Insomnia File #39: Disclosure (dir by Barry Levinson)


What’s an Insomnia File? You know how some times you just can’t get any sleep and, at about three in the morning, you’ll find yourself watching whatever you can find on cable? This feature is all about those insomnia-inspired discoveries!

On Tuesday, if you were having trouble getting to sleep around one in the morning, you could have turned over to Cinemax and watched the 1994 film, Disclosure.

The majority of Disclosure takes place at DigiCorp, which is some sort of technology company that Bob Garvin (Donald Sutherland) founded because, as the movie explains it, he only has $100 million dollars but still dreams of being a billionaire someday.  With a huge merger approaching, Garvin announces that he will be promoting Meredith Johnson (Demi Moore) to run the new CD-ROM division.  This shocks a lot of people, as everyone was expecting the promotion to go to Tom Sanders (Michael Douglas).  However, Garvin explains that, ever since his daughter died, he’s wanted to promote a woman.

(Presumably, if a male relative had died, Tom would have gotten the promotion.  I have to admit that I kept waiting for the film to get back to the subject of Garvin’s dead daughter but, apparently, that was just an odd throw-away line.)

Tom and Meredith have a history.  They were once lovers, though Tom is now happily married to Susan (Caroline Goodall) and has a family.  Meredith takes one look at a picture of Susan and says that Tom must miss being able to take his lover from behind whenever he felt like it.  Tom says, “Mrs. Robinson,  you’re trying to seduce me.”  No, actually, he says, “No, no, no, no, no, no…..”  It all ends with Tom fleeing Meredith’s office while Meredith, in her bra, chases after him, shouting threats all the way.  The only witness to this is a cleaning lady who sadly shakes her head before returning to her dusting.

Tom is so traumatized by the experience that he has a bizarre nightmare in which Donald Sutherland says that he likes his suit and then attempts to lick his face.  Tom’s trauma continues when he goes to work the next day and discovers that Meredith has accused him of sexual harassment!  Tom responds by suing the company and it’s time for an epic courtroom battle, one that will deal with one of the most important issues of our time….

….except that never happens.  Here’s what is weird.  For all the talk about abuse of power and all the scenes of a remorseful Tom apologizing to both his wife and his secretary for his past behavior, the whole sexual harassment plot turns out to be a red herring.

Instead, the film turns into this weird techno thriller, one that involves Tom trying to figure out how to make a better CD-ROM.  That may have been a big deal back in 1994 but today, you watch the film and you think, “Who cares?”  (Even better is a scene where Garvin brags about how his company is on the cutting edge of fax technology.)  Once Tom realizes that Meredith only accused him of sexual harassment to keep him from building the perfect CD-ROM, we get a scene of him using a virtual reality headset to search through the companies files.  At one point, he spots a bot with Demi Moore’s face destroying files and he shouts out, “She’s in the system!”  It’s just strange.

The film’s plot is often incoherent but the cast keeps things amusing.  Michael Douglas spends the first half of the movie looking either annoyed or terrified.  Things pick up for him in the 2nd half of the movie.  Whenever he gets good news from his lawyer, he jumps up in the air and goes, “Yessssssss!” and it’s so dorky that it’s kind of endearing.  Meanwhile, Demi Moore doesn’t even try to make Meredith into a credible character, which is actually just the right approach to take to this material.  There’s no room for subtlety in a film as melodramatic as this.  Finally, Donald Sutherland is his usual avuncular self, smirking at all the right moments and suggesting that he finds the movie to be just as amusing as we do.  For all of its plot holes and problematic subtext, Disclosure is an entertainingly stupid film.  A lot of the credit for the entertaining part has to go to the cast.

As I said, Disclosure is just strange..  As with most films from the 90s, its sexual politics are all over the place.  On the one hand, Tom learns that even inadvertent sexism can make the women who wok with him feel unsafe.  On the other hand, the only woman with any hint of a personality is portrayed as being pure evil.  In no way, shape, or form is this a movie to be taken seriously.  Instead, this is just a weird film that cries out, “1994!”

