31 July 2004

Cronenberg (1993-1996)

1993 - M. Butterfly - I'm not sure if this was an attempt to capture that ole Dead Ringers magic, but this film wasn't up to snuff. There are some interesting ideas in the movie concerning relationships worth pondering. And, I enjoyed the laying of reversals at the end of the film, but the journey there was uneven.

1996 - Crash - Going through the transformative process of a violent auto accident makes people with piercings and tattoos look like giant pussies. Cronenberg is at the top of his game again; he imbues even a minor piece of auto-culture like picking idly at a windshield sticker with brewing sexuality.

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26 July 2004

Cronenberg (addendum)

1989 - The Fly II (directed by Chris Walas) - Man, what an awful film. It was on the flip side of The Fly DVD, so I decided to watch it. It adds absolutely nothing to the first film, and spends most of its time treading over ground already covered. The last 20 minutes are nothing more than a boring Alien / Jason Vorhees riff in which people hunt the monster and the monster kills the people.

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25 July 2004

Cronenberg (1988-1991)

1988 - Dead Ringers - Maybe the most subtle of Cronenberg's film. Beverly is actually the stronger of the two after all. It is he who finally attempts to free himself of the "Mantle Brothers" mono-identity by latching onto Claire. Despite his addiction problem, it nearly works out when Claire returns, only for the weaker Elliot to take them both down by becoming an addict himself.

1990 - The Scales of Justice: "Regina vs Logan" - Boring and amateurish. Shockingly bad entry in the Cronenberg oeuvre. I can only hope this was made while he was distracted by his acting duties in Nightbreed. [Thanks to snoother for these two episodes.]

1990 - The Scales of Justice: "Regina vs Horvath" - Much improved over the first episode. The lighting and framing of the shots is much better this time. This story of "true Canadian crime" is more interesting due to a matricidal, deranged teenager and some philosophical discussion on hypnosis used in interrogation.

1991 - Naked Lunch - Stylish and surreal. The deeply buried story seems to me to be of a man coming to terms with his homosexuality while his friends allow him to wallow in addiction so he'll finish his novel. The repetition in Lee's hallucinations are fun to look and listen for: centipedes, "ambivalence," etc.

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10 July 2004

Cronenberg (1983-1987)

1983 - The Dead Zone – Stephen King's personality nearly overpowers Cronenberg's in this film. Still, Cronenberg shines with the brilliant casting of Christopher Walken and the eliciting of some damn-fine subtle performances. I never noticed before that Johnny was intended as a Christ-figure, but it's incredibly blatant during the climax.

1986 - The Fly – Some criticize this film as "too commercial." Whatever its popularity at the box office, this is a classic Cronenberg movie concerned with flesh, machines, and their interactions in the future of human development. This also has to be one of the gorier movies ever released by a major Hollywood studio.

1987 - Friday the 13th: The Series: "Faith Healer" – Investigating the disease theme once again, this is a rare Cronenberg story in which the corruptive force is magic, rather than science/technology/biology. I was pleased to see Cronenberg regular Robert A. Silverman in a starring role. It was great to see the focus on the guest stars instead of the main characters; I could almost feel Cronenberg's boredom when we were forced to check in with youngsters Micki and Ryan for the sake of the series.

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