Night Moves

Gene Hackman as Harry

Arthur Penn’s 1975 movie Night Moves sits snugly alongside two other films made about the same time – Polanski’s Chinatown (which went into production in the same month in 1973) and Altman’s The Long Goodbye, which had opened earlier that year. All three are neo-noirs recalling the era of Raymond Chandler, Sam Spade and Humphrey Bogart. All are set in the 1970s, but only sort of. Of the bunch only Chinatown was a proper box office and critical hit, and even then some critics were a bit sniffy (the New York Times didn’t go a bundle). Since then, The Long Goodbye has been rerated upwards to join Chinatown in the pantheon, and now … Read more

Pretty Persuasion

Elisabeth Harnois and Evan Rachel Wood in Pretty Persuasion

Kimberly (Evan Rachel Wood) is a spiteful young wannabe actress and fulltime minx who accuses her teacher (Ron Livingston) of sexual harassment… partly for fun, partly to get some acting practice in, mostly for spite. And before you know it there’s a TV news crew camped out on the door, with an overeager reporter (Jane Krakowski) visibly almost aroused as she recounts the allegations. Pretty Persuasion would be a better film if it were a straighter film, or if it had gone all out for dark funnies. But there’s some real gold in this otherwise overstrained satire scraping the crud from the underside of the Bel Air idyll. Wood is remarkable as Kimberly, … Read more