Joe Mulholland, Head of Production at a Hollywood studio, makes a rather fool-hardy promise to a dying friend. He undertakes to make a major movie using the title - if not the content - of ... See full summary »
With the help of a talking freeway billboard, a "wacky weatherman" tries to win the heart of an English newspaper reporter, who is struggling to make sense of the strange world of early-90s Los Angeles.
Richard E. Grant
Juliet Forrest is convinced that the reported death of her father in a mountain car crash was no accident. Her father was a prominent cheese scientist working on a secret recipe. To prove it was murder, she enlists the services of private eye Rigby Reardon. He finds a slip of paper containing a list of people who are "The Friends and Enemies of Carlotta." Searching for answers, Rigby encounters assorted low-lifes: dangerous men and women who were the hallmarks of the classic detective movies of the 40's and 50's. Filming in black and white allows scenes from old movies to be cut into this film. It is through this process that Rigby's assistant is none other than Philip Marlowe himself. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ed. by Peter Victor <email@example.com>
Its the sort of idea that inevitably gets tried out as soon as it becomes technically possible. Inter-cutting classic film noir with contemporary work to produce a comedy film. Usually such ideas come a serious cropper - as was proved (as others have stated) by Zelig. However, this film hits it right on the mark. The design and editing allow for seamless cutting between the old and the new footage. The script is good and has the right level of absurd humour to make the film work. I'm not a fan of Steve Martin but its impossible to imagine anyone else matching this performance. Rachel Ward is beautiful and sassy. Its a film of its time - just made in time to catch the costume and musical talent of the past before they departed from the scene but made before the sort of hi-tech morphing and cgi which would have ruined its feel.
If you haven't seen it then watch it - if you have seen it then watch it again. This definitely rewards repeated viewings. Its no Citizen Kane but it is darned good entertainment if you share my sense of humour...
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