Posted in: by Robert Horton, Contributors, Film Reviews

Review: You’ve Got Mail

[Originally written for in 1998]

Set the wayback machine to 1998. Parallax View presents reviews of films released 20 years ago, written by our contributors for various papers and websites. Most of these have not been available for years.

I saw You’ve Got Mail in a spanking-new multiplex located in a spanking-new downtown development, a place with an atrium and coffeeshop and Tiffany’s and J. Peterman. It’s the kind of gleaming, upscale mall that drove out (or will drive out) all the little shops and longtime dives that used to define the downtown of a city. It doesn’t really matter what city I’m talking about, because the downtown of my city could now be the downtown of AnyCity, blessed as it is with Planet Hollywood and Old Navy and a Starbucks on every corner.

The new development also has a Barnes & Noble at ground level. Well, gee, how ironic. You’ve Got Mail is about the owner of Barnes & Noble – er, “Fox Books” – opening a new megastore on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) is untroubled by the fact that his new store will drive the little booksellers out of business, including The Shop Around the Corner, a funky children’s book nook. It’s owned by Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan), who declares war on Fox and his heartless methods.

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Posted in: by Robert Horton, Contributors

Film Review: ‘Ned Rifle’

Aubrey Plaza

It arrives with something less than the heated expectations of, say, the Avengers sequel, but Ned Rifle is nevertheless the climax of a movie trilogy. You have to be a follower of the career of longtime indie hero Hal Hartley to really appreciate this closure, but apparently there are enough fans out there to have crowd-funded the budget for this typically modest finale. Hartley got on the map with The Unbelievable Truth and Trust, tiny-scaled films with dialogue written as 1930s screwball patter but underplayed by a hip, pokerfaced ensemble. The writer/director’s visibility waned after an epic-scaled character study, Henry Fool (1997), the movie that inspired the scattered sequel Fay Grim (2006) and now Ned Rifle.

Continue reading at Seattle Weekly