The Bostonians (1984)

The Bostonians
Director: James Ivory
Writer: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Based on: Henry Jamesnovel
Cast: Christopher Reeve, Vanessa RedgraveMadeleine Potter, Jessica Tandy, Wesley Addy, Linda HuntWallace Shawn
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 14.6.2015

Plot:
Olive Chancellor (Vanessa Redgrave) is an outspoken and enthusiastic feminist, and as such deeply suspicious to her cousin Basil Ransom (Christopher Reeve), a conservative lawyer from New York who is visiting her in Boston. Despite Basil’s distrust of the feminist movements, Olive takes him to an event where they hear Verena Tarrant (Madeleine Potter) gives a speech on the subject. Both Olive and Basil are fascinated by Verena – in Basil’s case despite of what she’s saying. As Basil returns to New York, Olive takes Verena under her wings, grooming her as a feminist fighter. But Basil, too, can’t stop thinking about her.

The Bostonians bored me to pieces. The cast wasn’t bad, but the plot left me completely bewildered and annoyed.

bostonians

[SPOILERS]

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Veneno para las hadas [Poison for the Fairies] (1984)

Veneno para las hadas
Director: Carlos Enrique Taboada
Writer: Carlos Enrique Taboada
Cast: Ana Patricia Rojo, Elsa María Gutiérrez, Leonor Llausás

Plot:
Flavia (Elsa María Gutiérrez) and her family just moved to a new house. In her new school, Flavia makes friends with Verónica (Ana Patricia Rojo) who is a little weird and socially not very well integrated. Verónica is jealous of Flavia who comes from a rich and loving family, while she herself is an orphan living with her disabled grandmother. Since Verónica would like to be a witch, she uses that to convince Flavia of that. Flavia believes and subsequently becomes entirely dependent on Verónica who wields that power over her.

Veneno para las hadas was awesome. The natural progression of the story, the way it is set in scene and the ending – I really loved it.

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Sixteen Candles (1984)

Sixteen Candles
Director: John Hughes
Writer: John Hughes
Cast: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling, Justin Henry, John Cusack, Joan Cusack

Plot:
Samantha’s (Molly Ringwald) life is pretty awkward at the moment. Her sister is getting married which has thrown her entire family into confusion. So much so, that it appears that they forgot Samantha’s sixteenth birthday. But that’s only a small part of Sam’s problems. She’s also in love with Jake (Michael Schoeffling) who has a gorgeous girlfriend (with actual boobs) and barely knows Sam exists. Or so she thinks. The only guy who is actually hitting on her is a major geek (Anthony Michael Hall). And there is a school dance that very night.

Sixteen Candles is sweet and fun and despite the fact that it is obviously a product of its time, it’s a somehow refreshing film. But it’s not great.

sixteen-candles

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Re-Watch: Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins
Director: Joe Dante
Writer: Chris Columbus
Cast: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Corey Feldman, Hoyt Axton, Frances Lee McCain, Dick Miller
Part of: /slash Filmfestival Creature Christmas

Plot:
In a weird shop in Chinatown Randall Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) finds the perfect Christmas present for his son Billy (Zach Galligan): a mysterious creature called a mogwai. Together with the mogwai, soon called Gizmo, come strict handling instructions: No bright lights. No water. No food after midnight. Billy is overjoyed at the gift, but unfortunately he soon discovers just what happens when you break the three rules. And it’s nothing good.

It’s been ages that I saw this film – it is one of my favorite childhood movies – and I was honestly surprised how much I still remembered of it. And I still love it, especially the first half.

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Stranger Than Paradise (1984)

[The movie was part of the road movie special at the Filmmuseum.]

Stranger Than Paradise is a film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson and Cecillia Stark.

Plot:
Willie (John Lurie) lives in New York and gets by on more or less legal endeavors together with his friends Eddie (Richard Edson). One day he gets a visit from his Hungarian cousin Eva (Eszter Balint). And Eddie is immediately smitten. After Eva leaves, Willie and Eddie get some money from betting on horses and they decide to travel and visit Eva in Cleveland in turn.

Weird, weirder, Jim Jarmusch. Stranger Than Paradise is Jim Jarmusch’s first big film and it already has all the trademarks of his work. I guess you have to like his style. I do and I loved the film.

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Starman (1984)

[Part of the Science Fiction special in the Vienna Filmmuseum.]

Starman is a movie by John Carpenter, starring Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen and Charles Martin Smith.

Plot:
Having got the invitation extended by Voyager 2, an alien lands on earth: Starman (Jeff Bridges) takes on the form of Jenny’s (Karen Allen) recently deceased husband, which – understandably – freaks her out quite a bit. He then “asks” Jenny to bring her across the country to Arizona. But Starman’s arrival hasn’t gone unnoticed, and soon Starman and Jenny are being followed on their “roadtrip”: by the government, the military and the enthusiastic scientist Mark Shermin (Charles Martin Smith).

Starman has many reasons not to work: The script is trying a little too hard, it’s a John Carpenter movie, the special effects haven’t aged very well and neither has the music. And then there’s Jeff Bridges and he is so absofuckinglutely incredible that he counterweighs all those things. Easily.

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Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

[The second of the /slash Filmfestival Christmas Special movies.]

Silent Night, Deadly Night is a horror movie directed by Charles E. Sellier Jr. and starring Robert Brian Wilson, Gilmer McCormick and Lilyan Chauvin.

Plot:
When he’s 5, Billy (Jonathan Best) has one hell of a Christmas: first his otherwise catatonic grandfather (Will Hare) gives him a speech about Santa punishing naughty children. Then his parents get murdered in front of him by a guy in a Santa costume. This all leaves Billy severly traumatised (as you might imagine) and is not made better by the treatment he receives in the orphanage he’s subsequently sent to.
Ten years later Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) is working in a toy store on Christmas when Santa falls in and he is asked to replace him. But donning that Santa costume is too much – and Billy snaps.

Silent Night, Deadly Night is every stereotype of bad 80s horror movies combined – the ridiculous backstory, the nudity for no particular reason, the ending which already lays everything down for a sequel, the mediocre, over-the-top-performances. And even though all of this should make it a trite affair, the movie is immensly entertaining.

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Re-Watch: Kaze no tani no Naushika [Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind] (1984)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is Hayao Miyazaki‘s second movie and the first to be entirely his own.

Plot:
The world is pretty much entirely swallowed by toxic woods, inhabited by huge insects. Nausicaä lives in the Valley of the Wind, one of the few places left that has not been covered by the poisonous gas. When one day a plane crashes in the valley, Nausicaä gets drawn into a war that will shape what it’s left of the world.

To be honest, upon first watching, Nausicaä was the Miyazaki film I liked the least (except for Porco Rosso) which means that I still liked it a whole lot. But it improved considerably on the second watch. Which means that I really love it now. It’s beautifully made, has a wonderful story and Nausicaä is a great character.

Nausicaa

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