Alan Rudolph

Alan Rudolph

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Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle Review


Good
Alan Rudolph's loving portrayal of Dorothy Parker (a spot-on yet frequently incomprehensible Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a film for historians and literary fans alike, with a cast featuring more art-house favorites than any other movie in recent memory (just look at the cast list!). The film drips into treacle with its treatment of the love triangle among Parker, her husband (Matthew Broderick), and Robert Benchley (Campbell Scott). It's the primary focus of the movie but also its weakest link. The film is at its heights when the ensemble is in full force as Parker plies her wit around the Algonquin Round Table and various social affairs (all during the age of Prohibition). Leigh was snubbed on an Oscar nomination here despite a strong performance in a very weak year (Jessica Lange won for the tepid Blue Sky).

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession Review


Good
Z Channel was one of the first pay cable stations ever. It's "magnificent obsession" was movies, as Z Channel became known for being the definitive place to go for those obsessed with film -- snobs, cineastes, and plain old cinema junkies.

And then its programming chief killed his wife and himself.

Continue reading: Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession Review

Afterglow Review


OK
It's hard to keep up with writer-director Alan Rudolph. He's put out almost a movie a year for the past 25 years without shortchanging his personal style and vision, and he keeps getting great casts along with production money from Robert Altman. Yet, he barely registers at the box office, so his movies get limited distribution and short theatrical runs. To see an Alan Rudolph movie you have to go find one.

Rudolph makes movies about characters living out their fates in ways we often understand and see in ourselves. And though his characters come off as real, his movies seem contrived, sliding between the edges of sweet and biting, while running off on tangents that both intrigue and bore. All at the same time. It's a disorientation he relishes: his view of life and how people really behave. With movies like Choose Me, Trixie, Investigating Sex, and The Secret Lives of Dentists, Rudolph's career is a living, breathing embodiment of quixotic variability.

Continue reading: Afterglow Review

Breakfast Of Champions Review


Terrible
The word "unfilmable" is often bandied about over cult classic books. That never stops people from filming them.

Witness The English Patient, which turned out to be filmable after all. And then there was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which wasn't. But maybe unfilmable is the wrong word. Breakfast of Champions might have proved filmable, but it sure isn't watchable.

Continue reading: Breakfast Of Champions Review

Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle Review


Good
Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle stars Jennifer Jason Leigh as the infamous Dorothy Parker, in what I feel to be the best performance by an actress in 1994. Leigh is surrounded by some great supporting players also, and their exploits in prohibition-era New York are both interesting and entertaining. Although the story occasionally wanders into irrelevance and obscurity, it is ultimately a solid piece of work.

Trixie Review


Weak
It's a damn shame when a bad movie happens to a great actor. It's even worse when you try to enjoy their performance in the film while being distracted by a terrible wasteland of a script. Such is the sad case of Alan Rudolph's latest "screwball noir" farce, Trixie, a misguided attempt at expanding the noir genre by giving it a comedic twist.

Everything seemed to be in place to make a good film out of Trixie, starting with a great cast of Nick Nolte, Will Patton, Dermot Mulrooney, newcomer Brittany Murphy, Nathan Lane, and the wonderfully versatile actress Emily Watson. The story follows a misunderstood girl named Trixie, who has an annoying habit of mixing up her metaphors - with such memorable lines as "life is no bed of gravy" and "it's like looking through a needle for a haystack." Trixie holds dead-end jobs as a security guard for low-rent department stores but yearns for something better in her life. Don't we all. Eventually she takes a job at a casino resort as an undercover cop and gets involved in a tangled mess of a political sex scandal/murder mystery. Don't you just hate when that happens?!

Continue reading: Trixie Review

Alan Rudolph

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