Monthly Archives: July 2002

Muri Romani

Jon Jost’s gorgeous, mesmerizing digital video consists of very slow overlapping dissolves between various exterior walls in Rome. Since the festival screening I saw in 2000, Jost has increased the length (to 80 minutes) and added an ambient sound track, but even the earlier version proved that Jost had finally made his painterly experiments in DV as rich as his films: despite what might seem a minimalist palette and framework, the gradual transformations of one wall into another are mysterious and all-enveloping. (JR) Read more

Bad Company

This interesting and effective spy thriller (1995), directed by Damian Harris from a script by mystery novelist Ross Thomas, starts out as an upscale Deep Cover: industrial espionage financed by big business takes the place of police undercover work in drugs, and Laurence Fishburne again ably plays a sort of double agent. But this film confounds most of the usual expectations. Though the atmosphere is predictably cynical, not all the characters are quite as cynical as they first appear. It might be argued that the personal stories ultimately overwhelm the political message (a common occurrence in Hollywood thrillers of this kind, excepting Deep Cover), but the overall theme of former CIA operatives going to work for big business is both plausible and eerily suggestive (as is the bunkerlike building where they work). Ellen Barkin is first-rate as Fishburne’s coworker and lover, and the secondary castincluding Frank Langella, Michael Beach, Gia Carides, David Ogden Stiers, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Spalding Gray, and an uncredited Michael Murphyadds flavor and piquancy. (JR) Read more