Sisters

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Film Title

Sisters

Director

Brian De Palma

Starring

  • Margot Kidder as Danielle/ Dominique Breton
  • Jennifer Salt as Grace Collier
  • William Finley as Emil Breton
  • Charles Durning as Joseph Larch
  • Lisle Wilson as Phillip

Brian De Palma’s first foray into thriller-horror in Hitchcockian style, Sisters is an unpredictable and unnerving movie that shows off what we’d all come to see as staples of his work and how successfully and creepily he’d craft them.

Danielle Breton is a French-Canadian model living in Staten Island and occasionally using her talents for an acting job. She has just appeared on a certain game show and has just been asked out by one of the contestants Phillip. The two hit it off over dinner where Danielle briefly mentions her twin sister Dominique, and how she hasn’t seen her for a while. Once at her apartment, the two share a passionate evening, but nothing can prepare anyone for the events the following morning. He is brutally stabbed by what appears to be a crazed Danielle( or is it the previously unseen Dominique?). Fatally wounded, he makes it to the window and using his own blood, spells out help. In the apartment opposite, industrious journalist Grace Collier witnesses the incident. She reports it to the police, but due to her history of exposing corruption in the ranks she is laughed off. Even when she takes detectives to Danielle’s apartment, there is no sign of a body and she is dismissed. But Grace knows what she saw and thanks to curiosity, she begins digging into the case. Grace also employs an old-fashioned private investigator Joseph Larch; who may be out of the game currently but still has a nose for this sort of mystery. Getting to the bottom of all of this is what Grace plans to do, though she doesn’t realise she’s opening a particularly twisted can of worms that includes Danielle’s former husband who is always sneaking around and much more.

Sisters was the first film from De Palma to be what many would cite as an inception of his trademark direction and themes. You’ve got the nods to Hitchcock, through stalking camerawork that recalls Rear Window and duality that points to Psycho. Split screens are employed in spectacular fashion, lasting for minutes while twinning together things that gain more impact as the film continues. In fact, doubles and duality are displayed in a very unusual and off kilter way that has you uneasy, and allows De Palma to fiendishly pull the wool over our eyes and then surprise is. Throughout the often crazed and baffling story, De Palma’s sure hand and control over what he is directing is in full effect, announcing the many more thrilling movies that would follow this peculiar yet riveting thriller. There is something quite surreal about Sisters, typified in a couple of menacing yet beautiful dream sequences, filmed in black and white and filled with an arch toying with perception( very befitting of the psychological horror we are presented with). Danielle and Dominique are both purposefully mysterious, leading us to not quite know which is which and just what the true agenda may be.  By the end certain things are revealed, just not in the way you’d expect them to be which allows Sisters to be something that won’t leave your memory quickly and puts the mind into overdrive. As creepy and chilling as the film is, De Palma laces a lot of moments with a sort of gallows humour that catches you off-balance, but does a lot to keep the story and our watching of it something unexpected and not at all typical. Added to this is an underlying examination of the way that women can be patronised and used by men; both Danielle and Grace experience many things at the hands of men, in particular Grace whose job as a reporter combined with her gender suffers stigma regarding her talent and choice of lifestyle. This little bit of commentary is yet another string to the movie’s impressive bow. Now some logic is a bit lacking in Sisters, but you’re that engrossed that the tiny flaw can be swept away and forgiven, especially for how minuscule it is. A screaming and alternating score comes courtesy of Bernard Herrmann. The score triumphs with sudden switches in sound and tempo that infuse necessary jolts of terror and spooky mystery.

Margot Kidder pulls double duty as the twins that give the film its title. Displaying very different personas that may actually be false or at the very least mendacious, Kidder blend them together with a jagged result of questions and uncertainty that is a plus for the gripping movie. Kidder plays the varying characteristics of both twins with a deliberately ambiguous approach, lending to the fact that we can never be sure whether it is Danielle or Dominique we are witnessing at any given time. Margot Kidder is very impressive, but it was Jennifer Salt that really caught my attention. Filled with a deep enthusiasm and courage of her own convictions, Salt naturally plays the crusading Grace, who gets more than she bargained for. There is a tenacity within the diminutive Jennifer Salt that suits the role nicely and although her insistence is often the thing that gets the better of her, we want her to succeed and unravel what she can. William Finley is menace personified as the creepy ex-husband skulking around, particularly in the way he uses his intense eyes that never seem to blink and appear to follow you. Charles Durning is wise ass and witty as the private investigator roped into the proceedings while Lisle Wilson has a small but unforgettable part of the unfortunate man who ends up butchered

An eerie and suspenseful movie of stylistic approach and creeping kookiness, Sisters represents the auspicious first entry into the art of scaring and spooking audience that De Palma clearly enjoys.

