Here at the Walnut we’re going to dust things off a bit by introducing a new “movie of the week” feature. Essentially I’ll be posting my selections for the two best movies I’ve seen over the past week – one on DVD and another theatrically.
Today we’ll kickoff with my favorite DVD from the past week, Ace in the Hole (1951).
Recently released to DVD by the Criterion Collection, Ace in the Hole was directed by Billy Wilder just after the success of his classic, Sunset Boulevard. However, unlike Sunset Boulevard, Ace in the Hole was a critical and box-office flop. It’s a tough, unflinching film that holds an unwavering mirror up to media sensationalism and our morbidly curious society’s penchant for rubbernecking at personal tragedy.
Kirk Douglas gives an excellent tough-as-nails performance as a has-been reporter who is willing to risk everything, even another man’s life, for the chance to write a big news story. It’s a truly excellent film that is given the top-notch DVD release it deserves by the Criterion Collection.
Here's a scene from the film.
My favorite movie of the past week, currently in theatres, is 2 Days in Paris.
Directed by actress Julie Delpy, the story involves Marion (played by Delpy) and her boyfriend Jack (portrayed by the funny and under-used Adam Goldberg) as they spend the last part of their European vacation with Marion’s parents in Paris. Things between Jack and Marion begin to get a little shaky, and really funny, when the couple run into a succession of Marion’s ex-boyfriends while touring Paris.
The film has a loose style, both narratively and visually, in some ways recalling Linklater’s Before Sunrise and Before Sunset - both of which starred and were co-written by Delpy. Also like those films, 2 Days in Paris is more interested in characters than narrative, and both Delpy and Goldberg do fine work in their respective roles. That being said, Adam Goldberg really stands out as Jack, a role that showcases his impeccable comic timing.
2 Days in Paris is a funny and thoughtful movie that I hope more people will get a chance to see.