A Movie A Day #292: The Bride (1985, directed by Franc Roddam)


The Bride opens where most films about Frankenstein and his monster end.

The Baron (played by fucking Sting, of all people) has agreed to create a bride for his creation, who in this movie is named Viktor and played by Clancy Brown.  Jennifer Beals plays the Bride, who is named Eva.  Eva looks like a normal, beautiful wielder-turned-dancer so when she first sees Viktor, she screams.  Viktor gets upset and starts to trash the laboratory.  “Don’t be impertinent!’ snaps the Baron’s assistant (Quentin Crisp).  A fire breaks out.  Quentin Crisp dies and so does another assistant played by Timothy Spall.  The monster escapes.  The Baron takes Eva into his household.  The Baron is obsessed with controlling Eva, who wants her independence and who has fallen in love with Cary Elwes.  When Eva sees a cat, she screams.  “You never told me about cats,” she tells the Baron, “I thought it was a tiny lion!”

The rest of the movie is a bewildering collection of cameos from respected thespians forced to recite some of the worst dialogue in film history.  Viktor befriends Rinaldo the dwarf (David Rappaport), who tells Viktor about how much he dreams of one day seeing Venice.  After Rinaldo is murdered by Alexei Sayle, Viktor swears that he will go to Venice and he will take Eva with him.

(Timothy Spall,  Quentin Crisp, and Alexei Sayle are not the only British performers to be strangely miscast in The Bride.  Keep an eye out for Phil Daniels, Ken Campbell, and Tony Haygarth, all wasted in small roles.)

The Bride attempts to put a revisionist, feminist spin on the story of Frankenstein but it ultimately just looks like a two hour Duran Duran video, with a guest vocals provided by Sting.  The scenes with Clancy Brown and David Rappaport work but otherwise, every important role is miscast.  Jennifer Beals is monotonous as the Bride and Sting never comes close to suggesting that he is capable of the type of mad genius that would be necessary to create life.  When it comes to the Bride of Frankenstein, stick with the original.

One final note: Both Sting and Phil Daniels also appeared in a much better film from Franc Roddam, Quadrophenia.  I recommend seeing Quadrophenia almost as much as I recommend forgetting about The Bride.

Playing Catch-Up With The Films of 2016: Alice Through The Looking Glass, Gods of Egypt, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Me Before You, Mother’s Day, Risen


Here are six mini-reviews of six films that I saw in 2016!

Alice Through The Looking Glass (dir by James Bobin)

In a word — BORING!

Personally, I’ve always thought that, as a work of literature, Through The Looking Glass is actually superior to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  That’s largely because Through The Looking Glass is a lot darker than Wonderland and the satire is a lot more fierce.  You wouldn’t know that from watching the latest film adaptation, though.  Alice Through The Looking Glass doesn’t really seem to care much about the source material.  Instead, it’s all about making money and if that means ignoring everything that made the story a classic and instead turning it into a rip-off of every other recent blockbuster, so be it.  At times, I wondered if I was watching a film based on Lewis Carroll or a film based on Suicide Squad.  Well, regardless, the whole enterprise is way too cynical to really enjoy.

(On the plus side, the CGI is fairly well-done.  If you listen, you’ll hear the voice of Alan Rickman.)

Gods of Egypt (dir by Alex Proyas)

I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to describing the plot of Gods of Egypt.  This was one of the most confusing films that I’ve ever seen but then again, I’m also not exactly an expert when it comes to Egyptian mythology.  As far as I could tell, it was about Egyptian Gods fighting some sort of war with each other but I was never quite sure who was who or why they were fighting or anything else.  My ADHD went crazy while I was watching Gods of Egypt.  There were so much plot and so many superfluous distractions that I couldn’t really concentrate on what the Hell was actually going on.

But you know what?  With all that in mind, Gods of Egypt is still not as bad as you’ve heard.  It’s a big and ludicrous film but ultimately, it’s so big and so ludicrous that it becomes oddly charming.  Director Alex Proyas had a definite vision in mind when he made this film and that alone makes Gods of Egypt better than some of the other films that I’m reviewing in this post.