Brotherhood of the Wolf

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Film Title

Brotherhood of the Wolf

Director

Christophe Gans

Starring

  • Samuel Le Bihan as Grégoire de Fronsac
  • Mark Dacascos as Mani
  • Jérémie Renier as Marquis Thomas d’Apcher
  • Émilie Dequenne as Marianne de Morangias
  • Vincent Cassel as Jean-François de Morangias
  • Monica Bellucci as Sylvia

An audacious melding of more genres that you can shake a stick at and Taking basis from tales of an alleged beast in the of France, Brotherhood of the Wolf is enthralling and unusual in the best sense of the word.

The year is 1764 and in the province of Gévaudan, a spate of brutal killings of young girls and children is attributed to an unseen predator known as The Beast. As time passes, the killings rise rapidly in and other parts of the land, leading to much upheaval and panic as to whether the creature is something of this Earth. In response, The King of France sends two men to make some sense of what is happening. These two men are Grégoire de Fronsac, a naturalist and talented sketch artist and his blood brother companion, Iroquois Mani. They find lodging at the house of a respectable family of high-ranking, becoming friendly with the young Marquis Thomas d’Apcher, who has a big imagination and a lot of heart. The dashing Fronsac is skeptical of the Beast’s authenticity or that it is something demonic, yet must investigate this thing that is baffling and devastating the land. He along with Mani is frequently tested by things that don’t add up regarding the alleged monster. Many describe it as a giant wolf, but others who survived it claim it was a supernatural being. The authorities keep a lot close to their chest, which hinders the search for The Beast and leads to more questions of just what the purpose and reality of the Beast truly are. Meanwhile, Fronsac finds himself attracted to noblewoman Marianne de Morangias, much to the chagrin and jealousy of her one-armed brother Jean-François, who has inappropriate yearnings for his sister. Something of a libertine, he also has his head turned by the tarot reading courtesan Sylvia, who lures him into her twisted web. The attacks of The Beast continue to alarm everyone, and the intelligent Fronsac, along with the sensory perceptions of Mani, believes he is getting nearer to discovery. For what lies at the centre of the Beast’s mystery is something way beyond what either man expected it to be

Gans is an adventurous film maker it must be said and that puckish quality is put to phenomenal use in this bricolage film, that always has a kinetic feel to it. There is no shortage of drama or eventfulness in Brotherhood of the Wolf that ranks it very high on the excitement and swashbuckling action. From the standpoint of visuals, the movie is so alive and a lot of careful craftsmanship has gone into the sets, costumes and overall atmosphere. The editing conjures up a sweeping and adventurous spell, complete with clever dissolves and overlapping imagery for maximum impact. While it could be accused of over egging the pudding with the sheer amount of genres at work, Brotherhood of the Wolf is nothing short of high entertainment and the very fact that it is so unusual is what makes it strong. Half of the fun in the movie is trying to see what will happen next or what tone it will adopt, which is exemplary in my book. I mean you just look over how many elements the film juggles and your mind is blown. You’ve got the feelings of fantasy and horror through the bloodshed and peculiar nature of the beast( which for a long time is effectively shrouded in shadows before revealing itself). Action is frequently shot like that of a spinning martial arts movie, specially prevalent whenever is around. And obviously there is something historical in the film from the fact that the material of The Beast of Gévaudan is still something of a strange mystery. For many, Brotherhood of the Wolf may confound with the sheer amount of things going on in it. But wouldn’t you rather have a film that  is filled to the rafters with content instead of a movie where noting of much value unfolds? The music bursts with unbridled energy from the very first frame. You couldn’t have asked for a better score to match the devilishly blended cavalcade of events going on.

