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items tagged with L.A. Confidential

A Lighter Shade of Noir: “The Black Dahlia,” “Gridiron Gang,” “The Last Kiss,” and “The Protector”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-09-20 04:34:58

Aaron Eckhart and Josh Hartnett in The Black DahliaTHE BLACK DAHLIA

The opening sequence of Brian De Palma's L.A. noir The Black Dahlia is so busily choreographed that, at first, you think it has to be some sort of put-on. A melee involving a street full of cops and sailors in downtown Los Angeles circa 1946, the balletic, slow-motion punching and flailing is orchestrated within an inch of its life; nothing about it seems real, but it's so dazzlingly executed that you hardly care. But with Josh Hartnett's ersatz tough-guy narration droning away, it quickly becomes clear that the scene isn't meant to be funny. It isn't comedy that De Palma's going after here but stylization, and as The Black Dahlia progresses, it's obvious that the director doesn't have the cast or screenwriter required to give his baroque touches a context. A few nastily enjoyable moments aside, the film is dour, dull, and confusing, enlivened only by a few zesty supporting portrayals and whatever directorial wit De Palma can bring to it.


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Acting Trumps Presentation, and Here’s the "Proof": Also, "In Her Shoes," "The Greatest Game Ever Played," and "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-10-12 00:00:00

Gwyneth Paltrow and Jake Gyllenhaal in ProofPROOF

Most cinephiles detest filmed versions of plays, with their awkward exposition, stagy dialogue, and functional, assembly-line characters who serve their purpose within the author’s conceit and exit just in time for another character to show up and do the same; oftentimes, you can all but see the proscenium arch hovering overhead.


Read More About Acting Trumps Presentation, And Here’S The "Proof": Also, "In Her Shoes," "The Greatest Game Ever Played," And "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit"...


"Matchstick Men" Feels Like a Con: Also, "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," "Owning Mahowny," and "The Order"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-09-17 00:00:00

Nicolas Cage and Alison Lohman in Matchstick MenMATCHSTICK MEN

Ostensibly, Ridley Scott’s dramatic comedy Matchstick Men deals with Roy (Nicolas Cage), a professional con artist, connecting with Angela (Alison Lohman), the 14-year-old daughter he never knew he had, and trying to better himself as a father figure.


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Newly Arrived Oscar Nominees Unmissable: "Far from Heaven," "The Pianist," "Dark Blue," and "Gods & Generals"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-03-05 00:00:00

Julianne Moore and Dennis Haysbert in Far from HeavenFAR FROM HEAVEN and THE PIANIST

While huge movie markets such as New York and L.A. had to content themselves with only one major new release this past weekend – Cradle 2 the Grave, featuring the long-awaited pairing of Jet Li and Tom Arnold – we’re being treated to the area debuts of Far from Heaven and The Pianist, two of 2002’s greatest achievements and the recipients of 11 Oscar nominations between them. Both movies are so good that it’s almost churlish to recommend one over the over – by all means see both – but if pressed, I gotta give the edge to Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven, which is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.


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Forget "The Mummy Returns"; "Memento" Spellbinds
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2001-05-16 00:00:00

Guy Pearce and Carrie-Anne Moss in MementoMEMENTO

It has taken quite a while, and an especially long while here in the Quad Cities, but the first unequivocally great movie of 2001 has finally appeared: writer-director Christopher Nolan’s crime thriller Memento. And its greatness is of a very particular kind – you want all of your friends to see it immediately, so you can share your excitement with them and work out passages of the film that you’re almost sure you understood. (Getting to review works like Memento is the absolute best thing about being a published film critic.) Like The Truman Show, Memento is so clever, so smart, so full-to-brimming with detail and wit and filmmaking passion that it feels miraculous, and within its genre, it just might be a new classic.


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