William Kennedy

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Eironweed Review


Excellent
Ironweed, based on the novel by William Kennedy (who is also credited with the script) tales the tale of Francis Phelan. Francis (Jack Nicholson) has a lot of problems. He's haunted by vivid hallucinations, constantly relives mistakes of the past, and is unable to find steady work. That sounds familiar, but Francis isn't a former Bush administration official, he's a former major league baseball player living in 1938 and a lot of his problems are brought on by his drinking (if his drinking is due to these problems is a subject up for debate). That's right, Francis is the stereotypical Depression-area drunk.

Since it stars a stereotypical Depression-era drunk you'd be tempted to think that the movie is a stereotypical treatment of the subject. Perhaps most directors would have played it that way, but Hector Babenco keeps things quite unusual. Instead of the familiar story most have come to expect from movies about prodigious amounts of alcohol ingestion: the fall, the bottom, then either redemption or death. There's none of the expected in Ironweed, no fall because we never see Francis when things were good, no bottom because he's already there, and redemption? Well that's a topic left to the viewer's imagination.

Continue reading: Eironweed Review

Ironweed Review


Excellent
Ironweed, based on the novel by William Kennedy (who is also credited with the script) tales the tale of Francis Phelan. Francis (Jack Nicholson) has a lot of problems. He's haunted by vivid hallucinations, constantly relives mistakes of the past, and is unable to find steady work. That sounds familiar, but Francis isn't a former Bush administration official, he's a former major league baseball player living in 1938 and a lot of his problems are brought on by his drinking (if his drinking is due to these problems is a subject up for debate). That's right, Francis is the stereotypical Depression-area drunk.

Since it stars a stereotypical Depression-era drunk you'd be tempted to think that the movie is a stereotypical treatment of the subject. Perhaps most directors would have played it that way, but Hector Babenco keeps things quite unusual. Instead of the familiar story most have come to expect from movies about prodigious amounts of alcohol ingestion: the fall, the bottom, then either redemption or death. There's none of the expected in Ironweed, no fall because we never see Francis when things were good, no bottom because he's already there, and redemption? Well that's a topic left to the viewer's imagination.

Continue reading: Ironweed Review

The Cotton Club Review


Good
Gangsters, tap dancers, and jazz musicians collide, in Francis Coppola's rather maligned tale of the famed Harlem jazz club during the Prohibition era.

Starring Richard Gere as a cornet player-cum-movie star (Gere even plays his own solos in the film) and Diane Lane as a kind of singer/hooker/kept woman, the film gets off to a wild start, throwing us into Coppola's archetypal world of violence and betrayal. Gere and Lane have an uneasy romance, the problem being they are low on the totem and the gangsters who control them wouldn't care for any such hanky-panky.

Continue reading: The Cotton Club Review

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