Previous Insomnia Files:

  1. Story of Mankind
  2. Stag
  3. Love Is A Gun
  4. Nina Takes A Lover
  5. Black Ice
  6. Frogs For Snakes
  7. Fair Game
  8. From The Hip
  9. Born Killers
  10. Eye For An Eye
  11. Summer Catch
  12. Beyond the Law
  13. Spring Broke
  14. Promise
  15. George Wallace
  16. Kill The Messenger
  17. The Suburbans
  18. Only The Strong
  19. Great Expectations
  20. Casual Sex?
  21. Truth
  22. Insomina
  23. Death Do Us Part
  24. A Star is Born
  25. The Winning Season
  26. Rabbit Run
  27. Remember My Name
  28. The Arrangement
  29. Day of the Animals
  30. Still of The Night
  31. Arsenal
  32. Smooth Talk
  33. The Comedian
  34. The Minus Man
  35. Donnie Brasco
  36. Punchline
  37. Evita
  38. Six: The Mark Unleashed

2018 in Review: 10 Good Things That I Saw On Television


Moving right along with my look back at 2018, here are 10 good things that I saw on television.

Please note, I did not say that these were the ten “best” things on television in 2018.  Instead, these are ten things that I enjoyed enough that, in January of 2019, they still pop to my mind whenever I ask myself, “What did I enjoy last year?”  As always, this is just my opinion and you’re free to agree or disagree.

Got it?  Okay, let’s go!

  1. Showtime reran Twin Peaks: The Return

Okay, so maybe I’m cheating a little here.  Twin Peaks: The Return originally aired in 2017.  You may remember that, for about 6 months, the Shattered Lens essentially became a Twin Peaks fan site.  Still, I can’t begin to describe how excited I was to discover that, over the course of a weekend, Showtime would be reairing the entire series.  I binged every episode and I discovered that, even with the benefit of hindsight, it’s still one of the greatest shows of all time.  Unfortunately, the Emmy voters did not agree.  Bastards.

2. The Alienist 

It took me a little while to really get into The Alienist but, once I did, I found myself growing obsessed with not only the sets and the costumes but the mystery as well!  Daniel Bruhl, Luke Evans, and Dakota Fanning all did excellent work and I can’t wait for the sequel!

3. Jesus Christ Superstar Live

I was skeptical.  I had my doubts.  I thought I’d spend the entire two and a half hours rolling my eyes.  Jesus Christ Superstar proved me wrong.

4. The Americans

One of the best shows on television went out on a high note.

5. Barry

Barry premiered on HBO and it quickly became a favorite of mine.  While I agree that Bill Hader and Henry Winkler deserve all of the attention that they’ve received, I’d also say that Stephen Root continues to prove himself to be one of our greatest character actors.

6. Big Brother

The reality show that so many love to hate finally had another good season.  Since I get paid to write about the show for another site, that made me happy.  Seriously, some of the previous seasons were painful to watch so Big Brother 20 was a huge relief.  (Plus, BB 20 inspired everyone’s favorite twitter game: “Will Julie Chen Moonves show up tonight?”)

7. Maniac

As much fun as it is to complain about Netflix, occasionally they justify the price of their existence by giving us something like Maniac.

8. You

Sometimes, I loved this show.  Sometimes, I absolutely hated it.  However, I was always intrigued and never bored.  I can’t wait to see what happens during season 2.

9. Trust

For all the attention that was given to The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Trust was the best FX true crime series of 2018.  Along with an intriguing story, it also featured great performances from Donald Sutherland, Hillary Swank, and Brendan Fraser.  (Yes, Brendan Fraser.)

10. Westworld

I know a lot of people didn’t care much for the latest season of Westworld.  I loved it and, in the end, isn’t that what really matters?

