Clearing out some non-horror titles from my Netflix: WI queue. The ones which are going to be retired by 9/30 and 10/1. Watched...
(1981 / directed by Peter Yates) - 5/10
It was a meh-at-best thriller. Weaver was wasted, she wasn't given much to work with anyway. William Hurt was... sympathetic and attractive. Christopher Plummer was amusing. As a pretentious boob. And cultured hitman on the side. He wasn't in it enough. James Woods was... doing drugs, like crazy, at this time in his career- right? That's all I could think about when he was onscreen. He was capital-A annoying. Morgan Freeman is here for about 2 minutes. Pamela Reed (Kindergarten Cop
) is apparently (per the film's description of her character) something like 20 y/o here. She also looks like she's been sniffing something. She's got the sweats and the shakes here something awful. I recoiled at the screen quite a lot but... it wasn't because the film was thrilling. The plot actually involves Weaver's character falling in love surprisingly quickly with a stalker...and because he's nice and cute, she benefits him the doubt. Oh yeah... and apparently, there's a huge, complex conspiracy involving the just execution of some kind of Asian corporate(?) tyrant by Russian and Jewish immigrants in some kind of syndicate and... it's imperative that Hurt do or not do something illegal which isn't really addressed - because the movie ends after the "heroic" defeat of assassin Plummer, and he's barely 1/4th of the big picture - in order to save a group of 6 unnamed / unidentified... mob families? This is never explained. One minute, the highly fantasy-rooted romance between TV Reporter + Janitor is the main focus. The next, because something resembling intensity is apparently required by someone on the Hollywood boardroom end of this project, the screen is a mixing bowl of hollow ethnic stereotypes from around the world with Plummer trying to address them all in their native tongues. Everyone, thank the nice Hollywood people for being gracious enough to drop some culture on us.
Body of Evidence
(1993 / directed by Uli Edel) - 2/10
Put Basic Instinct
and Final Analysis
together, take away all their substance, and intelligence, ... and
fun, and you get this. Man, I thought Analysis
's courtroom scenes stunk (the rest of the film I've always enjoyed a lot). They at least had Haris Yulin. These scenes are so terrible (the judge - Lillian Lehman - was one of the worst Judge Actors/tresses I've ever seen in my entire life) that they had to throw in some "gay intrigue" to wake the audience up. Worse still, it's the final testimony of the film's trial scenes, so there's zero subversion value in it. Up to that point, the trial had been about using Madonna's character's promiscuity and "dangerous" sexual lifestyle (Dita is not amused) against her to sway the jury. And they really were just slut-shaming her. What does she do to fight this? Pretty much goes: "well, if a powerful woman threatens them this much, I'll just bring in someone that scares the straights even more: a homo." Was she using their intolerance against them? Nope. She was, in essence, fag-bashing for money. Upon reflection, I really hope Madonna is doing a George Clooney on Batman Returns
and (at least secretly) wishing she'd never done the film. I know in "Human Nature," she clearly says "I have no regrets." She should regret this one. It really isn't the "why is everyone else so afraid to cut and burn themselves for kicks" glory of BDSM, challenging outdated sexual norms, liberating flick it thinks it is. Madonna looks like a flake and is literally copying everything Sharon Stone did but with a fraction of the talent. Dafoe is dumb. And... yeah, you know this is not a good movie. But, really: how bad is it? Really bad. And, it's not fun either. I was expecting a truly fun disaster. But, while every last scene is top-to-bottom wrong and poorly executed (except in the camerawork and cinematography department... and, I guess the music's not too shabby either), it's not funny. It's sad. I believe the only person in the entire cast who could walk away with their dignity is Julianne Moore. Who gets to slap Madonna, by the way. Wonder if that's on YouTube... it should be. (LOVE YOU, MADONNA- you're still Queen! But, what the fuck @ this movie?) Whatever she hoped to accomplish with this project was by far and away better done in any of the Erotica
music videos. And "Human Nature."
(1990 / directed by Kathryn Bigelow) - 8/10
Wow; it's been so long since I've seen a great movie for the first time, I started to forget there was such a thing. Flaws first: the guy hears voices... I can't believe they did that. Ron Silver's performance was already so obvious, it made Curtis's character look a little special-ed that she didn't pick up on the fact that he's a nutjob (or at least a really hollow person on the inside) by the time they go out for their first dinner... and they made him hear voices. In a scene in which he's working out and wearing those kinky, black, fingerless leather gloves. Given that, he does a pretty nice job. Of course... the more psycho he goes, the harder it is to accept the whole police force so aggressively against Curtis. Or, at least every single person with a dick. I'm not saying it isn't also a dose of cold water right in the face; I'm sure there are a lot of sexist higherups in cop districts. But, I was ready to snap a few times- this movie has too much tension in it. Which makes the point of the film... women can take more shit than a man can? Oh, well. Just short of that and a really hacky domestic abuse sub-subplot (why is it impossible for Hollywood to ever get this right?), this is quite simply My Kind of Action Film. There isn't a sign of pretention for miles around. The dialogue is sharp, tight, and entirely direct. The style is harsh (Steven Seagal fans would probably have a heart attack watching this) but smart, the story is a little far-fetched but this is where the impressive and toweringly solid action scenes take it into pure art territory. The climax is some kind of surreal Terminator
stuff. Violence erupts, destruction reigns, and the editing rocks you like a hurricane. Great damn movie.