Re-Watch: Body of Evidence (1992)

Body of Evidence
Director: Uli Edel
Writer: Brad Mirman
Cast: Madonna, Willem Dafoe, Joe Mantegna, Anne Archer, Michael Forest, Julianne Moore, Frank Langella, Jürgen Prochnow
Seen on: 9.7.2018

Plot:
When millionaire Andrew Marsh (Joe Mantegna) is found dead from a heart attack, handcuffed to his bed with a sex tape of him and his lover Rebecca (Madonna), suspicions immediately fall on her to have purposefully fucked him to death. When it’s discovered that she stands to inherit a lot of money from him, suspicions turn into criminal charges and Rebecca is arrested despite her protestations of innocence. Her lawyer Frank (Willem Dafoe) is very much drawn to her and even while he starts to investigate the case, the two start an affair.

Body of Evidence is sensationalist crap. With a bit of a more feminist and less voyeuristic/fetishistic tendency, it could have gone in the direction of Gone Girl, but instead we got objectification and misogyny. It’s literally hateful.

Film Poster shwoing Madonna laying on a pillow, apparently naked.

[SPOILERS]

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The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag (1992)

The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag
Director: Allan Moyle
Writer: Grace Cary Bickley
Cast: Penelope Ann Miller, Eric Thal, Alfre Woodard, Julianne Moore, Andy Romano, Ray McKinnon, William Forsythe, Xander Berkeley, Meat Loaf, Catherine Keener
Seen on: 2.4.2018

Plot:
Betty Lou (Penelope Ann Miller) is a librarian, and married to Alex (Eric Thal), a police officer. But Alex and pretty much everyone else is ignoring her. And Betty Lou really doesn’t know how to make somebody pay attention. Not even when she finds a murder weapon is she able to make anybody listen to her. But she has had it and when she accidentally fires the gun herself and is arrested, she confesses to the murder herself. And suddenly all eyes are on her.

The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag is a very, very stupid film that makes absolutely no sense and isn’t funny despite how much it tries to be. It’s a film best forgotten (and it probably would have been already if it wasn’t for Julianne Moore’s small supporting role. At least that’s the reason I know about the film in the first place).

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The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
Director: Curtis Hanson
Writer: Amanda Silver
Cast: Annabella Sciorra, Rebecca De Mornay, Matt McCoy, Ernie Hudson, Julianne Moore, Madeline Zima, John de Lancie
Seen on: 11.2.2018
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Plot:
Claire Bartel (Annabella Sciorra) is very happy with her husband Michael (Matt McCoy), and of course their 6-year-old daughter Emma (Madeline Zima). She’s also pregnant again. But when she goes to see her gynaecologist, Dr Mott (John De Lancie), he sexually assaults her. Claire calls in the authorities and Mott commits suicide to escape the scandal. Months later, Mott’s widow (Rebecca De Mornay) comes to the Bartels’ house to work as a nanny under a false name. Not knowing who she actually is, Claire hires her, giving her the perfect opportunity to get revenge for her ruined life.

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is simply awful. Misogynistic and stupid on some many levels, I could barely stand it. It’s a catastrophe.

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Re-Watch: Batman Returns (1992)

Batman Returns
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Daniel Waters
Based on: Bob Kane‘s and Bill Finger‘s comics character
Sequel to: Batman
Cast: Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle
Seen on: 8.12.2017
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Plot:
The Penguin (Danny DeVito) was brought up in the sewers after his parents abandoned him because of his disability. Now he wants to rejoin society and he thinks that Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) is the person who can help him with this: Shreck is a popular business man who has successfully hidden the shady side of his business – but Penguin threatens to expose him. But even as Penguin’s plan seems to work, Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Michael Keaton) becomes suspicious. And he finds that his suspicions may align with the newly appeared Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer), even if their methods and goals do not.

Batman Returns does have some weaknesses and some moments that made me want to headdesk, but with that incarnation of Catwoman, I can’t help but love the film. And I definitely liked it better than the first one.

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Candyman (1992)

Candyman
Director: Bernard Rose
Writer: Bernard Rose
Based on: Clive Barker‘s story The Forbidden
Cast: Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams

Plot:
Helen (Virginia Madsen) wants to write a thesis about urban legends. Among them, the legend of the Candyman: if you say his name five times into the mirror, he will come through it and kill you. Her research takes Helen to a run down apartment complex that have been haunted by a series of murders. Bit by bit Helen comes to believe that the Candyman actually exists.

This movie was surprisingly not awful. I mean, it was pretty cheesy and the ending could have been better, but it was tense and it had the most excellent score by Philip Glass. I was caught up in it.

