176 posts categorized "Horror"

June 11, 2020

DEAD RINGERS — THE CRITERION COLLECTION

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

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ColeSmithey.comInspired by real-life Manhattan twin gynecologist brothers Cyril and Stewart Marcus, David Cronenberg's disturbing tale of bodily horror involves strange medical devices created especially for the film.

This movie creeps up and down your spine.

The estimable Jeremy Irons is damn good as doctors Elliot and Beverly.

Irons knows how to do a lot with little.

ColeSmithey.com

The story is especially dicy because the brothers share their OBGYN practice, and sexual partners.

"Dead Ringers" is by no means a date movie.

Dead Ringers

This is one effed up little horror flick. 

Screen Shot 2022-03-24 at 5.18.28 PM

Side note, the real Marcus brothers (Dr. Cyril C. Marcus and Dr. Stewart L. Marcus) died of mysterious causes in their Upper East Side Sutton Terrace apartment, not far from their mutual place of medical practice at 420 East 72d Street in Manhattan.

Nightmares will follow.

4 Stars

Cozy Cole

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March 19, 2018

POSSESSION — CLASSIC FILM PICK

Possession1One of the most diabolically indecipherable films ever made, Andrzej Żuławski's disturbing psychological thriller juxtaposes Cold War era West Berlin against an exploding relationship between a warring married couple played by Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill.

Exceptionally convincing performances rise to the ferociously jealous nature of Żuławski's fever-pitched script, co-written with Frederic Tuten.

Supporting turns from Margit Carstensen and Heinz Bennet keep the dramatic heat high.

Colesmithey.com

If ever there was an incompatible couple, Mark and Anna are it. It doesn’t help matters that they have an adolescent son named Bob who Mark unwisely turns over custody to his mentally unstable wife. Mark works as a spy for shady corporate bosses. He carries briefcases filled with cash and vials of non-disclosed liquids. This is no stay-at-home dad.

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Żuławski plays with emotional, physical, mental, social, and political spaces amid West Berlin’s guarded walls. Ominous danger and grotesque discoveries lurk everywhere. The city’s simultaneously modern and ancient architecture creates a menacing sense of queasy unrest. The city’s subway allows for a shockingly violent episode of bodily expression that contributed to Isabelle Adjani’s Best Actress win at Cannes in 1981. The deeply troubling scene is one of the most frightening episodes ever captured on film.  

Possession2

The duality of female nature gets thrown into forced perspective when Mark meets Anna’s [kind and sane] doppelgänger in the form of his son’s school teacher Helen (also played by Isabelle Adjani).

The division between the couple is as pronounced as the gigantic wall that divides the city. “Possession” skewers capitalism’s eternal methods of skullduggery along with the animal nature of human sexuality that, in this film, finds its level when Mark catches his wife having sex with a giant octopus.

Possession

The Polish filmmaker has famously called his movie “autobiographical,” which adds to the confusion of his only English language movie. “Possession” holds the watermark for the most bizarre cinematic experience you will ever have. No other film begins to approach the madness of romantic obsession and political oppression that this film does.

Colesmithey.comRated R. 124 mins. Five Stars
In episode four, Mike Lacy and I drink Flower Power IPA (Ithaca Brewing Co.) and discuss Andrzej Żuławski's 1981 psychological thriller POSSESSION. Bon appetite. 



POSSESSION

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COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity helps keep the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

February 09, 2018

WINCHESTER

WinchesterDefective from its conception, this would-be horror movie doesn’t take the bother to establish a compelling protagonist. Even taken as a generic haunted-house movie, “Winchester” dovetails suspense rather than building it, much less paying off the way Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” did.

Helen Mirren is mesmerizing in the title role of Sarah Winchester even if the screenwriters/directors (The Spierig Brothers) don’t give her much room to run. Clearly, Mirren’s matriarchal character should have been the story’s protagonist. Instead we get substitution in the guise of Jason Clarke’s heroin-addicted doctor Eric Price, sent by the Winchester company board to assess Ms. Winchester’s mental stability.

ColeSmithey.com

The mistress of the house has paranormal moments of clarity when she goes into a trance to diagram additions to the house that she is compulsively driven to have completed by a constant crew of workers. Ms. Winchester is constantly trapping the ghosts of people killed by her company’s firearms.

Winchester

“Winchester” wants to be a noble genre film that can be appreciated for its anti-gun message and theme. The fact that the film is based on a real life person, namely firearm heiress Sarah Winchester, hardly adds much narrative impact. Here is a promising premise that was mishandled. The problem lies in the structure, the plot, and the dialogue. Back to the drawing board boys.   

Rated PG-13. 99 mins.

1 Star

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity helps keep the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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