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Two Jakes, the

Jack Nicholson , Harvey Keitel , Jack Nicholson    DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 30.00
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Two Jakes, the + Chinatown
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Set more than a decade after the story in Chinatown, this 1990 sequel brings Jack Nicholson back to the screen as L.A. private detective Jake Gittes. Older, fatter, worn, and frustrated, the Jake of 1948 is still haunted by the tragic events of the earlier film. While investigating a case involving adultery and questionable land dealings by an L.A. tycoon (Harvey Keitel as the other Jake), Gittes unexpectedly confronts a few old ghosts and discovers that the resource of choice in Southern California--one for which people die--is no longer water but oil. The film had a notorious production history, with Nicholson taking over the project from writer-director Robert Towne, and the dense plot can be difficult to follow. But if The Two Jakes doesn't measure up to the legendary status of its stylish predecessor, the film does satisfy on its own terms and brings the events of Chinatown to a moving conclusion. Terrific work by Keitel and supporting players Meg Tilly, Madeleine Stowe, Eli Wallach, and Ruben Blades. --Tom Keogh

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two Jakes: A Classic, but not a Masterpiece March 18 2004
Two Jakes is great movie, but simply NOT on the level of "Chinatown"... The story is well written, the talent is superb, but the direction lacks the dynamic, passionate style that Polanski put into his masterpiece "Chinatown". Jack, Harvey, Perry, and especially the normally talented Meg Tilly, walk through their parts without tension or emotional dynamics... which is not consistant with either the period, nor the style of early film noir.... this is a film in the style of the 90s, and so Nicholson is seduced by BOTH leading ladies... and it falls flat both times. The music, which is not distinctive, adds nothing to the needed dramatic tension of these characters, which it should have. Still, the movie has some strong points. The photography and set designs are first rate. The scene in the Max Factor building using the actual reception room and exterior is wonderful... the building is now the "Hollywood History Museum" and it was great to see it as it may have appeared in 1948. The new DVD transfer is a fine one, color corrected, and sound is clear and crisp. The performance by Ruben Blades is incredible and he is a frightening tough guy who shows his loyalty and bond to Harvey's character in the end very clearly... not an easy bit of drama to play out on screen. I recommend this one, but just do not expect the same masterpiece that Chinatown is.... and I strongly recommend a person see Chinatown first to understand much of this film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT FILM IN ITS OWN RIGHT Sept. 24 2003
"Two Jakes" is no Polanski treat, yet it is somewhat unjustly compared to its epic predecessor ("Chinatown"). Watch the movie in its own right, and you will be amazed. Chinatown had a trademark Polanski stamp in its fluid narrative and its clever unfurling of clues (just in time for an emotionally explosive denouement) but that is precisely where "Two Jakes" errs. The plot is quite suspenseful but a trifle convoluted. Characters are more deeply examined. If you enjoy intrigue, ala LA COnfidential or Unusual Suspects, this flick is definitely worth your while. If you insist on comparing it to its prequel you may be disappointed. Jack is a terrific actor but his directorial mettle is alarming here as well. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars "It Never Goes Away" Oct. 19 2002
By A Customer
Jack Nicholson knew no one could ever equal the masterpice of Polanski's "Chinatown" so he didn't try. What he did make when he took over this troubled production from Robert Towne (Polanski still claims he re-wrote most of Chinatown) was a visually beautiful portrait of 1948 Los Angeles in a boom that is a meditation on the past and how it haunts us.
From the smoke ring filled opening with Peggy Lee's "Don't Smoke in Bed" to Jo Stafford's "Haunted Heart" at the end Nicholson frames the colorful orange and blues of 1948 Los Angeles against the darker internal memories of the past. Gittes is a successful P.I. who works on divorce cases and plays golf. L.A. County is filled with orange groves created by the water so sought after in "Chinatown". But Gittes is about to learn you can never really forget the past.
Los Angeles of 1948 is booming with housing going up everywhere. But just as in "Chinatown" nothing is ever enough. Oil is the new 'water' and some people will even kill for it. Harvey Keitel is great as the 'other' Jake and Perry Lopez is on hand once more as Gittes old 'pal' Lou Escobar. Some of the best exchanges in the film are between these two. Rueben Blades and Frederick Forest give nice support as does Richard Farnsworth as weathered oilman Earl Rawley.
