Daily Archives: May 3, 2020

The Saint of Fort Washington

From the Chicago Reader (January 7, 1994). — J.R.

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It would appear that many of my colleagues have been trashing this powerful and moving look at friendship among the homeless in New York — directed by Tim Hunter (River’s Edge) from a script by Lyle Kessler (Orphans) and starring Danny Glover and Matt Dillon at their rare best — simply because of its subject matter and authenticity; apparently, contemporary man-made tragedies are inappropriate topics for the big screen, unlike ghosts, dinosaurs, mythical serial killers, and former holocausts. But if epic grandeur is what you’re looking for, this movie gives you glimpses of the Fort Washington Armory, which currently shelters 700 people nightly, that recall the famous shot of the Confederate wounded in Gone With the Wind, and if noir finality is your meat, this movie tells you things about New York’s potter’s field that easily might have found their way into Pickup on South Street. This isn’t a perfect movie, and it may occasionally err on the side of Dickensian sentiment, but I it has so much to say about the world we live in and says it with such grace, wit, and raw feeling that I recommend it without qualification.… Read more »

The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion

From the Chicago Reader (September 1, 2001). — J.R.

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As a rule, my favorite Woody Allen films are those select few that (a) warmly acknowledge Allen’s working-class roots, (b) steer clear of European influences, and (c) seek mainly to entertain. Manhattan Murder Mystery did the latter two wonderfully, and Broadway Danny Rose did all three, as does this charming throwaway, set in 1940. One thing I especially like about it, apart from the flavorsome 40s decor in color, is that it’s silly in much the same way that many small 40s comedies were. Allen is an insurance investigator and Helen Hunt an efficiency expert working for the same company; they hate each other with a passion — until they’re hypnotized during a nightclub act into not only loving each other madly but also stealing jewels whenever posthypnotic suggestions are delivered. Others in the cast include Dan Aykroyd, Elizabeth Berkley, Brian Markinson, Wallace Shawn, David Ogden Stiers, and Charlize Theron. 104 min. (JR)

The-Curse-of-the-Jade-Scorpion-charlize-theron-1691502-1024-768Read more »