Avengers: Infinity War

Giant purple glove enthusiast Thanos (Josh Brolin) has a sad back story. His people, the Titans of Titan (which isn’t confusing at all, couldn’t it at least have been the Titons of Titan, or the Titaniums of Titan, or the Titans of Titanic? All viable options) were ravaged by over-population and over-use of natural resources, leaving their home world in ruins. Thanos had proposed an option to prior to this, which would have meant randomly killing half of Titan’s entire population, which was understandably vetoed. Now, in the wake of Titan’s ruin, Thanos has seen the opportunity to enact his plan on a much grander scale, wiping out half of all known life in existence, for which he will need the golden infinity gauntlet and six infinity stones scattered across the galaxy. It’s up to Earth’s mightiest heroes – and a few from some other places too – to try and stop Thanos before it’s too late.
Continue reading

Advertisements

Kiss of the Spider Woman

This review was originally written for Blueprint: Review.

In a prison in Brazil, two cellmates – cross-dressing homosexual Luis Molina (William Hurt) and aggressive political prisoner Valentin Arregui (Raul Julia) – form an unlikely friendship as Luis recounts one of his favourite films to pass the time.
kiss of the spider woman william hurt Continue reading

Body Heat

In a balmy summer heatwave in the American Deep South, the not-terribly-good defense lawyer Ned Racine (William Hurt with a 70s pornstar moustache) makes a random encounter with wealthy, sultry Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), who is unhappily married to Edmund (Richard Crenna), a good man who is always away on business. Ned and Matty begin an illicit and steamy affair, and both decide that they’d be better off financially and romantically if Edmund were no longer around, so Ned, with the help of Mickey Rourke’s criminal consultant, sets out to murder him.
What sets this apart from the rest of the noir genre it draws obvious inspiration from is the copious nudity and sex scenes between the two leads, which are excessive even by today’s standards, as well as several shots of Richard Crenna in his underwear that I could have done without.
I was surprised that the plot didn’t contain more twists and turns, as in the end it was all fairly straightforward. For instance, I assumed early on that Matty’s husband Edmund would be in cahoots with either Ned or Matty, but in fact Edmund has very little to do in the story. In fact, his character arc is completed so early on that I was intrigued as to where the plot would go next. Also, some elements are set up with no eventual payoff – Matty’s niece catching Ned doing something he shouldn’t be doesn’t end up with her identifying him to the police – which led me to think that either we were deliberately fed loose threads to keep us guessing, or it’s just sloppy writing, though seeing as writer/director Lawrence Kasdan also wrote Star Wars Episodes V and VI, as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Big Chill, it’s probably the former.
I was surprised to see just how attractive Kathleen Turner used to be, as other than her vocals in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, I’ve only ever known her as the dog trainer in Marley & Me (I have never willingly watched the film, it’s a favourite of the girlfriend) and as Chandler Bing’s drag-queen father in Friends, so I was rather confused that someone with such nice legs and skin could go on to be, well, Kathleen Turner.
There have been better noirs made before this (Double Indemnity) and after (Coen brothers’ debut Blood Simple), and if it weren’t for the aforementioned raunchiness there’s little chance of it being remembered today. The film isn’t necessarily bad, but its not revolutionary either.
Choose life 6/10

The Big Chill

Imagine if Diner or St. Elmo’s Fire had a reunion twenty years later, and you’ll be picturing something like this, when a group of friends meet up for a weekend to attend the funeral of one of their number who killed himself. Kevin Costner filmed scenes as the departed Alex before they were cut, but his presence isn’t missed amongst those that remained, including Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Glenn Close, Kevin Kline and Tom Berenger. The weekend reveals that none of them are as happy or settled as they may initially seem, and each character is inhabited totally and wholly; the cast even shared a house together before the shoot, and remained in character throughout it. The soundtrack is also exquisite, featuring the Rolling Stones, Procul Harum, the Beach Boys and Marvin Gaye.

Choose film 8/10

Into the Wild

Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) has a very promising future ahead of him. Considering Harvard Law school after graduating from college, with a healthy savings fund and parents willing to buy him a new car, he’s set to make a name for himself in middle class middle America.
But alas, this is not the life he wishes to lead, refusing to make the same mistakes his parents made – marrying the high school sweetheart, living in an unhappy, abusive marriage for the sake of appearances – he gives his savings to charity, dumps his car, burns his ID and cash and changes his name to Alexander Supertramp, pledging to live life alone, “no watch, no maps, in the wild.”
Told through letters to his sister, accounts from those he met along the way and excerpts from his own diary, this true story, directed by Sean Penn, is at times joyous, tense and heartbreaking. There isn’t a weak link in the cast, but the standouts are easily William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden as the confused parents left behind as their ideal son wanders for years with no communication, not even a letter goodbye.
Penn at times drifts too far into Terrence Malick territory (Malick previously directed Penn in the Thin Red Line), with elegiacal shots of admittedly beautiful scenery, poetic, philosophical pontificating and a meandering style, flitting between Alex’s journey across America and his time spent living in an abandoned ‘Magic’ bus he finds in Alaska, but the story and performances pull it through. You get the feeling the journey is exactly how Alex had hoped, finding the people he would have preferred knowing when growing up; the parental fellow travellers Jan and Rainey (Catherine Keener & Brian Dierker), girlfriend (Kristen Stewart), boss (Vince Vaughn), friends (the semi-nudist random Swedes) and kind hearted, lovably cantankerous grandfather (Hal Holbrook). The soundtrack is amazing too.
Choose film 8/10