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Autumn in New York

[Written for Film.com]

Like most movies, Autumn in New York has a way of stating its themes in dialogue, so we don’t miss the point. In one scene, hip restaurateur Richard Gere asks his best buddy why he should continue a relationship with a much younger woman with a serious illness. The buddy, played by Anthony LaPaglia, shrugs in the down-to-earth way of movie best buddies and says, “Maybe it makes a sad girl happy and a desperate guy think.”

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Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Bossa Nova

[Written for Mr. Showbiz]

What’s sadder than a would-be lilting comedy that just doesn’t lilt? It doesn’t help when someone decides to name the thing Bossa Nova and fill it with the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. The music sounds as sea-breezy and listenable as ever, but Bruno Barreto’s movie is flatfooted to the max.

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Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: The 6th Day

[Originally written for Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Arnold Schwarzenegger fans were perplexed by End of Days, the dreary, hysterical millennial thriller that marked his comeback from a two-year break. Hollywood’s favorite action hero was reduced to a cynical, burned-out husk of an alcoholic cop on a vaguely redemptive quest. Where was the wiseacre tough guy of few words and explosive action? Where was the beloved teddy bear of a Hollywood Hercules with a destructive streak? Where was Ah-nold?

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Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Robert Horton, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Me, Myself & Irene

[Written for Film.com]

Of course the Farrelly brothers would make a split personality movie. It’s autobiographical: these filmmaking provocateurs are divided between sweet and sour, between the romance of classic screwball comedy and Mad magazine on acid.

So we get Me, Myself & Irene, a comedy about a Rhode Island cop who suffers from split personality disorder. In the gratifyingly wacky opening minutes of the film we meet Charlie (Jim Carrey), a nice guy stretched thin over thirty years of being a doormat. In a sequence that deliberately tramples taboos, Charlie melts down (in a line in a supermarket—perfect) and mutates into Hank, a belligerent jerk with no social boundaries.

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Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Gohatto (aka Tabou)

[Written for Mr. Showbiz]

“Have you ever killed a man? … Have you ever made love?” It’s tempting to call this latest film by Nagisa Oshima (In the Realm of the Senses, Max Mon Amour) a meditation on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy toward gays in the military — except that in Kyoto’s Shinsengumi militia in 1865 it almost seems that every third warrior “leans that way,” with at least half the rest precariously susceptible to feeling the same, or fearing that they might start feeling the same, at any moment. There doesn’t appear to be notable scorn for the practice, but veterans like Captain Hijikata (Takeshi Kitano) worry that excessive fascination with a pretty boy like the new kid, Kano (Ryuhei Matsuda), can mess up morale and, er, take the edge off military preparedness.

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Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Kathleen Murphy, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Innocence

[Written for Reel.com]

Innocence, Paul Cox’s paean to the power of love opens on a boy and a girl biking down a country path, so magnetized by their young lust they must hold hands even as they ride. She’s blooming, dressed in richest blue and red; as they kiss hungrily on a bridge, she anchors her hand on a metal floodgate wheel. The camera lowers, to show that the stream’s current can’t be stemmed. It flows swiftly onward, its movement — echoed by the accelerating train that soon separates them — wiping away their youth. Forty years, two marriages, and several children later, Rose (Julia Blake) and Andreas (Charles Tingwell) reunite and find they’ve fallen in love a second time, not as old, fading folk but as continuations of the joyful boy and girl they once were. Cox visually makes an eternal Nowness for these four characters, mixing memory and present rediscovery, lovemaking in the woods and in a home filled with the accumulated treasures of a lifetime, ripe and fallen flesh.

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Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Les Destinées sentimentales

[Written for Mr. Showbiz]

Three hours long and a far cry from his ultramodern chronicles of disenchantment, Olivier Assayas’s Les Destinées sentimentales ranges from the winter of 1900 to springtime some thirty years later. In so doing, the film recalls a genre that was in vogue around the time its own story ends — during the Depression, when cine-sagas of families weathering the seasons and storms of history somehow reassured audiences that “we’ll get through this one too.”

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Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: U-571

[Written for Mr. Showbiz]

Jonathan Mostow made his feature-directing debut a couple of seasons ago with Breakdown, a tense road-movie-cum-chase-thriller that pitted motorist and husband Kurt Russell against a sinister good-old-boy trucker (the late J.T. Walsh) who had somehow kidnapped Russell’s wife in broad daylight and the wide open spaces of the desert Southwest. The picture became a sleeper hit, and industry and fans alike marked Mostow as somebody to watch. U-571 won’t undo his career — it bids to be another palm-sweater, and technically delivers often enough to keep the popcorn crowd in their seats. But this movie seems to have no reason for existing except as an answer to the rhetorical question: “Do you think somebody nowadays could make an old-fashioned, straight-ahead submarine flick like the ones they did during World War II?” Mostow must have said, “Why not?” whereas many would have ended their riposte one word sooner.

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Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Bruce Reid, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Dream of Light

[Written for The Stranger]

In 1973, the Spanish filmmaker Victor Erice announced himself as a major director with one of the great debuts in cinema, Spirit of the Beehive, a stunningly assured and poetic evocation of the fantasy of childhood, as well as a beautiful salute to James Whale’s Frankenstein. It took a decade for Erice’s second film, El Sur, to arrive; and his third, Dream of Light, didn’t come along until 1992. (To add to the frustration, Dream of Light languished for eight years without achieving distribution in the U.S., despite rapturous reports from every festival it played.) What qualities of patience, methodical self-confidence, and even-tempered humility must one possess to release only three films in as many decades without growing bitter or cynical about moviemaking? Precisely the same required to make a riveting, engrossing film about a man trying to paint a quince tree in his back yard.

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