Samuel Le Bihan is a good fit for the thinking and slightly rakish Fronsac, who knows something is very amiss in this affair. He gets across the funny and intellectual side that slowly paves the way for a personal streak of vengeance and fury, as the mission grows to be something personal. The morphing from thinker to full on fighter is handsomely handled by Le Bihan. The mainly silent but intense Mark Dacascos lends a spiritual and physical grace to Mani, from his movements to his mannerisms that are largely quiet but when needed pronounced. Dacascos possesses an unearthly poise and athleticism that make the role of Mani one of action as well as soulfulness. Young Jérémie Renier is suitably as the youth who becomes enraptured and curious in helping the two men in their discovery. It helps that has a charm and impressionable wide-eyed expression that is appealing and endearing. The three main guys of the picture work well with each other, obviously bouncing off the difference in personalities and attitudes that are brought together. A demure Émilie Dequenne handles the part of a stifled lady of prominence, who silently chafes at what is expected of her and is more than just an obedient observer when the occasion calls for it. Vincent Cassel nails the sneering arrogance of the warped nobleman whose desire for his sister causes a lot of creepy conflict, especially with Fronsac. Monica Bellucci seductively steams the screen up as the most mysterious lady of the night, who may very well have more answers than she gives out. Sly and capricious spring to mind when talking of her character and the stunning Bellucci plays that to the hilt.

A hugely exhilarating motion picture with deep imagination and a clear love of pulling things that shouldn’t really go together into something spectacular, Brotherhood of the Wolf is one of the most unconventional movies you’re likely to see, but that is what causes it to be so arresting.

The Thomas Crown Affair

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Film Title

The Thomas Crown Affair

Director

Norman Jewison

Starring

  • Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown
  • Faye Dunaway as Vicki Anderson
  • Paul Burke as Detective Eddie Malone
  • Jack Weston as Erwin Weaver

A super stylish crime caper brimming with verve and visual flourishes, The Thomas Crown Affair may occasionally lack depth but that is more than made up for in the lightness of foot and sexy but conflicted chemistry between stars Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway.

Thomas Crown is a suave and dashing business tycoon, who boasts wealth that many would simply die for. Though he has everything he could possibly ask for, he craves adventure and is now bored with the system of riches that he is a part of. So he carefully plots a bank heist, even though he doesn’t have any need for the money. He employs five men to orchestrate this elaborate scheme, making sure that his identity is left unknown to them to avoid any trace back. The plan works and the heist is a success, with Thomas thrilled with the results. Thomas is very pleased with what he’s accomplished, knowing that his plan is pretty much airtight for the most part. Yet those who were affected by the theft are not going to be quiet and soon questions are being raised. Insurance investigator Vicki Anderson, who always gets the job done, is called in to examine this theft and piece it together. Her incentive is 10% of the and with her array of charm, allure and intelligence she manages to pinpoint Thomas as the culprit. But rather than just take him in, Vicki finds herself attracted to the beguiling and wily Thomas. Both know that the other is up to something and yet this doesn’t distract them from falling into passionate clinches with each other. It does however throw a spanner in the works for them as loyalties are severely tested and their affair is proving difficult as well as compromising. The question is, how willing is Vicki ready to look the other way because of her feelings for Thomas or how much will her personal pride and efficiency take control?

Norman Jewison has that cinematic touch and eye for visual impact that this film and needs and forms the backbone of it with a deft clockwork like precision. The use of split screen pushes the movie along with free abandon and lively verve, that keeps the attention for a very long time. The leads play off each other in a game of questioning the other but being extremely attracted at the same time. indecision and allure, along with the potential of possible courtship, despite them being on opposite sides of the law is what makes the core of The Thomas Crown Affair lively and sexy. The best example of this is the almost wordless chess scene where the two eye each other up and gradually tease the other in a game of minds and bodies. Everything is left to the imagination as they embrace and the camera spins, proving that you don’t need copious nudity to be erotic and can be very naughty by suggestion. Though the story is not exactly what you would call thought-provoking, the quick pace and sizzle of things keeps you involved and along for the entertaining ride. The main selling point of The Thomas Crown Affair is the glamour and intrigue it has. The lifestyle of Thomas is enviable and through bright and very colourful moments of polo matches, it’s a fine life that we view for this man who has everything. A brimming score of skittish rhythms and languid romantic strings is simply gorgeous to listen to. The greatest instance of music in The Thomas Crown Affair is Windmills of Your Mind ,which is a hauntingly romantic and apt song that describes the way that Thomas is constantly on the move and a million steps ahead of everyone. The song won an Academy Award and I can see why, it really contributes to the aura of the film and is utilized gorgeously throughout.

