Daily Archives: July 8, 2021

A Prophet in His Own Country [Jon Jost retrospective]

From the Chicago Reader (May 8, 1992). — J.R.


Last week Jon Jost, a Chicago-born independent filmmaker, was having the first commercial run of his career — All the Vermeers in New York, his tenth feature, at the Music Box. Typically, he couldn’t be around for the event because he was busy shooting his 12th feature in Oregon.

The Music Box engagement launches a Jost retrospective that continues at Chicago Filmmakers on weekends for the remainder of this month. It’s the most exciting and important American retrospective to hit town since the Music Box’s John Cassavetes series last fall, though like that series it isn’t quite complete: only about half of Jost’s shorts — most made in the 60s and early 70s — are included, and two of his features, Bell Diamond (1985) and Sure Fire (1990), are omitted. (Sure Fire may open here in the fall if enough people go to see All the Vermeers in New York.) Still, it’s the most comprehensive show of Jost’s work that’s ever come to Chicago, and it offers a great chance to catch up with a singular career that has been more subterranean than most, even among American independents.… Read more »

Ashes Of Time

From the March 1, 1995 Chicago Reader. — J.R.

This is my kind of kung fu film — written and directed by the most original stylist of the Hong Kong new wave, Wong Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love), with action so fleetly and oddly edited you may not be sure what you’ve seen. Even when it slows down, this strange adaptation of Jin Yong’s martial-arts novel The Eagle Shooting Heroes is still a riot of fancy moves and obscure intrigues, spurred on by Wong’s usual ruminations about memory and the past and shot with incandescent brilliance by Christopher Doyle, probably the best cinematographer of the Hong Kong new wave. Basically a western, with swords replacing guns and a camel or two thrown in to supplement the horses, this 1994 feature is mannerist genre filmmaking at its most delirious and mystical, suggesting at times a weird cross between Sergio Leone and Josef von Sternberg. With Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung, Brigitte Lin, and Maggie Cheung. In Cantonese with subtitles. 100 min. (JR)

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Rock Bottom

From the June 10, 1994 Chicago Reader. — J.R.


* (Has redeeming facet)

Directed by Brian Levant

Written by Tom S. Parker, Jim Jennewein, and Steven E. de Souza

With John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Elizabeth Perkins, Rosie O’Donnell, Kyle MacLachlan, Halle Berry, Richard Moll, and Elizabeth Taylor.

When people come to see an entertainment based on another, earlier entertainment that they have affection for, there are things about it that people want to see. They want to hear Fred yell “Yabba-Dabba-Doo!” They want to hear Wilma and Betty say “Charge It!” They want to hear Dino bark “Yip, Yip, Yip, Yip, Yip” and knock Fred down and lick him silly. And we’ve done those things because we love them, too.  — Brian Levant, director of The Flintstones, quoted in the film’s pressbook

It’s quite possible that when someone writes the history of the first hundred years of movies — a period corresponding fairly closely to the 20th century — two decades of that century will be singled out as the most artistically barren: the first and the last. And the principal reasons for that barrenness may turn out to be related: in each decade film, rather than flexing its muscles as an expressive medium, was a relatively inert, inexpressive receptacle for works already fashioned, often in other media.… Read more »