Archives for posts with tag: Bill Pullman

I know someone’s going to call “The High Note” (2020) Dakota Johnson’s ode to arrogant, privileged millennials, but I’m not. I’m going to appreciate Tracee Ellis Ross as an aging diva, a performance that sees the character’s caricature and takes a tiny, baby step back from it. Her hapless personal assistant wants to be a record producer and we enter a Masquerade-style plot as Johnson tries to achieve it. But instead of a copout, it’s a solid base supporting some of the more ambitious writing I’ve seen in a while, with twists and layers and surprises I didn’t see coming.

If 1990s filmdom has a definitive genre, it’s the “erotic thriller.” All those noirish tales of money, murder and sex. You can link many names to that genre, but perhaps the one that best captures its jazzy amorality is Linda Fiorentino. Her career peak overlaps almost perfectly with the genre’s peak. The role that shows it off the best is “The Last Seduction” (1994). It went straight from the festival circuit to TV, perfect for the Skinemax era. Supported by Peter Berg and Bill Pullman, she snakes her way across New York, culminating in the twist you knew was coming.

Give an unreliable filmmaker an unreliable narrator and you get David Lynch’s “Lost Highway.” Along with the highway, I also lost two-plus hours of my life I’ll never get back. Unless I value the time I spent watching Patricia Arquette. I can imagine in 1997 a lot of couples saw Arquette and Bill Pullman on the same marquee and figured it was a win-win date movie. Then Robert Blake shows up in pancake makeup and lipstick. You can’t unsee that. Then bodies start hitting the floor thanks to a sax player who’s jealous, or hallucinating, or something. But definitely unreliable.