In the title role, Steve McQueen is the suave, epitome of cool and collected. His Cheshire Cat smile and smooth demeanor belie a boredom and restlessness with life( even though he has almost everything a man could dream for). As nonchalant as the character seems, McQueen quietly displays the vast intellect and forward thinking that is often not realized by those around him until it is often too late. The best word for McQueen’s portrayal is cool, he is a man who many guys would kill to be and many women would love to be near. Faye Dunaway is the dogged but ultimately torn foil to McQueen’s charms, her unease at her own feelings for Thomas making most of the drama. Dunaway, while being extremely seductive in the part, brings forth the required determination and inner conflict out in varying degrees of nuance. As I previously noted, the rapport between McQueen and Dunaway is excellent and the Sparks are most definitely there, even as personal feelings come into question and stands must be taken that could jeopardize and further heat between the red-hot duo. Paul Burke does good work as the detective on the case, as does Jack Weston playing the getaway driver in the heist set up by Thomas.

Stylish and intricately done, The Thomas Crown Affair has oodles of appeal through its 60’s atmosphere and scintillating partnership of the main leads that essentially bring out more to the film than the story might suffer to some.

Deceived

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Film Title

Deceived

Director

Damian Harris

Starring

  • Goldie Hawn as Adrienne Saunders
  • John Heard as Jack Saunders

It isn’t a top-tier thriller but Deceived still manages to be surprising and filled with suspense for everyone to feel. Featuring Goldie Hawn in a dramatic departure from her usual comedy, Deceived is a pretty well executed movie that is often overlooked if I must say so.

Attractive Adrienne, who is an art restorer briefly meets handsome curator Jack at a restaurant when she is stood up on a blind date. deceived-movie-posterThey later see each other at Adrienne’s work, and the spark between them is set. After a whirlwind romance, the two marry and we pick up with them five years later where they have a daughter named Mary. Yet trouble and doubt creep into paradise with a series of events that cause Adrienne to question her husband. First of all, a man who works with Jack discovers that a recently arrived artifact has actually been substituted for a fake, but is then murdered before he can tell anyone. A friend of Adrienne’s claims she saw Jack in New York when he said he was in Boston. Plus, many things that Jack has told Adrienne aren’t adding up. Yet just after airing her suspicions about Jack, he is killed in a freak car accident. Devastated by this, Adrienne does her best to be strong for Mary, but can’t shake the feelings of something being very untoward. These are heightened when Adrienne is informed that her seemingly by the book husband was actually using the name of a man who has been dead for over sixteen years, sending her into a tailspin as her suspicions regarding his death come to life. And someone from a distance is stalking Adrienne without her knowledge. It appears that Jack may be very much alive and hiding somewhere, the deeper Adrienne digs. deceived-1991-movieYet she can’t be sure of anything because of the smoke screens that keep getting thrown up and somehow pull the recent rash of bizarre events together. Somehow Adrienne must make sense of all of these tangled threads as her own life is in jeopardy the more she marches towards answers.

Damian Harris is on hand for directing duties and his handling of the thriller is pretty great. He lulls you into that false sense of security in the beginning before unearthing the sinister nature underneath. The pace is one that really keeps you engrossed for the most part of it all, complete with a few neat surprises. There is a wintry feel to Deceived that plays into the visuals and renders things in a chilly and unusual format. This is employed stylishly when the tension is cranked up and Adrienne is put in significant danger because of her desire to know the truth about the man she called her husband. Not all of the twists that Deceived takes are exactly what you’d call logical and some do fall flat, but most of them are by and large excellent at keeping the audience on their toes.goldie-hawn-deceived Suspense is handled in a relatively efficient way, with the unraveling of real identity and possible danger for Adrienne take centre stage. Especially in the last half, Deceived becomes quicker and a cat and mouse game emerges, filling the screen with a great amount of thrills. There is something Hitchcockian about quite a lot of Deceived and while it’s nowhere near the work of the great Master, it manages to sustain some chills. Thomas Newman is on music duty and the tension is raised significantly by his switching tempos and sense of creeping suspense.

