Richard Brooks directs Diane Keaton, Tuesday Weld and Richard Gere in this sex drama where a repressed school teacher begins cruising bars for casual sex and drugs.
Doesn’t hold up as a feminist film anymore… and Lord only knows what the gay and black communities make of it? Still quite shocking but tonally all over the shop. Keaton’s performance is too quirky, Brooks direction too heavy handed. The ending is so bleak and doesn’t feel earned by the rest of the movie… almost like we have skipped a reel. Not a fun night in.
The one that starts off with Reese Witherspoon in a swimsuit. The one that only a minute later has Reese Witherspoon not in a swimsuit… at all. The one where all the characters seem to think Paul Newman has had his dick shot off. Sounds strange, doesn’t it, but this is very enjoyable. A stacked cast (James Garner, Stockard Channing, Liev Schreiber) helps, as does some excellent LA location work. An underrated gem.
Steve Barron directs Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin and Michelle Burke in this sci-fi comedy based on an SNL skit where shipwrecked aliens with cone shaped head assimilate into the American way of life.
Dublin’s Steve Barron is an interesting character. He directed some of the most iconic music videos of the Eighties – with a real penchant for SFX. And then his feature film career stalls with projects that maybe weren’t worth the effort he no doubt always put into them. Take On Me’s animated promo will stand the test of time. Electric Dreams, the first Turtles movie and this probably won’t. You can see the intention and ambition here – it could easily be the Ghostbusters of science-fiction – but the laughs just aren’t there. Most five minute Saturday Night Live sketches go on for four minutes too long. 90 minutes of this… yeucch… Yet, if you accept you’ll rarely laugh, there’s a competent movie sitting in the ex-rental bin of your long closed Blockbuster. The alien vocabulary suits Aykroyd’s deadpan, mad thesaurus reciting schtick. The support cast is a who’s who of Nineties TV comedy faces. The plot has quite a few honest things to say about the American immigrant experience in the latter 20th century. The space-set finale is actually very impressive – with a stop motion Phil Tippet monster and a well realised planet. Can you ignore the lack of workable jokes? Can I give this the same score as Tarkovsky’s Mirror?
Andrei Tarkovsky directs Margarita Terekhova, Natalya Anatoliy and Ignat Daniltsev in this Soviet arthouse movie where a man – much like Tarkovsky – remembers his life in fragments, discombobulated and populated by the same faces.
Cinema as poetry… but I don’t really read poetry. Undeniably beautiful and haunting at times but too much like hard work for me. Doesn’t deliver anything I enjoy in film except a very beautiful Russian lady.
David Hollander directs Liev Schreiber, Jon Voight and Kerry Condon in this epilogue movie to ‘the Hollywood fixer with a criminal family’ Showtime TV series.
We watched all 7 seasons of Ray Donovan over lockdown. It is fair to say that when a major character died, and the whole cast left Los Angeles, things went off the boil. This refocuses on Ray and Mickey – their much hinted at but never fully defined backstory. So some loose ends are tied off. It is mainly Ray Donovan sitting in his car, grumpy, while beloved members of the cast (Eddie Marsan, Dash Mihok, Kerris Dorsey) are given table scraps and after thoughts. Dull.
Bernardo Bertolucci directs Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli and Gastone Moschin in this Italian classic about a mediocre man who decides to kill his old professor to rise into the ranks of the fascist government.
Indelible dreamlike shots house mundane interactions, this is the banality of evil. Quite erotic at times (yay!) and with bravura sequences. I am not sure I’m smart enough to fully understand every coded symbol and plot nuance but I always feel like I’ve watched a fucking movie after I’ve put this on. Will probably try to rewatch sooner rather than later. I want to get my head around it all.
Luca Guadagnino directs Taylor Russell, Timothée Chalamet and Mark Rylance in this cannibal romance road movie.
Going to come clean. I had no idea this was about compulsive cannibals so the first bite came as a genuine shock to me. There are another three superbly handled moments of terror, especially during a near wordless cameo from an arthouse fave of mine. Guadagnino has never really clicked for me as an auteur but this is markedly my favourite of his so far. It has issues: I still don’t get the Chalamet thing (cinema was packed with student girls) so his presence hobbled what would have been a nice gory spin on Wild At Heart. And it goes on far too long. But the brooding, untrustworthy atmosphere of it all was certainly compelling for a fair spell. Hopefully finds a cult following. Stuhlbarg out creeps Rylance but it is a close call. Armie Hammer would love this.
Lewis John Carlino directs Andrew McCarthy, Rob Lowe and Jacqueline Bisset in this teen sex comedy where a boarding school kid accidentally starts banging his roommate’s rich mom.
An unintentionally strange, schizophrenic flick that seemingly used to be on telly every weekend when I was a kid. The first half is pure Animal House / Porky’s in blazers: pranks / nudity / weed / trying to get laid / nude pranks. It is lowest common denominator stuff but Rob Lowe shines and a ton of pre-fame faces fill the ensemble parts. Both the Cusacks, Alan Ruck and one of Virginia Madsen’s boobs. Then we get to the meat of the movie: a Graduate-style fling. The narrative feels too much in a rush to linger on the sexy stuff. The revelations and recriminations that follow are half-baked. There’s an incongruous academic investigation, Lowe and McCarthy have a muddy fight in the woods, Bisset’s character all but vanishes with none of her personal storylines resolved. So the ending clunks. As a drama, this needed a bit more finessing to work. As a comedy, it is too glum for a long 40 minute stretch. The cinematography is a little ugly and underlit. McCarthy is an awful lead and possibly swapping him and Lowe would have elevated this. A mixed bag that I have some deep seated nostalgia for.
Gavin Wiesen directs Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts and Rita Wilson in this teen drama where an artistic loner at a posh school falls in with an It girl.
Cute without being too fluffy. I’m not sure why we are supposed to care about a rich kid who does fuck all work, even though he has the talent and the brains? Probably thinks of itself as more an update on The Catcher In the Rye than Ferris Bueller. The Emma Roberts part is shaded better than it needs to be.