That’s it for television!  Coming up next, it’s the entry in Lisa’s look back at 2018 that we’ve all been waiting for, my picks for the best 26 films of the year!

Lisa Looks Back At 2018

  1. Ten Worst Films of 2018
  2. Best of Lifetime
  3. Best of Syfy
  4. 10 Favorite Novels
  5. 12 Favorite Non-Fiction Books
  6. 10 Favorite Songs

 

 

Horror Film Review: Buffy the Vampire (dir by Fran Rubel Kuzui)


Watching this movie was such a strange experience.

Now, of course, I say that as someone who grew up watching and loving the television version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Back when Buffy was on TV, I was always aware that the character had first been introduced in a movie but every thing I read about Buffy said that the movie wasn’t worth watching.  It was a part of the official Buffy mythology that Joss Whedon was so unhappy with what was done to his original script that he pretty much ignored the film when he created the show.

So, yes, the 1992 movie version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer showed how Buffy first learned that she was a slayer, how she fought a bunch of vampires in Los Angeles, and how her first watcher met his end.  But still, Joss Whedon was always quick to say that the film should not be considered canonical.  Whenever anyone on the TV show mentioned anything from Buffy’s past, they were referencing Joss Whedon’s original script as opposed to the film that was eventually adapted from that script.  (For instance, on the tv series, everyone knew that Buffy’s previous school burned down.  That was from Whedon’s script.  However, 20th Century Fox balked at making a film about a cheerleader who burns down her school so, at the end of the film version, the school is still standing and romance is in the air.)  In short, the film existed but it really didn’t matter.  In fact, to be honest, it almost felt like watching the movie would somehow be a betrayal of everything that made the televisions series special.

Myself, I didn’t bother to watch the film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer until several years after the television series was canceled and, as I said at the start of the review, it was a strange experience.  The movie is full of hints of what would make the television series so memorable but none of them are really explored.  Yes, Buffy (played here by Kristy Swanson) has to balance being a teenager with being a vampire slayer but, in the film, it turns out to be surprisingly easy to do.  Buffy is just as happy to be a vampire slayer as she is to be a cheerleader.  In fact, one of the strange things about the film is just how quickly and easily Buffy accepts the idea that there are vampires feeding on her classmates and that it’s her duty to destroy them.  Buffy’s watcher is played by Donald Sutherland and the main vampire is played by Rutger Hauer, two veteran actors who could have played these roles in their sleep and who appear to do so for much of the film.  As for Buffy’s love interest, he’s a sensitive rebel named Oliver Pike (Luke Perry).  On the one hand, it’s fun to see the reversal of traditional gender roles, with Oliver frequently helpless and needing to be saved by Buffy.  On the other hand, Perry and Swanson have next to no chemistry so it’s a bit difficult to really get wrapped up in their relationship.

I know I keep coming back to this but watching the movie version of Buffy is a strange experience.  It’s not bad but it’s just not Buffy.  It’s like some sort of weird, mirror universe version of Buffy, where Buffy starts her slaying career as a senior in high school and she never really has to deal with being an outcast or anything like that.  (One gets the feeling that the movie’s Buffy wouldn’t have much to do with the Scooby Gang.  Nor would she have ever have fallen for Angel.)  Kristy Swanson gives a good performance as the film version of Buffy, though the character is not allowed to display any of the nuance or the quick wit that made the television version a role model for us all.  Again it’s not that Buffy the movie is terrible or anything like that.  It’s just not our Buffy!

Horror Film Review: Don’t Look Now (dir by Nicolas Roeg)


Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie in Don’t Look Now (1973)

I have to admit that I’m actually a bit embarrassed to say that Venice is my favorite city in Italy.