Is Gods of Egypt so bad that its good?  I wouldn’t necessarily say that.  Instead, I would say that it’s so ludicrous that it’s unexpectedly watchable.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War (dir by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan)

Bleh.  Who cares?  I mean, I hate to put it like that but The Huntsman: Winter’s War felt pretty much like every other wannabe blockbuster that was released in April of last year.  Big battles, big cast, big visuals, big production but the movie itself was way too predictable to be interesting.

Did we really need a follow-up to Snow White and The Huntsman?  Judging by this film, we did not.

Me Before You (dir by Thea Sharrock)

Me Before You was assisted suicide propaganda, disguised as a Nicolas Sparks-style love story.  Emilia Clarke is hired to serve as a caregiver to a paralyzed and bitter former banker played by Sam Claflin.  At first they hate each other but then they love each other but it may be too late because Claflin is determined to end his life in Switzerland.  Trying to change his mind, Clarke tries to prove to him that it’s a big beautiful world out there.  Claflin appreciates the effort but it turns out that he really, really wants to die.  It helps, of course, that Switzerland is a really beautiful and romantic country.  I mean, if you’re going to end your life, Switzerland is the place to do it.  Take that, Sea of Trees.

Anyway, Me Before You makes its points with all the subtlety and nuance of a sledge-hammer that’s been borrowed from the Final Exit Network.  It doesn’t help that Clarke and Claflin have next to no chemistry.  Even without all the propaganda, Me Before You would have been forgettable.  The propaganda just pushes the movie over the line that separates mediocre from terrible.

Mother’s Day (dir by Garry Marshall)

Y’know, the only reason that I’ve put off writing about how much I hated this film is because Garry Marshall died shortly after it was released and I read so many tweets and interviews from people talking about what a nice and sincere guy he was that I actually started to feel guilty for hating his final movie.

But seriously, Mother’s Day was really bad.  This was the third of Marshall’s holiday films.  All three of them were ensemble pieces that ascribed a ludicrous amount of importance to one particular holiday.  None of them were any good, largely because they all felt like cynical cash-ins.  If you didn’t see Valentine’s Day, you hated love.  If you didn’t see New Year’s Eve, you didn’t care about the future of the world.  And if you didn’t see Mother’s Day … well, let’s just not go there, okay?

Mother’s Day takes place in Atlanta and it deals with a group of people who are all either mothers or dealing with a mother.  The ensemble is made up of familiar faces — Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, and others! — but nobody really seems to be making much of an effort to act.  Instead, they simple show up, recite a few lines in whatever their trademark style may be, and then cash their paycheck.  The whole thing feels so incredibly manipulative and shallow and fake that it leaves you wondering if maybe all future holidays should be canceled.

I know Garry Marshall was a great guy but seriously, Mother’s Day is just the worst.

(For a far better movie about Mother’s Day, check out the 2010 film starring Rebecca De Mornay.)

Risen (dir by Kevin Reynolds)

As far as recent Biblical films go, Risen is not that bad.  It takes place shortly after the Crucifixion and stars Joseph Fiennes as a Roman centurion who is assigned to discover why the body of Jesus has disappeared from its tomb.  You can probably guess what happens next.  The film may be a little bit heavy-handed but the Roman Empire is convincingly recreated, Joseph Fiennes gives a pretty good performance, and Kevin Reynolds keeps the action moving quickly.  As a faith-based film that never becomes preachy, Risen is far superior to something like God’s Not Dead 2.

 

 

The National Society Of Film Critics Honors Goodbye to Language!


Goodbye to Lanugage

Earlier today, the National Society of Film Critics announced their picks for the best films of 2014!  By one vote, they named Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye To Language as best picture of the year.

Thank you, National Society of Film Critics, for reminding us that, occasionally, unexpected things do happen!

Check out the winners and the runner-ups below!

