Monthly Archives: September 1988

DEAD RINGERS

Dead Ringers is a creepy, semi-erotic and pretty unsettling little psychological horror film.

The film stars Jeremy Irons in dual roles as twin gynecologists Elliott and Beverly (yes) Mantle, a couple of sociopathic Toronto natives who each pursue lust with a pill-popping French actress (Genevieve Bujold) and chase each other into drug addiction and madness.

The film was directed by David Cronenberg, the reigning master of all things skin-burrowing. Cronenberg’s work here is neither as nasty as his early efforts (The Brood, Shivers) nor as watchably disturbing as The Dead Zone, Videodrome, etc.

Adapted from a novel called Twins, co-written by Bari Wood (the author of Doll’s Eyes), the film moves at a snail’s pace through macabre visuals, and nothing on screen (in plot or otherwise) is nearly as interesting as the mesmerizing Irons. His “twin” performances are the sole reasons to see this film.

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MATADOR

NC_17, 110 min, 1986

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writers: Pedro Almodóvar (story), Jesús Ferrero (screenplay) & Pedro Almodóvar (screenplay)
Stars: Assumpta Serna, Antonio Banderas, Nacho Martínez

Pedro Almodovar’s Matador is a noir-tinged, perversely and vibrantly sexual, twisted, pitch-black comedy, a tale of serial killers, psychosexual fetishes and bull-fighting which takes a late, bizarre turn toward the Lynchian. Continue reading

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RUNNING ON EMPTY

Sidney Lumet takes elements which would be right at home in a tense, tightly-wound thriller and brings them (via a wonderful screenplay by Naomi Foner) into a tense, astonishingly thoughtful domestic drama. River Phoenix stars as Danny Pope, the almost-college-age son of Arthur and Annie Pope (Christine Lahti and Judd Hirsch, both terrific here), a couple of former revolutionaries in hiding after their 1971 bombing of a U.S. Military napalm factory during the Vietnam War. Upon relocating once again (to suburban New Jersey this time), the Popes change their names and dispense with their past. Danny, understandably, falls for his music teacher’s black sheep of a daughter (Martha Plimpton), and wants to stop running. Lumet directs with subtlety and grace, allowing the script and the cast to do the heavy lifting – and they all make it look effortless. Affecting and powerful stuff to rank with Lumet’s very best!

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