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

2000 Eyes: Film Noir (aka Koroshi)

[Written for Mr. Showbiz]

Given world enough and time, Jim Thompson the pulp Camus (The Getaway, After Dark My Sweet) would have got round to writing about a poor Thompsonian schlub in Hokkaido, in the snowy north of Japan. Meanwhile, the protagonist of Masahiro Kobayashi’s Film Noir will do. He lost his job a while ago but, instead of admitting it to his wife, has been leaving their nifty A-frame every morning and pretending to drive off to work. Real destination: a mini–Las Vegas at a nearby mall, where he sits all day playing pachinko and hoping to win enough to keep them afloat. One day the place is unexpectedly closed. As our hero sits in his car trying to decide what else to do with his life, a spooky loner appears out of nowhere and makes him an offer. Why not turn hitman? Here’s a guy’s picture, here’s a gun, here’s even a set of instructional videos to get you started….

Read More “2000 Eyes: Film Noir (aka Koroshi)”
Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Time Code

[Written for Mr. Showbiz]

Some movies become milestones on the basis of quality; others, for being where they are when they are. Mike Figgis’s Time Code is assured of qualifying in the second category. As for the former, the outlook is dubious, but let’s be generous and say that time will tell.

Read More “2000 Eyes: Time Code”
Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Nurse Betty

[Written for Mr. Showbiz]

Neil LaBute didn’t write his latest feature film (John C. Richards and James Flamberg did), and when we consider how tunnel-visioned were In the Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors, that immediately seems a healthy and liberating thing. And so it is. But the longer one watches Nurse Betty, the more the picture seems like essential LaBute — a study in obsessiveness and solipsism, but newly informed with a nutty generosity and an openness to the possibility of other points of view in the world.

Read More “2000 Eyes: Nurse Betty”
Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Dancer in the Dark

[Written for Mr. Showbiz]

The great pleasure of Cannes is having no idea what you’re going to see, and knowing that you’re about to be one of the first in the world to see it. When the picture turns out to be absolutely extraordinary — a stylistically exhilarating vision that also sweeps up the entire 2,400-strong audience in the Salle Lumière in its emotional embrace — one’s first impulse is to wish the same experience for audiences around the world. In short, you don’t want to tell anybody about it, don’t want to foreclose their pleasure of discovery in any way. You just want to say, “When you have the chance, go!”

Read More “2000 Eyes: Dancer in the Dark”
Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Richard T. Jameson

2000 Eyes: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

[Written for Mr. Showbiz]

The first weekend of the 53rd Cannes Film Festival couldn’t have dawned more auspiciously. The Coen brothers are back with their first movie of the millennium and it’s a doozy. Taking their title from a maudlin catchphrase of the Great Depression—and from the mock-allegory with which Preston Sturges’s 1942 classic Sullivan’s Travels began—they’ve come up (again) with a complete original: a hilarious lowbrow comedy that only highbrows could have made, filled with an exultant sense of how big and startling and beautiful the pleasures of movies can be.

Read More “2000 Eyes: O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

Posted in: Actors, by Richard T. Jameson, Contributors, Obituary / Remembrance

Brian Dennehy

As you’ve probably heard by now, Brian Dennehy recently passed away, age 81. I always liked him. Here’s a 1996 cinebio no one got to read (no mention of his Broadway triumph as Willie Loman, just around the corner), and I hope not far away you’ll find a 1985 Film Comment piece I wrote about Silverado. I won’t pretend it’s about Brian Dennehy, but in it as in the movie, he looms large. —RTJ

Brian Dennehy

Birth:  July 9, 1939; Bridgeport, Connecticut
Education:  Columbia and Yale

Bearlike, silver-haired actor whose grin may betoken shrewdness, affability, or menace, Brian Dennehy shaped up as one of the premier character actors of the 1980s. In the Marines, he was the radio voice of Dear America from Vietnam in 1965–66, after which he returned to postgraduate study, odd jobs, and then roles Off- and on Broadway; his big break came with David Rabe’s barrack-room drama Streamers. Making his film debut as a dumb, inadvertently dangerous footballer in Semi-Tough (1977), he worked steadily in films and television—perhaps most impressively, in Michael Mann’s TV-movie The Jericho Mile (1979) and as Don the Mazatlán bartender who listens so well to Dudley Moore in Blake Edwards’s ‘10’ (1979). And he really should have had a 1985 supporting actor Oscar for either Walter, the leader of the benign extraterrestrials in Cocoon, or Cobb, the amiable villain who just about steals Silverado from an all-star cast. He wasn’t even nominated, and starring roles in The Check Is in the Mail (1985), F/X (1986), and The Last of the Finest (1990) got him nowhere. Peter Greenaway tapped him for the blustering lead of his art film The Belly of an Architect (1987), which brought Dennehy a Chicago Film Festival award as best actor. But Dennehy is a cagey pro and he knew in his belly where his best chance lay: in television, where he has reigned as king of the TV-movie and miniseries since 1990. His performance in 1993’s Foreign Affairs, opposite Joanne Woodward, won him a Cable ACE award.