BEST PICTURE
*1. Goodbye to Language 25 (Jean-Luc Godard)
2. Boyhood 24 (Richard Linklater)
3. Birdman 10 (Alejandro G. Iñárritu)
3. Mr. Turner 10 (Mike Leigh)
BEST DIRECTOR
*1. Richard Linklater 36 (Boyhood)
2. Jean-Luc Godard 17  (Goodbye to Language)
3. Mike Leigh 12 (Mr. Turner)
BEST NON-FICTION FILM
*1. Citizenfour 56 (Laura Poitras)
2. National Gallery 19 (Frederick Wiseman)
3. The Overnighters 17 (Jesse Moss)
BEST SCREENPLAY
*1. The Grand Budapest Hotel 24 (Wes Anderson)
2. Inherent Vice 15 (Paul Thomas Anderson)
2. Birdman 15 (four co-writers)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
*1. Mr. Turner 33 (Dick Pope)
2. The Immigrant 27 (Darius Khondji)
3. Goodbye to Language 9 (Fabrice Aragno)
BEST ACTOR
*1.Timothy Spall 31 (Mr. Turner)
2. Tom Hardy 10 (Locke)
3. Joaquin Phoenix 9  (Inherent Vice)
3. Ralph Fiennes 9 (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
BEST ACTRESS
*1. Marion Cotillard  80 (Two Days, One Night)
2.  Julianne Moore 35 (Still Alice)
3. Scarlett Johansson 21 (Lucy; Under the Skin)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
*1. J.K. Simmons 24  (Whiplash)
2. Mark Ruffalo 21 (Foxcatcher)
3. Edward Norton 16 (Birdman)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
*1. Patricia Arquette 26 (Boyhood)
2. Agata Kulesza 18 (Ida)
3. Rene Russo 9 (Nightcrawler)

Here Are The Online Film Critics Society Nominations!


Film Review Under the Skin

The Online Film Critics Society announced their nominees for the best of 2014 earlier today and what can I say other than the fact that I love them!  Seriously, it’s such a wonderful mix of the expected (Boyhood, Selma) and the unexpected (Ida, Mommy).

If the Oscar nominations look anything like the OFCS nominations, then it will be a very interesting night.  (Unfortunately, they probably won’t…)

(h/t to awardwatch)

Best Picture 
Boyhood 
The Grand Budapest Hotel 
Ida 
The Lego Movie 
Mommy 
Nightcrawler 
Selma 
Two Days, One Night 
Whiplash 
Under the Skin 

Best Animated Feature 
Big Hero 6 
The Boxtrolls 
How to Train Your Dragon 2 
The Lego Movie 
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya 

Best Film Not in the English Language 
Ida 
The Missing Picture 
Mommy 
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya 
Two Days, One Night 

Best Documentary 
Citizenfour 
Life Itself 
The Missing Picture 
National Gallery 
The Overnighters 

Best Director 
Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel 
Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne – Two Days, One Night 
Ava DuVernay – Selma
Jonathan Glazer – Under the Skin 
Richard Linklater – Boyhood

Best Actor 
Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Brendan Gleeson – Calvary
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler 
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Timothy Spall – Mr. Turner 

Best Actress 
Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night 
Essie Davis – The Babadook 
Anne Dorval – Mommy
Julianne Moore – Still Alice 
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl 

Best Supporting Actor 
Josh Brolin – Inherent Vice 
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year 
Suzanne Clément – Mommy
Agata Kulesza – Ida
Tilda Swinton – Snowpiercer

Best Original Screenplay
Boyhood 
The Grand Budapest Hotel 
Selma 
Two Days, One Night 
Whiplash 

Best Adapted Screenplay 
Gone Girl 
Inherent Vice 
Snowpiercer 
Under the Skin 
We Are the Best! 

Best Editing 
Birdman 
Boyhood 
Gone Girl 
The Grand Budapest Hotel 
Whiplash

Best Cinematography 
Birdman 
The Grand Budapest Hotel 
Ida 
Mr. Turner 
Under the Skin 

Best Non-U.S. Release (non-competitive category)
’71 ,
10,000 km ,
Entre Nós ,
Han Gong-ju ,
Hard to Be a God ,
The Look of Silence ,
The Salt of the Earth ,
What We Do in the Shadows ,
Timbuktu ,
The Tribe

Mommy

The Boston Society of Film Critics Have Spoken!


marion cotillard

Earlier today the Boston Society of Film Critics (not to be confused with Boston Online Film Critics) announced their picks for the best of 2014!  Among the winners: Boyhood, Richard Linklater, Marion Cotillard (who is suddenly starting to look like she might be the new front-runner for best actress), and J.K. Simmons (who is probably about as much a sure thing as anyone or anything could be this year).

The winners are listed below!

(h/t to awardswatch.)