I really enjoyed seeing Goldie Hawn in a more mature and serious part that showed her in a different light. If her work in Deceived is anything to go by, she should really delve into more drama because she has the chops for it in how she downplays her effervescent and bubbly personality for something effectively subdued. Hawn excels at being very natural and believable playing a woman whose life comes crashing down around her, when she witnesses that her husband really wasn’t the man she thought he was. Levels of vulnerability, feelings of betrayal and ounces of strength help as Hawn gets the audience to sympathise with her and want her to get to the bottom of the knotty events, that may also prove fatal for her if she isn’t careful. Purposefully mysterious is John Heard, who relishes the opportunity to play such a sly and potentially dangerous man. Exuding a calculating charm and smooth approach, the talented John Heard makes Jack someone who may appear genuine, but who clearly has something sinister on his agenda.

Not what you’d call the best thriller there is but pacy and filled with enough twists to keep you guessing, Deceived triumphs based on that and the opportunity to see Goldie Hawn in something serious. For an hour or so of thrills, Deceived could be a winner for you. I personally think it’s quite an underappreciated film.

I’m Back People!

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I have now successfully moved into my new humble abode after much work. There is still stuff that needs doing but at least the Internet is set up again. I will slowly get back into blogging again and visiting the work of all my followers that I have missed. If I’m slow please bear with me. I think the photo below signifies my arrival back significantly.

International Women’s Day

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Today is International Women’s Day that celebrates the achievements of women worldwide. I have immense respect for women and deep admiration, that stems from my mother. The way that woman have triumphed over many obstacles over the centuries is extraordinary and with growing power, many of the old attitudes that are frankly ridiculous regarding women are subsiding. That isn’t to say that ease attributes gave been completely eradicated, but with forceful determination, respect has managed to reign where it always should have. So I say to all the women out there, I’m with you every step of the way and will stand by you no matter what.

The First Wives Club

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Film Title

The First Wives Club

Director

Hugh Wilson

Starring

  • Goldie Hawn as Elise Elliot
  • Bette Midler as Brenda Morelli
  • Diane Keaton as Annie MacDuggan
  • Sarah Jessica Parker as Shelly
  • Maggie Smith as Gunilla Garson Goldberg
  • Dan Hedaya as Morty
  • Victor Garber as Bill
  • Stephen Collins as Aaron

An utterly devilish and fun comedy that follows three women getting back at their menfolk in mischievous ways, The First Wives knows how to be terrific entertainment and a sparkling showcase for Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton.

We begin in the late 60’s when four young women; Elise, Brenda, Annie and Cynthia are graduating college and promising to be in touch regularly no matter what. Decades later and the ladies have hardly been in contact with each other, through a variety of reasons despite the fact they all live in New York. the-first-wives-club-posterElise is an actress, who at one point had popularity but is trying to be younger as there is more demand for it in Hollywood and has turned to booze. She has also split from her producer husband Bill after he was caught fooling about with a younger actress and is now asking for alimony. Brenda has a young son and is now separated from her husband Morty;who also played away from home with a younger lady, in this case the bimbo social climber Shelley(even though Brenda was the one who helped him set up his business.) Annie is still technically married to louse Aaron though they are trying a temporary separation. It is through Cynthia that everyone is brought together, as she commits suicide following her husband leaving her and marrying someone else. Elise, Brenda and Annie meet at the funeral and spill their own problems to each other. Although both Elise and Brenda feel anguished, Annie thinks she is getting her marriage back on track, due to her ability to see the good and not confront decisions. That however goes out the window when she learns that he is actually leaving her for her therapist. Getting closer again after so many years apart, the trio decides that they aren’t just going to take this treatment and slowly they band together to formulate a plan. Three heads are better than one as they plot an amusing series of revenge schemes directed at the men in their lives. Much hilarity ensures along the way, showing that revenge can be quite fun and extremely sweet when you know what to do.