I mean, it’s such a cliché, isn’t it?  Tourists always fall in love with Venice, even though the majority of us really don’t know much about the city beyond the canals and the gondolas.  I spent a summer in Italy and Venice was definitely the city that had the most American visitors.  Sadly, the majority of them didn’t do a very good job representing the U.S. in Europe.  I’ll never forget the drunk frat boys who approached me one night, all wearing University of Texas t-shirts.  One of them asked, “Are you from Texas?”

“No,” I lied.

“You sound like you’re from Texas!” his friend said.

“No, ah’m not from Texas,” I said, “Sorry, y’all.”

I mean, that’s not something that would have happened in Florence or even Naples!  In Rome, handsome men on motor scooters gave me flowers.  In Venice, on the other hand, I had to deal with the same assholes that I dealt with back home!

That said, I still fell in love with Venice.  And yes, it did happen while riding in a gondola.  At that moment, I felt like I was living in a work of art.  I can still remember looking over the side of the gondola and watching as a small crab ran across someone’s front porch.  That’s when I realize that, by its very existence, Venice proved that anything was possible.

I’ve often heard that Venice is slowly sinking.  That Venice has a reputation as being a dying city would probably have come to a surprise to the drunk Americans who were just looking for a girl from Texas that summer.  And yet, Venice has always been associated with death.  Just consider Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice and the subsequent film adaptation from Luchino Visconti.  Consider the controversial Giallo in Venice.  And, of course, you can’t forget about the 1973 film, Don’t Look Now.

Oh my God, Don’t Look Now is a creepy movie.  It’s probably best known for two things: the lengthy sex scene between Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland (which was apparently quite controversial back in 1973 but which seems rather tame when viewed today) and the film’s shock ending.  It’s one of the best and most disturbing endings in the history of horror and I’m not going to spoil it in this review.  The first time I saw the movie, the ending caught me totally off guard and gave me nightmares.  Admittedly, it’s not hard to give me nightmares but what’s remarkable is that, upon subsequent viewings, the ending is still just as frightening and disturbing.  In fact, knowing what’s going to happen makes the film even more chilling.

The film’s story is actually a rather simple one.  After their daughter, Christine, accidentally drowns, John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura Baxter (Julie Christie) take a trip to Venice.  Though they’re in Venice so that John can restore an ancient church, both John and Laura are mostly trying to escape their grief.  Laura meets a blind woman, Heather (Hilary Mason), who claims to not only be a psychic but who also says that she can see Christine in the afterlife.  Laura believes Heather and is concerned when Heather says that Christine wants them to leave Venice.  John, on the other hand, believes that Heather is a fake.

When the Baxters get a phone call informing them that their son has taken ill, Laura flies back to the UK.  Or does she?  One day, John spots his wife riding on a boat with Heather and her sister.  Has Heather abducted or brainwashed his wife?  When John goes to the police, they are as skeptical of him as he was of Heather.  In fact, they start to suspect that John may have something to do with a recent rash of murders.

Confused, John searches Venice for his wife but, instead of finding her, he spots a figure in the distance.  It appears to be a young child, one who is wearing the same red coat that Christine was wearing when she drowned….

It’s a simple story but it’s told in a very complex fashion.  Director Nicolas Roeg is best known for his fragmented narrative style.  Roeg often mashes together scenes from the past, present, and future and leaves it up to the viewer to put it all together.  (For instance, in Don’t Look Now, scenes of John and Laura making love are intercut with scenes of them getting dressed afterward.)  Roeg’s style that can often come across as being pretentious but, in Don’t Look Now, it works perfectly.  The audience is kept off-balance and is always aware that that’s more than one possible interpretation for everything that is seen.  Is Laura in the UK or is she on a boat in Venice?  Is Heather seeing Christine or is she just trying to con a grieving mother?  Is John chasing the figure in the red coat or is she actually the one pursuing him?  Is John chasing the figure because he believes that she’s his daughter or because he wants to prove, once and for all, that Christine is gone and never coming back?  Roeg keeps you guessing.