Best Picture
Winner: BOYHOOD
Runner up: BIRDMAN

Best Director
Winner: Richard Linklater, BOYHOOD
Runner up: Clint Eastwood, AMERICAN SNIPER

Best Actor
Winner: Michael Keaton, BIRDMAN
Runner up: Timothy Spall, MR. TURNER

Best Actress
Winner: Marion Cotillard, THE IMMIGRANT and TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT
Runner up: Hilary Swank, THE HOMESMAN

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: J.K. Simmons, WHIPLASH
Runner up: Edward Norton, BIRDMAN

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Emma Stone, BIRDMAN
Runner up: Laura Dern, WILD

Best Screenplay
Winner: Armando Bo, Alexander Dinelaris, Nicolas Giabone and Alejandro G. Iñárritu, BIRDMAN and Richard Linklater, BOYHOOD (tie)
Runner up: MR. TURNER

Best Cinematography
Winner: Emmanuel Lubezki, BIRDMAN
Runner up: Dick Pope, MR. TURNER

Best Film Editing
Winner: Sandra Adair, BOYHOOD
Runner up: Joel Cox and Gary Roach, AMERICAN SNIPER

Best Animated Film
Winner: The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Runner-up: The LEGO Movie

Best Foreign Language Film
Winner: TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT
Runner up:

Best Documentary
Winner: Citizenfour
Runner up: Jodorowsky’s Dune

Best Ensemble Cast
Winner: BOYHOOD
Runner up: BIRDMAN

Best Use of Music in Film
Winner: INHERENT VICE
Runner up: WHIPLASH

Best New Filmmaker
Winner: Dan Gilroy, NIGHTCRAWLER
Runner up: Gillian Robespierre, OBVIOUS CHILD

Here Are The New York Film Critics’ Circle Winners!


Marion Cotillard in The Immigrant

Oscar season is upon us!  December is the time of month when critics across the nation attempt to influence the Oscar race by announcing their picks for the best of 2014!

Up first, the New York Film Critics’ Circle!  They announced their picks earlier today and, while no one is surprised to see Boyhood take best picture, a lot of observers (including me) were surprised for the awards for Timothy Spall and Marion Cotillard.  Spall, of course, had been an early contender for his performance in Mr. Turner but, as of late, he had been overshadowed by Michael Keaton and others.  As for Cotillard, she was on hardly anyone’s radar.  It’ll be interesting to see if her win here is a fluke or if it’s the start of a successful nomination campaign.

Here are the winners!

BEST PICTURE
“Boyhood”

BEST DIRECTOR
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

BEST ACTOR
Timothy Spall, “Mr. Turner”

BEST ACTRESS
Marion Cotillard, “The Immigrant” and “Two Days, One Night”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

BEST SCREENPLAY
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Darius Khondji, “The Immigrant”

BEST ANIMATED FILM
“The Lego Movie”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Ida” (Poland)

BEST NON-FICTION FEATURE
“CitizenFour”

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Jennifer Kent, “The Babadook”

SPECIAL AWARD
Adrienne Mancia

Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh's Mr Turner

It’s Time For Lisa Marie’s Early Oscar Predictions for August!


theory-of-everything-new

Every month, around this time, I post my early Oscar predictions.  These predictions are based on random guesses, early buzz, and gut instinct.  Originally, I referred to these as being my way too early Oscar predictions but, now that we’re in August, they are merely early.

Below you can find my latest set of predictions.  The main change for this month is that I’ve factored in the fact that, based on the trailer, it looks like The Theory of Everything will be a definite contender.

And feel free to check out my predictions for March, April, May, June, and July!

 

Best Picture

Birdman

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

The Imitation Game

Interstellar

The Theory of Everything

Unbroken

Whiplash

Wild

 

Best Director

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman

Richard Linklater for Boyhood

James Marsh for The Theory of Everything

Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher

Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game

 

Best Actor

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton in Birdman

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

Timothy Spall in Mr. Turner

 

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Big Eyes

Jessica Chastain in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Reese Whitherspoon in Wild

Shailene Woodley in The Fault In Our Stars

 

Best Supporting Actor

Ethan Hawke in Boyhood

John Lithgow in Love is Strange

Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Tom Wilkinson in Selma

 

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore in Map To The Stars

Kristen Stewart in The Clouds of Sils Maria

Emma Stone in Birdman

theory-of-everything-felicity-redmayne