Article: EVOLVING VERSIONS OF FILM NOIR EXPLORE TODAY’S UNEASY FEELINGS by Roger Ebert

I came across this article written by Roger Ebert in the mid 1990’s. It’s about how popular, noir films are today and how they have changed from the classic era. It looks at many of the great neo-noir films of the mid 1990’s and breaks them down into three different categories: Classic Noir, Deadpan Noir and Neo Noir. This is a great article and talks about some films I have not revisited in a long time, but really want to take another look at them now. What do you think of the three types of noir and do they still hold up today, 20 years later?

http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/evolving-versions-of-film-noir-explore-todays-uneasy-feelings

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A Guide to Film Noir Genre by Roger Ebert

I grew up watching Ebert give thumbs up and thumbs down to all the latest in film on network television in the middle of a Sunday afternoon or after the late show on a Friday night.  Roger Ebert, arguably maybe the most famous movie critic in history and maybe the most powerful as well. Before the internet, IMDb, Metascore, and Rotten Tomatoes there was Siskel and Ebert. In the age of video rental, most of us would find films we never heard of, but if the box said “Two Thumbs Up,” we knew we had a pretty good film in our hands.

I found this “Guide to Film Noir Genre” written by Ebert very entertaining. I don’t think this will shed any new light on film noir for most noir fans, but it is very entertaining with a few comments that will make you smile. This was written 20 years ago, but still holds true. It is a short read I think you will enjoy. Here is the link to the full article:

http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/a-guide-to-film-noir-genre

Review: Mulholland Falls

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Mulholland Falls has one of the greatest casts from the 90’s, and all neo-noir favorites.  We got Nick Nolte at the height of his cool, Melanie Griffith as the clueless wife, Jennifer Connelly who just looks like she was made to play the femme fatale in the 1950’s, Chazz Palminteri who fits in the 1950’s just as well as anybody, and what kind of neo-noir film made in the 1990’s would be complete without Michael Madsen.  The stars go on and on including John Malkovich playing the focus of our heroes investigation and Andrew McCarthy as the openly gay photographer that may have more on his film then he wanted. The story comes from Peter Dexter who has written some well received crime novels and has one the National Book Award.  This movie goes back to one of the greatest noir stomping grounds ever,1950’s Los Angles.  We get gangsters, a murder mystery, adult movies(back when they where highly illegal) and powerful men that think they can get away with anything. This movie definitely got it’s inspiration from the “Hat Squad,” a team of detectives that were given free rein to do what they needed to keep the Mafia out of L.A..  We see the “Hat Squad” again, in 2013’s Gangster Squad and TNT’s Mob City.  Maybe it was a little bit of a let down, with a cast like this we were expecting something similar to what we got the next year with L.A. Confidential(we will definitely be looking at this amazing film in a future post) but it’s not fair to compare these two films.  Roger Ebert gave it a 3.5 stars out of 4, so he saw this as a good film that could have been great.  This is a fun neo-noir to watch if you haven’t seen it yet or would like to give it another chance I would like to here your opinion.

Purple Noon

Purple Noon(Plein soleil) is a film that caught my eye because it is based on the Noir novel The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.

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 You may know this work from the adaption made in 1999 with Matt Damon (as Ripley), Jude Law (as Greenleaf), and Gwyneth Paltrow (as Marge).  This is a French Production and though in 1960 the classic Film-Noir style was still in favor, this is not one of them.  This is in color with lots of scenes on beautiful blue seas and fashionable city centers rather then dark alleys and grimy bars.   Of course this being based on the classic novel, the themes are very dark, with an early form of identity theft, a strange love triangle, a few murders and lots of con jobs.  This must have been a refreshing look at the classic crime thriller in 1960 when most films of this nature where still in black and white and had a dark tone, this movie didn’t hide in the shadows.  The crimes are committed under the noon sun to those of privilege and of means, but most of the characters are not like-able and you find yourself hoping Ripley gets out of this OK.  I have yet to read the source novel(again on my to read list) but after looking at some of the history of this film both the author Patricia Highsmith and the film critic Roger Ebert did not like the ending.  I will not go into details about the ending(no spoilers if possible on this site) but would love to hear from those that have read the book and seen this film on what they think.Film_637w_PurpleNoon_original 

This film has a current rating of 7.8 on IMDb and 100% on Rotten Tomatoes so it is well liked by those that have seen it.  This is also the first appearance from the character Tom Ripley in the movies, I’m sure we will be looking at some of the other films he appears in on this site.