Characterized by deconstructivism and philosophical references and by briefly exposing the good, bad, and ugly periods of the country's history, this post-modern film portrays the abstract ... See full summary »
Ruby, a young woman, arrives in a Florida resort town during the off season to make a fresh start. She gets work as a sales clerk in a souvineer shop run by Mildred Chambers. She dates, and... See full summary »
When an 11-year-old girl is brutally raped and murdered in a quiet French village, a police detective who has forgotten how to feel emotions--because of the death of his own family in some kind of accident--investigates the crime, which turns out to ask more questions than it answers.
Times are hard for Northwestern lumber-mill operators like Ray and his wife Jean. Ray and Jean's lives are thrown into chaos when their daughter writes home from college, saying she has ... See full summary »
A conflict develops between a troubled Vietnam veteran and the sister he lives with when she becomes involved romantically with the army buddy who reminds him of the tragic battle they both... See full summary »
In Los Angeles, after a violent drug rip-off, the Los Angeles Police Department detectives find the identity of the trio - the sadistic I.Q. of 150 and college graduate Lenny "Pluto" ... See full summary »
Billy Bob Thornton,
Spring 1936, a young unemployed communist, David, leaves his hometown Liverpool to join the fight against fascism in Spain. He joins an international group of Militia-men and women, the ... See full summary »
Kwon returns to Seoul from the mountains and is given a packet of letters from Mori back from Japan to propose to her. Kwon drops and scatters the undated letters. She reads them and has to make sense of the chronology - and so must we?
This film follows an antisocial working-class husband and father struggling to find work in the Midwest. As the film progresses, it seems that he has little actual interest in supporting ... See full summary »
I'll use a scene from the movie to illustrate my problem with it: at some point we get a tracking shot starting from a girl reading a book, across her room over various objects of interest, bedsheets, Nike shoes thrown on the floor, a Cosmopolitan, then we hear stifled sobs off screen and we track back to the girl, now crying. The camera-work is beautiful, it's the slow sensual gliding that feels like choreography for a ballet ensemble or maybe like someone's hand slipping under the hem of a skirt, but I find the points of interest it brings together and the suggestions that emerge in this linking (in Jost's cinema as a whole or at least based on what I've seen) superficial and labored.
Whereas in Frameup Jost's experimental technique got in the way of characters with a potentially interesting story waiting to be told, here I had the opposite reaction, interesting form beind sidetracked by flat uninteresting characters, possibly a story not worth the telling. The movie inhabits the lofts and galleries of Soho, the world of MoMa exhibitions and small coffee shops, its girls are sweet shy and cultured, they want to be actresses or sopranos and they care enough about the rainforest to call daddy and yell at him for bying stocks of gum companies in their name, and it's never quite clear where Jost sees himself in all this. His characters are self-involved and egopathic but his criticism against them is not as scathing (or as obvious) as in Frameup. The two male characters we see in the film are curious prototypes, the one is the angry artist throwing a temper tantrum because his agent won't lend him money, the other is the mature love interest, the stockbroker in the white horse come to sweep the young French girl off her feet.
Of course it doesn't quite work this way, and it neither does for the movie. The story takes place in New York but it's not Woody Allen's Manhattan, it's not so much about finding or losing love, romance or even alienation, as it is about obligation, about our right to not be obliged to be anything if we don't want it, not even good or loyal or in love. The movie has the feeling of walking inside an art gallery, with some of that quality quiet and alert in the same time, with something cold and irrevocable like you're sitting on a bench and you can hear the echo of someone else's footsteps reverberating from a different room (they stop and it's quiet and then you can hear them again), punctuating the story with long neat tracking shots over polished mahogany floors and in endless dervish circles around marble pillars, with symmetrical shots arranged in orderly patterns, but Jost delivers his thing with perhaps a little too much minimalism, like he's too proud and 'left-field' to dramatize properly, so that even the premise of his movie slowly begins to hide from it.
In the end Jost has to go looking for his premise. He finds it curled up in a dark corner of the museum, panting and naked, and he brings it kicking and screaming to the light. Our female protagonist begins narrating "the point of the movie" and Jost is literally speaking through her, hammering home an indifferent point in outrageous explanatory fashion, like all the subtlety of nuance that came before were but tools of their own destruction, so that we have 98% of a movie that is too vague and transparent and 2% that is anti-tank steel 5 inches thick. Maybe this is Jost the frustrated artist, who wants every last one in his audience to get him or maybe it was all an essay and he simply feels the need to conclude. From the tug-of-war between very carefully designed stylization and improv feel of acting and story, I think that Jost captures nice images, but he's not a storyteller.
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