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Alien³ (1992)

Alien³
Director: David Fincher
Writer: David Giler, Walter Hill, Larry Ferguson
Sequel to: Alien, Aliens
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Lance Henriksen, Pete Postlethwaite

Plot:
After just about escaping with her life, Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) escape pod crashes on a prison planet, leaving her the only survivor. The inmates/planet’s inhabitants are all male and strictly religious and Ripley’s arrival causes much tension. It doesn’t help either when she discovers that she crashed because there had been an Alien in her pod. The residing doctor Clemens (Charles Dance) is the only one who believes Ripley when she says that there is a threat – at least at first. While they wait for the Company to come pick up Ripley, things become ever worse.

Alien³ does have some interesting moments. Unfortunately, it decides to focus on the other things instead and ends up being way, way too long.

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Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America (1992)

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

Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America is a 50-minutes-movie by Craig Baldwin, narrated by Sean Kilkoyne.

Plot:
In the year 1000, aliens from the planet Quetzalcoatl fled to earth, where they started to live underground, bothering no-one. But in the 1950s, the aliens are disturbed by the Atomic Bombs testings – and they start to attack with doppelgangers, killer bees and all kinds of other conspiracies.

Tribulation 99 sounds great on paper – a fake documentary made completely with footage from other movies, building a grand unified conspiracy theory about aliens? That has got to be awesome, right? Wrong. Unfortunately this movie is too frantic for its own good.

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Orlando (1992)

Orlando is a movie by Sally Potter based on Virginia Woolf‘s book of the same name, starring Tilda Swinton, Quentin Crisp and Billy Zane.

Plot:
Orlando (Virginia Woolf) is a young man during the reign of Elizabeth I (Quentin Crisp). When he vows never to grow old, he doesn’t. The movie follows his life and affairs, first with the Queen, then with the Russian Princess Sasha (Charlotte Valandrey). After Sasha returns to Russia, Orlando leads his life pretty love-less and soon ennui sets in. Then one night, he falls asleep and can not be woken for quite a period of time. Finally he wakes up and finds himself metamorphosed into a woman’s body. And that’s when his trouble really starts.

I admit that I have never read anything by Virginia Woolf, so I can’t compare the movie and the book (yet, at least). But I really enjoyed the movie. It was funny, interesting and beautifully shot. And it has really awesome costumes and a great set design.

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Man to Man (1992)

Man to Man is a one-woman play by Manfred Karge and was filmed by John Maybury, starring Tilda Swinton.

Plot:
Shortly before the WW II, Ella Gericke (Tilda Swinton) takes on the identity of her husband Max after his death to work instead of him in the factory. She continues to be Max until she herself doesn’t even know who she is anymore.
The story is told from her point of view as an old woman.

Ugh. People, this movie is equally really boring and really annoying and very, very trying. Honestly, though Tilda Swinton gives it her best, listening to an hour long rant that’s not broken up by anything, no other person, no visual relief, nothing is not something I can recommend.

[Poster of the theatre production, not the movie.]

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Artsy and Less Artsy Movies

I went with my little nephew Y (he’s 3 and a half) to the movies this weekend and we watched Dragon Hunters. He’s a huge fan of the TV series, I think I’ve seen half an episode once. Apart from my nephew who’s as cute as he’s hilarious (“All day, I have to fight, you know. Dragons are everywhere… In kindergarten, at home, in the car, at granny’s place…”, “My dad is not a dragon hunter… he’s only a pirate.”), the experience was not so much for my enjoyment. Which is ok, since I took Y and not myself. But there are a lot of animated movies marketed for children but aimed at adults (Shrek comes to mind) and this is not one of them.
There are some beautifully made sequences (the opening credits for example, and a lot of the backgrounds – I’m a sucker for the flying islands) but the characters look weird.

I guess, it’s one of the films I’m just too late for. If I had grown up with the TV series, things might have been different.

[Almost totally off topic: Writer/director’s name is Arthur Qwak. Does anybody else think this is a pseudonym to honour Alfred J. Kwak?]

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This weekend also provided me with the opportunity to finally see Mar Adentro (yes, I know, I’m a bad movie goer for not having seen it earlier. No cookie for me). As expected, it was good. Javier Bardem was brilliant as usual and I really liked the lighting and colours.

What I didn’t expect was that I didn’t cry all the time, but almost every scene with Ramón’s father made me cry.

And I really liked about it that it was honest (or at least it felt honest). I didn’t feel like they wanted to corner me and force their point of view on me [I’m not even entirely sure what their point of view is].

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Last but not least we have Léolo.

Léolo is weird. It is touching. It is outspoken. All things I very much like about movies. It has some very interesting and good ideas. It has a very nice soundtrack.

But for me, it falls under the category “is good but could have been better if it was not trying so hard”.