"I'll just get my gear."

Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Jason Leigh’

Backdraft

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

May 24, 1991

This may surprise you, but I had never seen BACKDRAFT until now. It’s often mentioned as the Ron Howard movie people like, or a good Kurt Russell movie or ‘90s thriller, or a movie with amazing pyrotechnic effects, and I knew I’d heard people speak of it fondly. I asked on Twitter and received many emphatic confirmations that people consider it a classic, some having even reaffirmed their love semi-recently in a theatrical screening.

So I hope you won’t all feel direspected when I tell you I thought this movie was pretty fuckin ridiculous! Maybe that’s part of what you like about it? It’s also true that the fire stuff is impressive, and of course Russell is good in it, and his character is pretty interesting because he’s about 85% total asshole and 15% guy you root for, which is not the obvious choice. Also, it’s fair to say that there aren’t very many movies specifically about firefighters; usually the macho ball-busting sweaty working class bros who go to the pub together to be rowdy and are in dutch with the old lady because of the job in movies are cops. Also, I can’t fault people for loving the type of corny old-fashioned weepy-eyed hand-over-your-heart astronaut movie type salute it gives to the heroism of firefighters. I think these are all legitimate reasons to like the movie, I’m not questioning that. (read the rest of this shit…)

Possessor

Monday, February 8th, 2021

POSSESSOR is a fucking great and deeply disturbing near-future-cyberpunkish assassination thriller directed by Brandon Cronenberg. Yeah, when you’re David Cronenberg’s son, seems like it would be good not to direct real grim, trippy movies that are gonna be compared to your genius dad’s early shit. Too much to live up to. It might be easier to just be a rapper named Li’l Decker or something. Like, what if Sofia Coppola had started out making gangster movies? But DJ The Doctor From JASON X here pulls it off. It doesn’t seem to be copying any specific content or style from the elder Cronenberg, but it definitely is a contemporary equivalent to the tone and quality of the old man’s early, crazy shit.

It stars Andrea Riseborough, who I for a second recognized from MANDY but thought – nah, must be somebody else. She plays a pallid and haunted looking lady named Tasya Vos, a fittingly cool name for someone in her line of work. She looks like she’s on her death bed, but it’s part of her job as a strange type of assassin and undercover agent… I would say a futuristic type, but I’m told this takes place in alternate past? I don’t know. But she spends most of her time in a lab with her head plugged into a machine that somehow projects her consciousness into an implant that her colleagues have clandestinely placed inside an unwilling subject. So, while controlling some poor sucker’s body, she murders her target, then turns a gun on “herself,” which returns her to her real body and/or ties up the loose ends of the assassination plot. Kind of like a clumsier, riskier, more evil version of plugging into the Matrix. (read the rest of this shit…)

Good Time

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

GOOD TIME is a hell of a movie from Josh and Benny Safdie, thirtysomething New York indie directors I never heard of until the flashy A24 trailer acted like they were a household name. Sure enough it’s their fifth feature film (including one documentary) but this one got a little more attention for starring Robert Pattinson, the guy from the Cronenberg movies. He plays Connie Nikas, a New York City dirtbag who storms into a doctor’s office to get his developmentally disabled brother Nick (Benny Safdie) and bring him to help rob a bank. They get away at first but most of the money is ruined by a dye pack and Nick gets arrested. The movie is about Connie running around town all night trying to find $10,000 more dollars to pay Nick’s bail.

It’s a stylish epic of dirt-baggery – Meth Age Michael Mann. An intimate look at a shitty dude doing idiotic things with fevered lighting, gritty real locations, some raw non-professional actors and one of the most legit retro-synth scores I’ve heard, a Tangerine Dream-esque thing by an electronic artist Oneohtrix Point Never, which is a name that I totally understand and can say easily, on account of how young and with it I am. And just so you know I didn’t have to ask anybody what vaporwave was and if I had I totally would’ve understood what Wikipedia meant about it being “built upon the experimental and ironic tendencies of genres such as chillwave and hypnagogic pop.” (read the rest of this shit…)

Annihilation

Monday, March 12th, 2018

In ANNIHILATION, the sophomore directorial work of Alex Garland (EX_MACHINA, also author of The Beach and screenwriter of 28 DAYS LATER, SUNSHINE, NEVER LET ME GO and DREDD), Natalie Portman (LEON THE PROFESSIONAL) takes a journey into the heart of weirdness. Her character Lena is a cell-loving ex-Army biology professor at Johns Hopkins University (also the alma mater of Gil Scott-Heron, Wes Craven and Wolf Blitzer) whose presumed-K.I.A. husband Kane (Oscar Isaac, SUCKER PUNCH, THE NATIVITY STORY) suddenly shows up alive and odd and unable to explain anything. Sort of like the also mourning Amy Adams character in the also brainy-adapted-from-an-acclaimed-novel-sci-fi-movie ARRIVAL, she’s taken to a site (Area X) where soldiers and scientists face an unexplained, unprecedented phenomenon. In this case it’s not a spaceship but a sort of slowly expanding spectral bubble they call “The Shimmer” that surrounds a chunk of land and no one who has entered it has ever come back out. Until Kane. (read the rest of this shit…)

Anomalisa

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

tn_anomalisaANOMALISA is a sad, sometimes funny story about loneliness and petty, ugly human nature. If I told you it had some bizarre, seemingly unfilmable premise then that would all add up to tell you it was a Charlie Kaufman film, but it actually doesn’t have that. It’s just about a guy who travels to Cincinatti to speak at a convention and the night he spends at a hotel. Nothing crazy. It’s mostly very realistic, a frank look at relationships between men and women. It’s animated, though.

