The movie, based on a novel by Jim Thompson, the poet of circa-1950 pulp noir, has a stubborn, sullen truth to it, focusing on its handful of characters during the course of a particularly incompetent kidnapping. The story is so intimate that everything depends on the performances, and Jason Patric, Rachel Ward and Bruce Dern, and a character actor named George Dickerson, bring a grim, poetic sadness to the story. Film noir, we are reminded, is not about action and victory, but about incompetence and defeat. If it has a happy ending, something went wrong…
“After Dark, My Sweet” is the movie that eluded audiences; it grossed less than $3 million, has been almost forgotten, and remains one of the purest and most uncompromising of modern films noir. It captures above all the lonely, exhausted lives of its characters…
It begins with exhaustion and despair, stirs itself into half-hearted evil, and then in a final desperate sequence finds barely
enough heroism to bring itself to a stop again. I have seen “After Dark, My Sweet” four times, and it only deepens with the retelling.–Roger Ebert
Director David Lynch crafted this hallucinogenic mystery-thriller that probes beneath the cheerful surface of suburban America to discover sadomasochistic violence, corruption, drug abuse, crime and perversion.
Kyle Maclachlan stars as Jeffrey Beaumont, a square-jawed young man who returns to his picture-perfect small town when his father suffers a stroke. Walking through a field near his home, Jeff discovers a severed human ear, which he immediately brings to the police. Their disinterest sparks Jeff’s curiosity, and he is soon drawn into a dangerous drama that’s being played out by a lounge singer, Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) and the ether-addicted Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). The sociopathic Booth has kidnapped Dorothy’s young son and is using the child as a bargaining chip to repeatedly beat, humiliate and rape Dorothy. Though he’s drawn to the virginal, wholesome Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), Jeff is also aroused by Dorothy and in trying to aid her, he discovers his dark side. Continue reading
Seen through the prism of the Lin family, this complex family drama from Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao Hsien details a brief but crucial moment in Taiwanese history between 1945, when 50 years of Japanese colonial rule came to an end, and 1949, when Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Kuomintang forces established a government-in-exile after the Communist army captured mainland China. Continue reading
During the excavation of ancient Roman ruins, an old archaeology professor accidentally opens the gate between our world and the world of the dead.
1989: Mostra of Valencia: Palme d´Or (Golden Palm) Continue reading
J. M. COETZEE’S ”In the Heart of the Country” (published here as ”From the Heart of the Country”) is written as a diary, in the fierce, scathing, half-mad voice of a woman living in near-isolation on a South African sheep farm. With its startling clarity and its paradoxically hallucinatory style, this brief 1977 novel would seem to be well out of any film maker’s reach.
But Marion Hansel, a Belgian director, has attempted to adapt it anyhow, and has done a job that is creditable if in some ways incomplete. The remote, barren setting for the story, on the veldt in Cape Province, has been hauntingly evoked (though the film was shot in Spain). And the characters, played by well-chosen, visually striking actors, are given life and stature.
Miss Hansel’s ”Dust,” which opens today at Film Forum 2, has a handsome look that manages, in the manner of the great American westerns, to be both classical and wild. If it lacks the surprise and complexity of Mr. Coetzee’s vision, and if its stillness sometimes borders on the becalmed, it nonetheless has a stark, streamlined manner and an underlying urgency. Continue reading
Plot: Owen Augustus Urban III, a creator of designer drugs, is hired by Dr John Alcore, the founder of Life Research foundation, who wants his help in obtaining a cure for AIDS. But Owen discovers that unorthodox experiments are being conducted at Life Research. He befriends one volunteer Paula Bukowsky. But then she is bitten by a crazed test subject and Owen finds that she is starting to transform into a vampire.
Richard Scheib wrote:
Red Blooded American Girl conducts the conceptually intriguing idea of a scientific exploration of vampirism. Scientific vampirism has been used in vampire literature before and on screen in the interesting Thirst (1979) and since in fine works like Ultraviolet (1998) and Blood (2000). This is the first full-blooded treatment of the theme and offers up some intriguing ideas – with requisite AIDS metaphors and the idea of salvation via blood transfusion – even if they are somewhat unfulfilled. Continue reading
Svankmajer’s music video for Hugh Cornwell’s “Another Kind of Love.” Continue reading