Hey Chicago people, this Thursday I'll be in conversation with the author Simon François about all things noir at The Alliance Française de Chicago. Come check it out.
The Night Editor
Jake Hinkson's Blog
Monday, May 15, 2023
Saturday, May 6, 2023
Architects of Illusion: Noir Greatest Art Directors
A film noir obsession usually starts out with a focus on movie stars. When it begins to deepen, the obsession starts to focus on the director. When it gets bad enough, it spreads to an obsession with below the line talent, the names most people have never heard of. The writer, of course. The cinematographer. The producer. My own particular obsession is at the point now where I'm fascinated by the Art Director, the studio craftsperson during the classic era of noir who was in charge of designing and overseeing construction of the sets. They were as responsible as anyone for the unique visual aesthetic we call film noir. I spent a lot of last year researching and writing about these artists, and the result of my labors is a sprawling article in the new issue of NOIR CITY. It's another great issue--with a fun lead piece on "Stoner Noir" and a nice overview of the making and resurrection of one of my favorite films, Orson Welles's THE TRIAL. I'm proud that my art director article is in such fine company.
Thursday, January 12, 2023
At the Movies in 2023
A running list of what I've seen on the big screen this year:
1. The Unknown (1927)- Pickwick Theater
2. Falstaff (Chimes at Midnight) (1965)- Pickwick Theater
3. Ball of Fire (1941)- Music Box Theater
4. So Sweet So Perverse (1969)- Music Box
5. The Fabelmans (2021)- AMC Village Crossing 18
6. Roman Holiday (1953)- Regal City North
7. Tar (2022)- Facets
8. Ace in the Hole (1951)- Music Box
9. Bound (1996)- Facets
10. Nekromantik 2 (1991)- Music Box
11. Marlowe (2023)- Regal City North
12. The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)-Music Box
13. Les Enfants des Autres (2023)-Gene Siskel Film Center
14. The Trial (1962)-Music Box
15. The Trial (1962)-Music Box (2nd time)
16. The Trial (1962)-Music Box (3rd time)
17. Creed III (2023)-Regal City North
18. Inside (2023)-Music Box
19. The Doom Generation (1995)-Music Box
20. John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)-AMC Village Crossing 18
21. The Hunchback of the Morgue (1973)-Davis Theater
22. Beau is Afraid (2023)-Music Box
23. Runaway Train (1985)-Music Box
24. The Crow (1994)-Facets
25. Return to Seoul (2022)-Facets
26. The Conformist (1970)-Music Box
27. Citizen Kane (1941)-Doc Films
28. From Russia with Love (1963)-Pickwick Theater
29. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)-Regal City North
30. Master Gardner (2023)-AMC River East 21
31. Vertigo (1958)-Doc Films
Last Year at the Movies
This was not a great year for the movies, I'd say. We continued to see the slow death of the midbudget film, the star vehicle, and the kind of bread-and-butter adult-skewing movies that used to keep Hollywood in business. My favorite new movies this year were mostly flops: I loved both TAR (my number one of the year) and THE NORTHMAN. I really liked BABYLON, a flawed film, sure, but the kind of flawed film that I go for--indulgent, over-the-top and fun. I also really liked smaller unsung films like RESURRECTION and SUNDOWN.
I didn't like EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE as much as other people did, and I thought BULLET TRAIN was mostly a waste of a good concept and cast. TOP GUN: MAVERICK was a lot of fun, though it's funny to see it touted as some kind of masterpiece. I'm more of an Ethan Hunt guy than a Maverick guy, I guess. (Very excited for the new Mission Impossible out this year.)
As is always the case, the best movies I saw at the theater last year were mostly old movies. Highlights included favorites like THE MALTESE FALCON, EYES WIDE SHUT, BLAST OF SILENCE, CAT PEOPLE and more. Last year also marked the return of Noir City Chicago, which was a delight. The highlight of that was a showing of FLESH AND BONE, my first time to see the movie in a theater since it came out back in the 90s.
Here's a breakdown of my moviegoing last year by decade:
Total films seen on the big screen: 85
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Happy to announce that FIND HIM is finally here. It's been a long road for this book, the last miles of which lead through Covid and supply chain chaos, but I'm thrilled that the book is out in the world and getting good notices. Find it wherever you get your books.
Sunday, July 24, 2022
Commentary Track on THE GUILTY
I had a blast doing the commentary for Flicker Alley's restoration of John Reinhardt's great poverty row noir THE GUILTY (1947). The film is included in a new set with Reinhardt's *other* great noir from that year, HIGH TIDE. The package is fantastic, packed with extras, including a commentary by Alan Rode on HIGH TIDE, informative features on the stars, director, and producers--all with a nice intro by Eddie Muller. If you're a serious noir geek, then you really don't want to miss one. Check it out here.
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Publishers Weekly (Starred) Review for FIND HIM
My new book FIND HIM will be out November 1st, and I'm thrilled about the rave review ("an exceptional tale of crime and courage") it just got in Publisher's Weekly. Pre-order the book here.