Hugh Wilson’s energetic direction moves events with a kinetic drive and humour, yet never sacrifices any of the sympathy or seriousness that The First Wives Club has to offer. There are those that will accuse this movie of man bashing from the start, but I find that to think that is missing some of the point. Sure the men depicted are not dactyl model citizens but the main focus is on the ladies getting perceived justice after being wronged. Everything is mainly done with a sprightly and at times acidic humour that makes the film very funny and not just one that ridicules men. After all it is just a film and I do t think the intention is to alienate men at all, I didn’t feel slighted by the film at all. I had an absolute ball with its mix of comedy and drama, that really got you to feel for these ladies and then take pleasure as they took back control over their lives. And talking of what made the film great, the script of arch one liners and a bundle of hilarious scenes is sufficient enough to pique anyone’s interest. the-first-wives-club-funny-sceneTake for instance, when the ladies sneak into Morty’s apartment to search for papers that prove he’s a crook and must exit when he returns, using a window cleaner lift. If you’re not laughing by the end of that outrageous scene, you clearly have no humour. And that late rendition of ‘You Don’t Own Me’ is a showstopper if ever there was one. The music score provided is one of lively intent and dynamic jumps in tempo, which suits the film down to the ground.

The three main ladies of this comedy are sensational and their chemistry is a highlight. Goldie Hawn is side-splittingly hilarious as the vain and shallow Elise, who is desperately trying to be young through cosmetic surgery and is at times very highly strung. the-first-wives-club-ladiesThe energy of Hawn is superbly suited to the often manic but creative character, who emerges as quite decisive in the plans to ruin the man who wronged her. Really capturing the attention is Bette Midler; the most vindictively amusing and loud of the club. You can’t fault Midler and her knack for comedic zingers, which are dispensed with vigorous style and attitude. Diane Keaton completes the triangle of great ladies by playing the repressed Annie as a bottle of jangled nerves, waiting to explode. Keaton is a dab hand at humour but also gets the right notes of sympathy for the character too as her strength slowly reveals itself. As aforementioned, these three ladies work beautifully together and it is clear as day that they had a good time making this comedy. Sarah Jessica Parker elicits plenty of laughs playing the trashy girlfriend of Morty with an eye on getting to the top, while an amusingly tart Maggie Smith rocks it as the much widowed society lady with significant tricks up her sleeve and resources to burn. Dan Hedaya, Victor Garber and Stephen Collins are the men of the film who find out just how much revenge can hurt. Hedaya is the clear standout of the guys with his constant attempts to explain away his actions quite funny.

Funny yet knowing when to be serious, The First Wives Club is great viewing as a comedy and to watch three great actresses working together with gusto.

Obsession

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Film Title

Obsession

Director

Brian De Palma

Starring

  • Cliff Robertson as Michael Courtland
  • Geneviève Bujold as Elizabeth Courtland/Sandra Portinari
  • John Lithgow as Robert Lasalle

An unearthly and mysterious homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Obsession comes courtesy of Brian De Palma and displays him at some of his most overwrought and haunting. Complete with a spellbinding score and slowly more twisted story, Obsession has a lot in it that won’t leave your mind in a hurry.

Michael Courtland is a wealthy real estate developer in New Orleans with a great business, along with a beautiful wife Elizabeth and daughter Amy. obsession-posterThen out of nowhere to destroy this idyllic life, Elizabeth and Amy are kidnapped by criminals, who demand a very high ransom for their release. Going to the police and desperately trying to get his family back, Michael agrees to a rescue mission that looks like it could be successful. The plan is to take a briefcase to the drop point with fake money and a tracking device implanted, thereby leading the police and Michael to the whereabouts of his captured family. Unfortunately, the attempt to retrieve Elizabeth and Amy goes horribly wrong and after a lengthy chase, the kidnappers along with Elizabeth and her daughter die after their car crashes into the river. Over a decade later, Michael is still haunted by the loss of his family and totally obsessed with the memory of them. On a business trip to Florence with colleague and best friend Robert Lasalle, Michael visits an old church where he and Elizabeth first met. To his surprise he comes across Sandra Portinari, an art historian who is the mirror image of Elizabeth. Although completely at a loss as to why Sandra looks so much like his late wife but seeing that this could be a second chance, Michael gets completely infatuated by Sandra. The sprightly and effervescent Sandra returns the favour and the two fall quickly in love, though it is very obvious that Michael wants to recapture something that he had with Elizabeth through Sandra. Though Robert is concerned for his friend as he finds the whole thing very uncanny and worrying, Michael goes ahead and brings Sandra over to New Orleans with plans to marry her. But Sandra quickly grows fascinated by Elizabeth and begins acting odd, as if something about her predecessor is behind it. It looks as though history may well repeat itself with more fatal incidents, just as Michael believes he’s been given another shot at life. What follows is something that you will most definitely not be expecting.

