Jay Cocks

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De-Lovely Review


Good
In a darkened room an elderly man sits at a piano. He's barely outlined by light from a window, his face obscured in shadow. Then, a light fades up, spotlighting him, followed by light everywhere. Thus starts De-Lovely and its style of self-aware artificiality. It purports to be the life of composer Cole Porter (Kevin Kline) but there's little more here than a grand retrospective of his ingenious touch with a pop song and an attempt at scandalizing his personal, bisexual life.

Like a symphony that's incomplete because all the notes aren't available, what I didn't get out of this is a three-dimensional portrait of the subject. The show, structured as a dead or dying man's vision of his life played out like a movie and stage production, is loaded with talent and a detailed recreation of his period. The portrayal of the swank, rich life is as festive to behold as it is off-putting. The world in which Porter whirls and commands with assured, inevitable success is an alien one. Rather than feel a part of it, we are there to revel in the entertainment.

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Strange Days Review


OK
I've never really given much thought to what the turn of the millennium is going to bring. Will it be a new beginning for society and the world? Or will it bring on the apocalypse foretold by Revelations?

Strange Days continuously plays these two possibilities off of each other, and in L.A., on December 31, 1999, it seems either one is equally likely. Ralph Fiennes plays Lenny Nero, a bottom-feeder ex-cop who peddles "clips," full-sensory pieces of memory from real people's lives. These clips are played on "the wire," a device which delivers experiences directly into the brain. The very illegal wire is also the source of a whole slew of problems, including the murder of one Jeriko One, a very influential rap star, and the subsequent stalking of Faith (Juliette Lewis), Nero's ex-girlfriend, for whom he still pines.

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Gangs of New York Review


Extraordinary
Because Martin Scorsese's blood runs Big Apple red, it's a remarkable coincidence his first project following September 11 is Gangs of New York, a magnificent drama that seems to spring directly from the panic, violence, pain, and fear the terrorist attacks wrought on the director's hometown. In the wake of 9/11, the master of Mean Streets was almost expected to weigh in and help close the door on our national tragedy.

Over the course of his career, Scorsese has proven he fully understands the tension that once fuelled - and continues to fuel - this powder keg of a city. With Gangs, he rewinds the clocks to present a vicious social and political history lesson that retraces New York's early steps in an effort to better understand the many ingredients of the current Melting Pot.

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The Age of Innocence Review


OK
Little Marty Scorsese, directing a period piece? Well, it is set in New York. Only it's the late 1800s and everyone is in frilly dresses and smokes cigars. Daniel Day-Lewis takes center stage as a high-society type engaged to Ryder but entranced by her cousin Pfeiffer. How to choose between two very different girls? Ah, such is the dilemma of life. Very pretty, very long, very cold, and very tidy.
Jay Cocks

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