Death seems to permeate every frame of Don’t Look Now, whether it’s Heather’s cheery descriptions of the afterlife or the sight of a bloated corpse being pulled out of the canal.  Even when John is working in the church, he still nearly slips off a scaffolding.  While John restores ancient buildings to the vibrant glories of the past, the present seems to grow more and more ominous and menacing.  John and Laura may have traveled to Venice to escape their grief but their grief follows them.  How they deal with that grief — both as a couple and as individuals — is what determines their fate.  For a film that is full of mysteries, none is as enigmatic as Julie Christie’s smile when she’s on the boat.

I’m probably making Don’t Look Now sound like an incredibly grim film and, to a certain extent, it is.  After all, early 70s cinema is not known for its happy endings.  And yet, as dark and disturbing as this film may be, it’s impossible to look away from.  Roeg does a fantastic job capturing both the beauty and the decay of Venice while Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are so sympathetic as John and Laura that you find yourself rewatching and hoping that somehow, they don’t end up making the same mistakes that they made the last time that you watched.

Don’t Look Now is an essential horror film and one that’s as timeless as the sight of a crab running across someone’s front porch.

What If Lisa Had All The Power: 2018 Emmys Edition


Hi, everyone!

I meant to do this a lot earlier in the month but with the combination of the 4th of July and some other things I had to attend to, I didn’t get the chance until now.  In just a few hours, the 2018 Emmy nominations will be announced.  Hopefully, it’ll be a good morning for Twin Peaks!

Anyway, here’s who and what I would nominate in the major Emmy categories if I had all the power.  Please notice that I just said major categories.  There’s like hundreds of different Emmy categories, the majority of which aren’t ever awarded during the prime time awards show.  As much as I’d love to post every single category, it’s late and I’m not sure that you really care who I think should win Outstanding Art Direction For An Informational Program, 30 Minutes Or Shorter.

Anyway, here are my picks.  Obviously, I’ve only nominated films and TV shows that I actually watched during the 2017-2018 season.  For the most part, I also limited myself to the shows and performers that have actually been submitted for Emmy consideration.  You can see a full list of all the submissions here.

Anyway, here are my nominees.  (Winners are in bold.)

Programming

Best Comedy Series

Atlanta,

Barry,

Brooklyn Nine-Nine,

The End of the Fucking World,

GLOW,

New Girl,

Silicon Valley,

Young Sheldon

Best Drama Series

The Americans,

Game of Thrones,

The Crown

Legion,

Ozark,

Stranger Things,

Trust,

Westworld

Outstanding Limited Series

The Alienist,

American Vandal,

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,

Genius: Picasso,

Howard’s End,

Picnic at Hanging Rock,

The Terror,

Twin Peaks: The Return

Outstanding Television Movie

(I cheated with this category.  Jesus Christ Superstar was submitted in the category of Outstanding Variety Special.  I felt it belonged here and since it’s my list, I went with it.)

Cocaine Godmother,

I Am Elizabeth Smart,

Jesus Christ Superstar,

Psych: The Movie,

Sharknado 5,

The Tale,

USS Calllister (Black Mirror)

When Love Kills: The Falacia Blakely Story

Outstanding Reality Competition Program

The Amazing Race,

The Bachelorette,

Big Brother: Celebrity Edition,

Dancing With The Stars,

Hell’s Kitchen,

Project Runway,

Survivor,

World of Dance

 

Performers

Best Actor (Comedy)

Bruce Campbell in Ash Vs. Evil Dead

Donald Glover in Atlanta

Bill Hader in Barry

Pete Holmes in Crashing

Alex Lawther in The End of the Fucking World

Andy Samberg in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Best Actor (Drama)

Jason Bateman in Ozark

Tom Ellis in Lucifer

James Franco in The Deuce

Ed Harris in Westworld

Donald Sutherland in Trust

Jeffrey Wright in Westworld

Best Actor (Limited Series)

Antonio Banderas in Genius: Picasso

Daniel Bruhl in The Alienist

Darren Criss in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Tyler Kitsch in Waco

Kyle MacLachlan in Twin Peaks: The Return

Jimmy Tatro in American Vandal

Best Actor (Movie)

Matthew Broderick in A Christmas Story Live!

