Showing posts with label Diane Ladd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diane Ladd. Show all posts

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Loosely based around the California water wars, Roman Polanski’s final American film stars Jack Nicholson as Private Investigator Jake Gittes. Gittes is hired by a woman claiming to be the wife of the chief engineer of Los Angeles Water and Power as she believes her husband is having an affair. Gittes uncovers the alleged affair which opens up a twisting tale of deception, double crossing, profiteering and murder. Often sited as one of the greatest Neo-Noir and mystery films of all time, it helped to cement Jack Nicholson’s status as an A List star and nearly forty years on still has a timeless feel and wonderfully layered curiosity about it.

Although I thought Chinatown was an excellent film I found myself zoning in and out of it as I watched. I don’t know why though as there is very little I didn’t like and I think this says more about my frame of mind at the time than the film itself. Despite my concentration waning, I noted several wonderful things about Polanski’s classic Noir gem.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

"Is it sexy?"
"Sexy for Phoenix.."

Martin Scorsese’s forth picture and the forth in my Scorsese in Sequence series is Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Alice Hyatt (Ellen Burstyn) is a ex lounge singer turned housewife who lives with her pre teen son Tommy (Alfred Lutter) and her emotionally cold and distant husband Donald (Billy Green Bush). After Donald is killed while driving his truck Alice takes the opportunity to travel through the South Western States of America in search of work as a singer in order to get to Monterey where she hopes to settle and rebuild her singing career.

This is Scorsese’s first film that is overtly comedic. While each of his three previous films had occasional funny moments, Aliceis the first Scorsese film that I’d describe as a drama-comedy. This doesn’t mean that it’s a laugh a minute popcorn film though. Like all of his funnier films (The King of Comedy, After Hours) there is still a strong dramatic thread to it and it can be sad and even distressing in places.

The film opens with an idealised view of Alice’s childhood in which she is stood outside a house, clutching a doll. This scene is quite surreal and feels like a homage to the Wizard of Oz. The set features obvious fake backdrops and what looks like a flimsy set house and is filmed with a deep red filter. Unlike Oz where Dorothy wants to escape Kansas it feels like Alice is looking back on her childhood wishing she could escape her adult life and return to that idealised red world.