Madeline Stowe nearly steals the show as the outwardly prim and proper but inwardly frustrated (You're gonna make me aren't you) nymph Lillian Bodine. But it is Jake's meeting with the softly beautiful and vulnerable wife of the 'other' Jake that triggers something. Meg Tilly is terrific as Kitty Berman and Gittes can't quite understands why she gets him thinking about the past until he revisits it himself in the form of Kahn (James Hong), the Mulray's former servant. There is something about the flowers....
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Chinatown" through a glass, darkly Nov. 21 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Readers: take close note of that average customer rating above and dismiss the unfortunate choice of critical review at the top. I think in ten or twenty years this will be brought to the same high pedestal as "Chinatown". From the moment Jack takes note of Harvey's shoes, to the last inspired note of Jo Stafford, this is a work of high and detailed craftsmanship.
The reason I rate this as the best sequel of all time is that the storyteller speaks with twenty years' older voice to us as his equally enriched contemporaries. He observes the nuance in human behavior we would appreciate, and he reveals the subtle qualities of light that reassert L.A.'s beauty. He also tells a more complex and engrossing story, apparently more intricate than reviewers like the one above could understand, but all the better to savor.
For any of us in his generation, Jack has sent a beautiful memento of our earliest days. "Chinatown" was a perfect vintage, but "Jakes" is a perfect thirty-year-old brandy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent sequel to Chinatown. July 7 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This film was badly reviewed and did not do much better at the "Box Office." An excellent sequel to Chinatown. This story is as engaging and interesting as the original. The big surprise isn't who the bad guy turns out to be but who Jake Gittes has been dealing with all along. Keitel does an excellent job as supporting actor.
There are times throughout this movie when you don't know if the the two "Jakes" are going to kill each other or become fast friends. The slow build up of grudging respect is interesting though and the plot, performances, and scenery keep you engaged. This is a must see if you liked Chinatown.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is A Great underrated Movie
I held off buying this sequel to Chinatown because of the price mainly.
When the price point lowered I bought it.
I had not seen this movie in a long while. Read more
Published 23 days ago by douglas reid
2.0 out of 5 stars a sequel to 1974's Chinatown,lacking the same spark and imagination
this movie is the sequel to 1974's Chinatown.Jack Nicholson directed
this film and stars again as Jake Gittes. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2007 by falcon
2.0 out of 5 stars The director's job isn't the number one problem here
i never understood why CHINATOWN
was considered a classic but
for any actor to act the main role
and direct in the same movie
it is not a small acheivement... Read more
Published on Nov. 14 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent color film noir
This is a nice sequel to Chinatown. It is written by Robert Towne, the writer of Chinatown. Where Chinatown is pre-war Los Angeles and surrounds water resources and development... Read more
Published on March 28 2004 by Gregory Olsen
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Follow Up to CHINATOWN
THE TWO JAKES is a good follow-up to CHINATOWN. The Characters and sets really make this movie. The story is just average but the period details are very good. Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2003 by hille2000
1.0 out of 5 stars Spare yourself the agony and rent Chinatown instead
This sequel to Chinatown must be one of the most disappointing films I have ever seen. It is badly written, badly directed (by star Jack Nicholson), and contains bland performances... Read more
Published on Sept. 29 2003 by Jamie Cooper
2.0 out of 5 stars What Was Jack Thinking?
I'm sorry to be so out of step with most other reviewers here but this movie is simply awful. The screenplay is sub-standard, the story is unnecessarily convoluted, and even the... Read more
Published on Sept. 9 2003 by Joline C. Albaugh
3.0 out of 5 stars Good
This is no comparison to CHINATOWN. But it was massacred by the critics, and a flop at the box office, so that I only reluctantly watched it on TV after reading a suprisingly... Read more
Published on April 22 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars God, please let Jack direct again....
The best thing about this film is that it has the auteur sheen that Jack gives it. It's like a John Huston film, with a personal edge coming through.... Read more
Published on Nov. 1 1999 by ANDRE HUNT
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