Dule Hill in Psych: The Movie

John Legend in Jesus Christ Superstar

Al Pacino in Paterno

Jesse Plemons in USS Callister (Black Mirror)

James Roday in Psych: The Movie

Best Actress (Comedy)

Jessica Barden in The End Of The Fucking World

Melissa Barrera in Vida

Alison Brie in GLOW

Zooey Deschanel in New Girl

Justina Machado in One Day At A Time

Ella Purnell in Sweetbitter

Best Actress (Drama)

Claire Danes in Homeland

Claire Foy in The Crown

Rose McIver in iZombie

Krysten Ritter in Marvel’s Jessica Jones

Keri Russell in The Americans

Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld

Best Actress (Limited Series)

Hayley Atwell in Howard’s End

Natalie Dormer in Picnic at Hanging Rock

Jennifer Ferrin Mosiac

Anna Friel in The Girlfriend Experience

Sarah Gadon in Alias Grace

Louisa Krause in The Girlfriend Experience

Best Actress (Movie)

Alana Boden in I Am Elizabeth Smart

Laura Dern in The Tale

Parisa Fitz-Henley in Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance

Kelly MacDonald in The Child In Time (Masterpiece Theater)

Maya Rudolph in A Christmas Story Live!

Catherine Zeta-Jones in Cocaine Godmother

Best Supporting Actor (Comedy)

Andre Braugher in Brooklyn Nine Nine

Brian Tyree Henry in Atlanta

Marc Maron in GLOW

Stephen Root in Barry

Henry Winkler in Barry

Zach Woods in Silicon Valley

Best Supporting Actor (Drama)

Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones

Noah Emmerich in The Americans

Brendan Fraser in Trust

James Marsden in Westworld

Zahn McClarnon in Westworld

Matt Smith in The Crown

Best Supporting Actor (Limited Series)

Tyler Alvarez in American Vandal

Miguel Ferrer in Twin Peaks: The Return

Robert Forster in Twin Peaks: The Return

Michael Horse in Twin Peaks: The Return

David Lynch in Twin Peaks: The Return

Finn Wittrock in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Best Supporting Actor (Movie)

Corbin Bernsen in Psych: The Movie

Brandon Victor Dixon in Jesus Christ Superstar

Aldis Hodge in Black Museum (Black Mirror)

Jason Ritter in The Tale

Jimmi Simpson in USS Callister (Black Mirror)

Skeet Ulrich in I Am Elizabeth Smart

Best Supporting Actress (Comedy)

Stephanie Beartriz in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Suzanne Cryer in Silicon Valley

Sarah Goldberg in Barry

Rita Moreno in One Day At A Time

Zoe Perry in Young Sheldon

Hannah Simone in New Girl

Best Supporting Actress (Drama)

Summer Bishil in The Magicians

Lena Headey in Game of Thrones

Margo Martindale in The Americans

Thandie Newton in Westworld

Aubrey Plaza in Legion

Tessa Thompson in Westworld

Best Supporting Actress (Limited Series)

Penelope Cruz in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Laura Dern in Twin Peaks: The Return

Dakota Fanning in The Alienist

Judith Light in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Julia Ormond in Howards End

Naomi Watts in Twin Peaks: The Return

Best Supporting Actress (Movie)

Sara Bareilles in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert

Ellen Burstyn in The Tale

Michaela Coel in USS Callister (Black Mirror)

Anna Gasteyer in A Christmas Story Live!