It’s all done in a beautiful and unique form of stop motion. Other than being made with small materials it’s almost entirely an attempt at naturalism, no cartoonish stylization at all. One exception is that they left the seams between the mouth and eye sections, which in other movies done with this technique such as PARANORMAN or THE BOXTROLLS were digitally removed. But this is a Charlie Kaufman movie so pretty much everything that seems a little strange – those seams, the androgynous facial structure of most of the characters, one actor providing most of the voices – turns out to be intentional and thematic.

We could compare this to Wes Anderson’s THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX as another unusual stop motion feature that fits naturally into the filmography of its live action auteur. But that one emphasized the hand-made-ness, showing off the imperfections in animating fur, using cotton balls for clouds and puffs of smoke. ANOMALISA miraculously mimics human intimacy in rubber. (read the rest of this shit…)

Greenberg

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

tn_greenbergGREENBERG (Ben Stiller from NEXT OF KIN) is a 40 year old sometimes-carpenter who, after some kind of breakdown and stint in a mental hospital, comes to house sit (crash at) his banker brother’s place in L.A. while the family’s on a business vacation to Vietnam. His plan is to “do nothing,” but he’s a huge fucking baby so he starts getting the family’s nice assistant Florence (Greta Gerwig, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL) to shop for him, have a relationship with the dog for him, etc. Through horrendously awkward maneuvers he gets sloppily into her pants and makes things weird. Then he starts being a dick until she doesn’t want to see him again, but the dog gets sick and he doesn’t have a car so she has to bring him to the vet, etc. Romance does not ensue, just awkwardness. (read the rest of this shit…)

eXistenZ

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

tn_existenzYou guys’ll have to forgive me. I’m not a “gamer” or “gamey” or whatever, so I don’t know how much of Dave Cronenberg’s video game exposee eXistenZ is 100% factual and how much is very, very slightly, almost imperceptibly exaggerated for dramatic purposes.

Maybe you can help me out: the “gamepod” controllers are little lumps of flesh, like mutated breasts. They plug a tentacle into a “bioport” on your spine, but if yours is installed wrong (which it turns out can happen if you let Willem Dafoe install yours at the gas station) it can overload your game pod and it will have to be repaired, which is a surgical procedure. The pods are actually genetically modified amphibians. (read the rest of this shit…)

Eyes of a Stranger

Friday, October 9th, 2009

tn_eyesofastrangerI found EYES OF A STRANGER (1981) with the mystery and suspense movies at the video store. That got me thinking – how exactly do you draw the line between a thriller and a slasher movie? Is it because this guy’s a rapist, not just a killer? Is it because he’s not supernatural, deformed, masked or a redneck? You could say that about MANIAC too, but I think we all agree that’s a horror movie. Both have effects by Tom Savini, too. But MANIAC is way gorier, and the killer gets way more screen time. He’s the central character. Here the killer is often sneaking around just off camera, unseen, keeping us on a thread until he suddenly attacks, like Michael Myers. So if you’re watching a movie where there’s a killer like Michael Myers, but without a mask and not supernatural, that’s suspense. Except SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE. It’s horror if it has ‘massacre’ in the title I believe is the rule.

Ah, shit. I don’t know how it works. But EYES OF A STRANGER is a good thriller about a slasher. (read the rest of this shit…)

Dangerously Close and Under Cover

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

cannon-stockwellDANGEROUSLY CLOSE

Here’s one from Cannon Films and our friend Albert Pyun, but I’m sorry to say this is the most boring one I’ve seen so far in my back-to-school marathon. The idea behind it, at least, is different from the other ones I’ve seen. This time the school is overrun with troublemakers spraying graffiti and what not, but they’re not the bad guys – that would be The Sentinels, a group of fascist jocks who patrol Vista Verde High School to keep people in line. Their main job at school is just painting over graffiti, but outside of school they actually track people down wearing masks, beat the shit out of them and make them think they’re going to murder them, then leave them crying out in the middle of the woods. Don’t you hate popular kids? (read the rest of this shit…)

The Hitcher

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

tn_hitcherAfter FLESH + BLOOD, audiences were thirsty for more of that Rutger Hauer/Jennifer Jason Leigh team. They wanted to see more romantic chemistry from the Hepburn and Tracy of the ’80s.  So they got to see him tie her to a truck and… well, it’s even worse than what he did to her in FLESH + BLOOD. And she didn’t fall for him afterwards.

THE HITCHER starts off as a really good horror movie. Atmospheric shots of C. Thomas Howell driving out on the highway, drinking coffee out of a Thermos, trying to stay awake. Looks like he’s been up all night driving. It starts to rain. Maybe out of desperation to stay awake, maybe out of spontaneity, he picks up a hitchhiker, Rutger Hauer. He jokes about how his mom told him never to pick up hitchhikers. But when he tries to ask Hauer where he’s going the weirdo keeps not answering, changing the subject. Every time he does it it gets more uncomfortable. Then he starts talking about murder and dismemberment, making threats, pulls out a switchblade. (read the rest of this shit…)