October 15, 2005

Recently seen and briefly noted 3

Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)

I can see why this is considered a revisionist take on film noir, but that seems incorrect. Film noir was not a particularly sunny genre and thus did not need to be "revised." (Also, and this may be splitting hairs, I think the prewar setting is significant.) What this really is a projection of the 70s paranoia film (like the same year's The Parallax View) backward in time. Even nostalgia for past Hollywood was not going to be a way out. Finally, yes, this is one perfect movie.

Wedding Crashers (David Dobkin, 2005)
***1/4 to ***1/2

I disagree with those who think that Owen Wilson's comeuppance and maturation in the second half of the movie does violence to the sex comedy of the first half of the movie. (The scene in which Owen is asked whether he is full of shit or just half-full is key.) I laughed my ass off all the way through, and I was not thrown off, but rather pleasantly astonished, by the funeral scene. (I don't know why, but the thought that has stuck with me is that in 70 years time, if classic movie conventions like Cinecon and Cinevent still exist, this would be a big hit there. "You know, that was the first real pairing of
Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.")


At 10:49 AM, Blogger Zach Campbell said...

Very perceptive comment about Chinatown, Erik.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Don Marks said...

The thought of a bunch of near-senior citizens reminiscing about those unremembered raunchy sex comedies of yesteryear at future Cinevents tickles me greatly. Of course, by the standards of the future, Wedding Crashers and the like may well seem quaint and old-fashioned.

At 7:42 PM, Blogger msic said...

Hmm, I would contend that Chinatown revises certain aspects of noir. Jake the detective assumes that the femme fatale and the sneaky ethnic others are the ones harboring the secrets. In fact, it's the white male power structure. He can't see this until it's too late, and plays right into it. So that's a notable variation on certain tropes of the classic noir.

Good to see you posting again.


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