Anjelica Huston in The Watcher In The Woods

Letitia Wright in Black Museum (Black Mirror)

Best Guest Actor (Comedy)

Bill Burr in Crashing

Josh Hamilton in Sweetbitter

Lee Majors in Ash vs. Evil Dead

Wallace Shawn in Young Sheldon

Danny Trejo in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Gerald Webb in Barry

Best Guest Actor (Drama)

Michael C. Hall in The Crown

C. Thomas Howell in Marvel’s The Punisher

Matthew Modine in Stranger Things

Denis O’Hare in American Masters

Jimmi Simpson in Westworld

Jonathan Tucker in Westworld

Best Guest Actress (Comedy)

Gail Bean in Atlanta

Rashida Jones in Portlandia

Nasim Pedrad in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Sheridan Piece in One Day At A Time

Elizabeth Perkins in GLOW

Wrenn Schmidt in Sweetbitter

Best Guest Actress (Drama)

Jodi Balfour in The Crown

Donatella Finocchiaro in Trust

Marlee Matlin in The Magicians

Lily Rabe in Legion 

Diana Rigg in Game of Thrones

Mageina Tovah in The Magicians

A Movie A Day #340: Eye of the Needle (1981, directed by Richard Marquand)


The time is World War II, shortly before D-Day.  Lucy Rose (Kate Nelligan) lives on an isolated island with her crippled husband, David (Christopher Cazenove), their young son, and a sheep herder named Tom (Alex McCrindle).  Embittered by the accident that left him in a wheelchair, David is abusively violent and emotionally shut off.  One night, during a sudden storm, a man who says his name is Henry Faber (Donald Sutherland) turns up on the island.  Henry claims that the storm caught him by surprise and left him stranded.  David doesn’t trust him and it turns out that, for once, David is right.  Faber is actually a semi-legendary German spy, code-named The Needle because his preferred instrument of murder is a stiletto.  Faber has discovered the plans for the Allied Invasion of Normandy.  He’s only on the island because he is waiting for a German u-boat to arrive and take him back to Berlin.  Complicating matters is that a romance has developed between Faber and Lucy.

Based on a novel by Ken Follett, Eye of the Needle is an old-fashioned spy thriller, distinguished by Kate Nelligan’s sensual turn as Lucy and Donald Sutherland giving what might be his career best performance in the role of Henry Faber.  Until he meets Lucy, Faber is a remorseless sociopath who is willing to kill anyone who discovers the truth about his identity.  For the majority of the film, it is left ambiguous whether Faber loves Lucy or if he’s just using her and Sutherland plays the role as if Faber himself is not really sure.  The final confrontation between Faber and Lucy is both suspenseful and exciting and will convince you to never stick your hand through a window unless you’re sure about what’s on the other side.  Eye of the Needle is a World War II thriller that deserves to be better known.

Following the success of this film, Richard Marquand was hired to direct Return of the Jedi.a film that is light years away from the gloomy world portrayed in Eye of the Needle.  He later directed another well-regarded thriller, Jagged Edge, before passing away from a stroke in 1987 at the age of 49.

Halloween Havoc!: DIE! DIE! MY DARLING! (Columbia/Hammer 1965)


cracked rear viewer

Miss Tallulah Bankhead  jumped on the “Older Women Do Horror” bandwagon with 1965’s DIE! DIE! MY DARLING!, a deliciously dark piece of British horror from the good folks at Hammer. It was Tallulah’s first screen appearance since 1953’s MAIN STREET TO BROADWAY, and the veteran actress is a ball of fire and brimstone playing the mad Mrs. Trefoile, a feisty religious fanatic who locks up her late son’s former fiancé in an attic room in order to save her mortal soul.

Things start out innocently enough, as American Patricia Carroll (Stefanie Powers) travels to England to be with her new fiancé Alan Glentower (Maurice Kaufman). She’s received a letter from her deceased ex’s mother and agrees to pay her a visit, despite Alan’s protestations. Driving to Mrs. Trefoile’s ramshackle old farmhouse, Pat discovers the old woman’s more than a bit odd, holding daily church service for her servants, dressing all…

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