20 March 2005

Verhoeven (closing thoughts)

And that's it for Mr. Verhoeven. Verhoeven's a pretty off-an-on director; sometimes he fails and sometimes he knocks it out of the park. Still, I'll always be excited to see any new work he creates. The man has his own style and point of view. And, dammit, I like sex and violence.

Best Dutch film: Turks Fruit. Best American film: Robocop.
Worst Dutch film: Wat Zien Ik. Worst American film: Showgirls.

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19 March 2005

Verhoeven (1997-2000)

1997 - Starship Troopers - A great sci-fi flick with non-stop action. I know Verhoeven intended this as a parody of fascism, but the popcorn spectacle of the film obscures most of this (other than the obvious FedNet spots). It's certainly more fun, anyway, to watch the movie cheering for Rico and company, rather than lamenting the young people's decision to voluntarily step into the state's meat grinder.

2000 - Hollow Man - Perfect invisible special effects grafted to a mediocre story. The basis of the idea is solid: when you know you cannot be seen, your morality can turn invisible as well. It worked best in the original Invisible Man movie. Here, it only leads to a slasher movie-style ending in which a group of people are picked off one by one by a monster. I wish Verhoeven had made Fade by Cormier instead.

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01 March 2005

Verhoeven (1992-1995)

1992 - Basic Instinct - Verhoeven channels Hitchcock through his own, particular filter of violence and wild sex. As in Flesh + Blood, Verhoeven presents us with characters who are flawed and gray-shaded. Sharon Stone does a damned fine job as Catherine and appears to lose herself in the roll. The thrice-repeated jumps at the end, where Catherine looks as though she's going to stab Nick, threatened to take the film into bad horror movie territory. For the most part, a well-constructed and satisfying movie.

1995 - Showgirls - Very nearly, but not quite, in the "so bad it's good" category. Chop out 30 minutes of the movie so that it's an easy-to-digest 90 minutes long and this would be gold on the midnight movie circuit. Despite it's Razzie-winning reputation, I had fun with this film. I enjoyed the campiness, the bright colors, the bizarre lines ("At least people aren't cumming on you anymore."), the cat fighting and the strange fascination with fingernails and potato chips. Hell, even the 5.1 mix sounded great for songs.

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