Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
The Black Dahlia
Inspired by the most notorious unsolved murder in California history.
Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart) and Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett) are former boxers-turned-cops in 1940's Los Angeles. When aspiring young actress Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner) turns up dead, Blanchard and Bleichert must grapple with corruption, narcissism, stag films, and family madness as they pursue the killer.
Golden hues turn flat-out angelic when they light up Johansson, though they also project a shadow behind her that looks like the outline of those too close to ground zero of a nuclear strike. The son of a Kraut immigrant knows before his superior officers come to him to fix an exhibition match that he has to use to his all-American partner and friend. That same man feels an empathy for the people of color terrorized by a local killer, but the partner quickly transfers the pair of them to follow up on this mysteriously and gruesomely mangled white girl. The partner has an obsessive need to rescue or avenge women, but he views them as damaged goods afterward; his…
It is something of an achievement that De Palma managed to make such a dull film out of such sensationalist material, but that is the sad truth about the film. It looks gorgeous and rightly deserved its Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography. Even the performances aren’t bad, with Hartnett, Eckhart and Johansson all looking right at home in the 40s film noir environment. However, a combination of the slow pacing, subdued tone and lack of much real action or drama make for an incredibly dull viewing experience.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I can appreciate what De Palma tried to do here, and I think when the movie stays on the central thematic story of the Dahlia (which is where it's mostly focused on being a mystery/thriller) is when it's mostly compelling. However, much of the B-story involving Aaron Eckhart's shady dealings (which were more on the noir side than the thriller side) were both convoluted and uninteresting in the context of the film. These parts would be, I'm fairly certain, quite interesting and manageable in the context of a novel, but are overall clunky momentum-killers when applied to cinema. Which is a shame because Eckhart's performance is clearly the best of the 4 main characters, where Johansson does a lot of…
I'm so glad I had read the novel a few months before I saw this.
Brian de Palma's film follows James Ellroy's labyrinthine but logical plot very closely, but it feels likes a much longer and clearer film was butchered like poor Elizabeth Short.
Even Josh Hartnett's world-wearily laconic Bladerunner-esque voiceover doesn't lend any clarity. In fact, I just wanted to give him a Strepsil and a hot toddy. One just about can get a vague measure of what is going on, but there are too many jumps of logic to get a clear bead on characters' motivations and the more subtle plot developments. For instance, there isn't any gradual slide of Aaron Eckhart's Lee Blanchard into his obsession with…
What the hell?! I don't get you, Brian De Palma. How do you keep producing tosh and, just when people are about to give up on you, you produce genius films? I mean, this is the guy who did the first 'Mission: Impossible' (that I still think is the best), 'Snake Eyes', 'Scarface', 'The Untouchables', etc.) and still produce shlock like this, 'Mission To Mars' and 'Bonfire Of The Vanities'.
Everyone in this film is horribly miscast. You would think Scarlett would make a great saucy dame. And she is, until the seduction scene. She appears in a dressing gown, to show a bit of cleavage, and granny pants. I know its the '40s, but please, if she is not…
A farce of other more accessible noirs, but it's just not very well made - excessively fragmented, incoherent, and seriously miscast - and there are few of the De Palma flourishes that make up for the nonsense. Central catalyst - Elizabeth Short - doesn't appear until the hour mark.
This really had the potential to be great but ended up being a huge mess instead. One star for the cinematography and Mia Kirshner's performance.
A really overblown and obfuscated Zodiac. It’s a good looking movie and some of the performances are good, but Brian De Palma just seems lost.
Brian De Palma's noir thriller based on James Ellroy's fictional novel which was inspired by the true events of the murder of Elizabeth Short is a complex affair, sometimes it feels a bit too complex for its own good and with maybe one twist too many. Great performances all round though particularly from the main leads Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank and Mia Kirshner.
Having enjoyed LA Confidential (also written by Ellroy) I had high hopes for the Black Dahlia but even with the excellent performances from the cast and De Palma's direction it failed to grab my attention as I expected it to, its a good film, maybe a tad too long and as I said a twist too many but its worth a watch
The art direction is fantastic in the way that it recreates idyllic late-40's America, but everything else about this film is just off, from the heavily contrived dialogue to the stilted acting.
I HATED this movie when I saw it in high school in theaters. I was curious to see my reaction to it now. VERY DIFFERENT. I didn't love it but no more HATE. I just didn't know what was going on till the very end. Pretty much you can't trust anyone, especially your partner. I was also hoping to see more of a SAVAGES love triangle.
I loved this film on my first watch. This time not so much. Neo-noir flicks are great but this was just beige the second time around. Can see that this film/book heavily influenced the game, LA Noire. Practically every side story appeared in that game.
The story is based on the real life unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short.
Madeleine Linscott: Get the picture?
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Technicolor.
The worst movie I've had the misfortune to see this year. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, about this movie is right. The "plot", following James Ellroy's novel, is a grab bag of things that don't make sense; the facts about the case are completely neglected; we do not learn a single thing about the case that we didn't already know; the casting is worthless, especially on the part of Hartnett who is just ridiculously bad and miscast, and Hillary Swank who shouldn't have been in that role; the acting from all parties involved is below all standards; the sporadic voice overs don't work because Hartnett's voice is not suited for them; the art direction is such that everything looks just a little too authentic, i.e., fake; the music is completely uninspiring; etc. etc. etc.
What a complete waste.
The film was genuine trash. No, you know what? Calling this film trash is insulting to trash. The film is visually interesting, like most of De Palma’s films, but the film takes away all the mystique and interest out of such an interesting story by unnecessarily overcomplicating the narrative.
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Even the best directors have their off days.
What films am I missing?