I can’t believe I’ve overlooked this 1993 Jane Campion masterpiece for so long, though on the other hand I doubt I’d have appreciated it as much as a teenager; its bleak yet sensuous atmosphere, literary vibe and complicated relationships probably resonate better with my older self.
Well that’s another 80s Movie I’ve Never Seen off my list. Watching popular films from decades ago for the first time can be a hit-and-miss experience (sorry Flashdance but I can’t see what everyone saw in you), but Dirty Dancing I thought had undeniable charm and appeal that goes beyond mere nostalgia and hype.
First great film I’ve seen in 2018, Call Me By Your Name is a moving coming-of-age tale, a beautiful romance and a love letter to the warm, sensuous, sun-kissed charms of Northern Italy. I’m sure I say this every time, but my heart skips a beat whenever I see lush summery European landscape onscreen, and in Luca Guadagnino’s film it’s a perfect backdrop for the gently unfolding, finely observed, slow-burn story of a vibrant, life-changing first love that cannot last.
I watched this film once 20 years ago, after it swept the 1997 Academy Awards and famously became the object of hatred for Elaine from Seinfeld:
I didn’t share Elaine’s visceral loathing for the movie, but I remember feeling rather underwhelmed and wondering why on earth this film was praised so much. Then recently I found a DVD of The English Patient in Mum’s collection (she’s one of the many people who loved the movie), and thought I’d give it a second chance.
The Lobster made me think of Ray Bradbury’s sci-fi short stories I read as a teenager, where some “what if” premise would be taken to an absurd extreme, except that this movie does it with an extra helping of bonkers. If you’re a fan of out-there scenarios, the summary should grab you instantly.
This movie copped a massive backlash upon its release last year, and in all honesty it was practically asking for it, with its grossly misleading trailers and advertising which treated its premise as a twist and in the end made some viewers feel like they received a pretty glittery gift box with a dead puppy inside.
Here’s what the bullshit summary on my DVD rental reads like:
Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are two passengers onboard a spaceship transporting them to a new life on another planet. The trip takes a deadly turn when their hibernation pods mysteriously wake them 90 years before they reach their destination. As Jim and Aurora try to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction… only to be threatened by the imminent collapse of the ship and the discovery of the truth behind why they woke up.
Here’s what actually happens in the film (spoilers ahead):
It’s been forever since I read Bram Stoker’s classic gothic horror novel, but I can’t really remember Dracula giving the female heroine her sexual awakening. Nevermind, I do have a soft spot for the Beauty and the Beast trope and Gary Oldman as the monstrous yet tragic Dracula is captivating and sensual… well at least when he’s in his young human Gary Oldman form with the fabulous long hair. Not so much when he’s hanging from a ceiling as a hideous human-sized bat.