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A Geek’s Month in Review: August 2012

by on 2012/08/31

What a month . . . of surprises, of discovery, and horrors unrealized.

When I set out on an overview of David Cronenberg’s career, I braced for a different experience. I expected his trademark “body horror” throughout.

Imagine my surprise when he helmed a racing flick, a surreal Beat thriller, and a psychological romance.

Earlier in the month, things seemed pretty much as I expected, with unsurprising — though no less entertaining — genre pics.

Then came the twists.

Things I remembered liking in the past no longer seemed as strong. Movies I had hoped to see were suddenly swapped out. Popular, critical favourites left me cold, while dark horses completely enthralled me.

So my impulse to survey these works has proven less off-putting than eye-opening, exposing me to some truly amazing gems. It’s made me hopeful to see more of his catalogue unless, of course, there’s something off-putting in those which remain: The Brood, Cosmopolis, Crimes of the Future, M. Butterfly, Rabid, Shivers, and Stereo.

Of course, the most probable horror of all will be the prices paid to obtain them.


Favourite
A Dangerous Method (2011) on 2012/08/30

* * * * *

A Dangerous Method is an awesome culmination of art and craft. It combines history, biography, and provocative ideas, avoiding the pitfall of dry academic theory. Sensationalist? Not quite. Entertaining? Decidedly.

“To end on a waggish note, it’s a Merchant Ivory take on Hitchcock’s Marnie.”


Surprise
Spider (2002) on 2012/08/25

* * * * *

“It’s difficult to pass judgement here without seeming unfairly critical of the Cronenberg efforts I’ve reviewed at so far. They are, almost without exception, fascinating entertainment but Spider, for me, was an order of magnitude greater. It comprises many strengths from what’s gone before, imbued with more resonant depth. To paraphrase Neville’s character, that repertoire is full of loud worlds, and this entry is a quiet island.”


Disappointment
Naked Lunch (1991) on 2012/08/19

* * *

“By virtually every measure, I was profoundly disappointed, not because Naked Lunch was awful, but because it wasn’t excellent. I respect what Cronenberg’s doing here. I simply didn’t enjoy it on either a visceral or intellectual level.”
.


Least-Liked
Eastern Promises (2007) on 2012/08/26

* * *

“Was I disappointed? Yes. I expected more. On reflection I decided its most redeeming quality was to remind us that slavery has yet to be abolished. As a movie, Eastern Promises is too well crafted to fail, yet offers little else to become truly great. I learned what I needed to, wasn’t entertained, and can’t imagine rewatching it again.”


Show Me
Another Woman (1988) on 2012/08/13

* * * *

Another Woman is about the excruciating, impossible reality of dysfunctional families and bad relationships. It is all there: the petty jealousies, suffocating boredom, anger boiling below the surface, the loveless hours (weeks, months), the infidelity, the infidelity, the infidelity.

“Fun for the whole tortured family.”


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