Brian De Palma revels in channeling Hitchcock for this film, and does a pretty commendable job at emulating him.obsession-movie The devil is in the detail and the archness of De Palma’s approach, which genuinely makes for good viewing in this most twisted mystery. It can be said that Obsession gets a bit overly clever at times and has maybe one twist too many in its bag of tricks, but regardless of that it is a very compelling mystery thriller. The sprinkling of an atypical romance that eventually becomes disturbing allows the film to be one that is sure to reap benefits of repeat viewing. The screenplay from Paul Schrader is purposefully mysterious and knows exactly when to keep its cards close its chest.  And even when it goes overboard, the largely visual story is there to bolster things in an exquisite way. Almost everything in Obsession is shot through a shimmering filter that renders events in a fantasy and otherworldly aura from the very start, for a mystical experience that is not what it always seems. The employing of this form in the cinematography and direction of De Palma is sumptuous and extremely captivating, with nary a frame wasted to paint its unnatural and spooky on a large canvas. Many scenes are free of dialogue which gorgeously lets us fill the blanks in and allows the visuals that abound to weave this particularly dark story, which has a romance in it that takes on another connotation as the rug is pulled from under you. cliff-robertson-and-genevieve-bujoldThe use of Bernard Herrmann to score the film further evokes Hitchcock, as Hermann scored some of the Master’s best films. Here he imbues things with a deep choral angle that sounds like a returning vessel to the world of reality, while accentuating the hypnotic impact Sandra takes over Michael and later the presence of Elizabeth on Sandra herself. The score is ever-present in the film and it would simply bot have half the impact it does without the mournful yet eerily romantic music from Hermann.

Cliff Robertson is credible in the lead role of a man whose life is shattered, then is given what he believes is another shot through whatever intervention it is. Robertson may be a tad too subdued at times, but his stoic face and gradual shifts in temperament within the chilling story, fill in any gaps and still make it a very good performance. Geneviève Bujold is stunning in the dual role that merges as one on more than a few occasions. Bujold is beautifully ethereal and almost angelic in the best possible way, lending well to the haunting vibe of the overall story and the possibility of a spirit, at least in Michael’s mind, returning once more. obsession-sandraYou can’t take your eyes off her when you see her on screen as either Elizabeth or Sandra. It is Bujold that sticks most in the memory once Obsession has finished for her transfixing work. Stealing the scenes whenever his presence is required is the versatile John Lithgow, seen here as a disreputable businessman with the gift of the gab. An extrovert with a suspicious mustache, reptilian smile and slightly unusual glint in his eye, he’s a man you can’t help but find funny but also quite hard to read, which is where the excellence of Lithgow’s work lies.

So if you can handle the often overwrought story and sleight of hand tricks and unusual twists are your sort of thing, Obsession should work for you as a sinister yet beautifully filmed mystery, from the skillful hands of Brian De Palma. It definitely deserves notice at least from where I’m standing.

I’m Still Alive

Just wanted to check in and make it known that I am still very much alive. My presence has been scarce of late due to the preparations for the move, so thank you everyone for being so supportive and understanding. It is next week when the move takes place, which does mean I will be absent as I help my parents in this time. But, I will post a review or a post of some sort today to keep you all satisfied. Thank you all for bearing with me and I promise when everything is settled to read all of your posts that I’ve missed. I’ll be back before you know it. And as I’m so generous, here are some sexy shots for you.

james-anderson

rosie

R.I.P Bill Paxton

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bill-paxtonI am currently on a break, but after hearing of the passing of Bill Paxton at the age of 61, I had to do a post as a tribute to him. Paxton for me was always a fun actor to watch, he had a certain energy that burned across the screen. That is what I will miss the most about him, his very presence was welcomed whenever I saw it. It is a sad day and though he is gone, his memory will still be there through the movies he made. Rest in Peace Bill Paxton. May your spirit live on through your work for many years.