Posted in: by Richard T. Jameson, Contributors, Film Reviews, Westerns

Silverado

This is the uncut version of a piece I wrote for the September 1985 Film Comment. Richard Corliss didn’t normally cut my stuff, but as usual I had written late and long, and at the last minute he needed to cede some space to the ads. —RTJ

I said I liked Silverado and the editor said mostly he didn’t. I said it had given me a grand time; he grumbled something about structural problems. I allowed as how it bordered on the miraculous that some wised-up, thoroughly contemporary filmmakers had managed to rediscover the pleasures of the pure Western without parodying, tarting up, or otherwise condescending to the genre. He said he only liked Westerns that transcended the genre, and as far as he was concerned the genre needed all the transcending it could get. I said, “I like Westerns. I grew up with Westerns!” He chuckled, pleasantly: “Ken Maynard?” “Among others.” That put the discussion on hold for about two weeks.

Well, I did grow up with Westerns — Jack Randall and Hopalong Cassidy on Saturday-afternoon TV, occasional Technicolor excursions with Audie Murphy, Alan Ladd, Jimmy Stewart at the moviehouse. Something other than nostalgia accounts for my continuing fondness for those youthful experiences. Some of those Westerns would turn out years later to be films de Anthony Mann or “the George Stevens classic, Shane“; others would recede in the memory as simply movies with Audie Murphy or Jack Randall in them. Cumulatively, all left their mark. In some fundamental ways, my pleasure in the ultrastylized look, movements, and behaviors of Westerns shaped my sense of what movies at large ought to be, what sorts of texture, ritual, and discovery we should require of them.

Read More “Silverado”

Posted in: by Richard T. Jameson, Contributors, Film Reviews

Trouble in Mind

[originally published in The Weekly, March 26, 1986]

“When I wrote the script it was never as exotic. It was more a straightforward kind of movie. Which it still is. It just takes longer to get straight.”

That’s Alan Rudolph talking about his movie Trouble in Mind, which he wrote “with Seattle in mind” and shot here a year ago this month. How well you take to its exoticism and how patiently you wait for the straightforwardness to assert itself will depend on your tolerance of, or enthusiasm for, Rudolph’s highly stylized brand of filmmaking. I happen to consider him one of the most dynamic, and certainly most distinctive, of modern American filmmakers, and find that his latest feature combines the haunt and vibrancy of Choose Me with the fleetness and wit of Songwriter. That opinion may be disputed. What no one will dispute is that Trouble in Mind makes more exciting use of Seattle as a movie location than any other film ever shot here.

Read More “Trouble in Mind”
Posted in: by Richard T. Jameson, Contributors, lists

Moments Out of Time 2019

Images, lines, gestures, moods from the year’s films

* Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), on the roof to repair Rick’s TV antenna, leans into the California sun and the music Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is playing in the nearby house. Once upon a Time…in Hollywood
* “Now is not the time to not say.” Angelo Bruno (Harvey Keitel) to Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), The Irishman
* Joker: Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) meets gaze of clown in passing taxicab….
* Marriage Story: the Invisible Man watching a horror movie on TV…
* Richard Jewell: “Why did Tom Brokaw say that about you?” Bobi Jewell (Kathy Bates) to person-of-interest son (Paul Walter Hauser)…
* It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Minute of silence in Chinese restaurant; Mister Rogers (Tom Hanks) looking us in the eye…

Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers in It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Read More “Moments Out of Time 2019”

Posted in: by David Coursen, by Richard T. Jameson, by Robert C. Cumbow, by Robert Horton, by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, lists

Parallax View's Best of 2019

Welcome 2020 with one last look back at the best releases of 2019, as seen by the Parallax View contributors and friends.

(In reverse alphabetical order by contributor)

Richard T. Jameson 

1. Once upon a Time … in Hollywood
2. The Irishman
3. Marriage Story
4. Little Women
5. Midsommar
6. Richard Jewell
7. A Hidden Life
8. Transit
9. Atlantics
10. Pain and Glory / Parasite

A few steps behind, in alphabetical order:
1917, The Art of Self-Defense, The Dead Don’t Die, Dragged Across Concrete, It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Joker, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, The Lighthouse, The Nightingale, The Souvenir, Uncut Gems

Read More “Parallax View's Best of 2019”