REVIEW: CRASH (1996)

CAST

James Spader (Stargate)
Holly Hunter(Batman V Superman)
Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Deborah Kara Unger (Highlander III)
Rosanna Arquette (Pukp Fiction)
Peter MacNeill (Regression)
David Cronenberg (The Fly)

Film producer James Ballard (James Spader) and his wife, Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger), are in an open marriage. The couple engage in various infidelities but, between them, have unenthusiastic sex. Their arousal is heightened by discussing the intimate details of their extramarital sex. While driving home from work late one night, Ballard’s car collides head-on with another, killing its male passenger. While trapped in the fused wreckage, the driver, Dr. Helen Remington (Holly Hunter), wife of the dead passenger, exposes a breast to Ballard when she pulls off the shoulder harness of her seat belt.While recovering, Ballard meets Remington again, as well as a man named Vaughan (Elias Koteas), who takes a keen interest in the brace holding Ballard’s shattered leg together and photographs it. While leaving the hospital, Remington and Ballard begin an affair, one primarily fueled by their shared experience of the car crash (not only do all of their sexual assignations take place in cars, all of Remington’s off-screen sexual encounters take place in cars as well). In an attempt to make some sense of why they are so aroused by their car wreck, they go to see one of Vaughan’s cult meetings/performance pieces, a re-creation of the car crash that killed James Dean with authentic cars and stunt drivers. When Transport Ministry officials break up the event, Ballard flees with Remington and Vaughan.Ballard becomes one of Vaughan’s followers who fetishize car crashes, obsessively watching car safety test videos and photographing traffic collisions. Ballard drives Vaughan’s Lincoln convertible around the city while Vaughan picks up and uses street prostitutes and, later, Ballard’s wife. In turn, Ballard has a dalliance with one of the other group members, Gabrielle (Rosanna Arquette), a beautiful woman whose legs are clad in restrictive steel braces and who has a vulva-like scar on the back of one of her thighs, which is used as a substitute for a vagina by Ballard. The film’s sexual couplings in (or involving) cars are not restricted to heterosexual experiences. While watching videos of car crashes, Remington becomes extremely aroused and gropes the crotches of both Ballard and Gabrielle, suggesting an imminent ménage à trois. Instead, Vaughan and Ballard eventually turn towards each other and have sex while, later, Gabrielle and Remington have sex with each other.Though Vaughan claims at first that he is interested in the “reshaping of the human body by modern technology,” in fact his project is to live out the philosophy that the car crash is a “fertilizing rather than a destructive event, mediating the sexuality of those who have died with an intensity that’s impossible in any other form.”The film’s climax begins with Vaughan’s death and ends with Ballard being involved in another semi-deliberate car crash, this one involving his wife. Their fetish for car crashes has, ironically enough, had an unusual bonding effect on the Ballards’ marriage. As he caresses her bruised body on the grass median near the crash, Ballard and his wife display affection for each other, ending with Ballard saying, “Maybe the next one,” possibly implying that the logical end result of their extreme fetish is death.

Throughout everything, Cronenberg’s film manages to become a mesmeric masterpiece of unexpected profoundness and dramatic brilliance.

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REVIEW: THIRTEEN

CAST

Nikki reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)
Vanessa hudgens (Powers)
Holly Hunter (Batman v Superman)
Brady Corbet (Melancholia)
Sarah Clarke (Twilight)
Kip Pardue (Driven)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
Cynthia Ettinger (The Silence of The Lambs)
Deborah Kara Unger (Highlander III)

image-w1280Thirteen-year-old Tracy Freeland begins her school year as a smart and sweet honor student at a middle school in Los Angeles. Her divorced mother Melanie is a recovering alcoholic, who struggles to support Tracy and her older brother Mason as a hairdresser. Tracy feels ignored by her mother, who is too busy with her fellow ex-addict boyfriend Brady to address Tracy’s increasing depression. After being teased for her “Cabbage Patch” clothes, Tracy decides to shed her ‘little girl’ image and gets her mother to purchase trendier clothes. When Tracy wears one of her new outfits to school, she is complimented by Evie Zamora, one of the most popular girls at school. Evie invites Tracy to go shopping on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood but gives her a fake phone number as a prank. Nevertheless, Tracy determinedly shows up on Melrose Avenue and meets up with Evie and her friend Astrid. Tracy is uncomfortable with the two shoplifting and excuses herself to sit outside the store on a bench.3When a distracted rich woman sits next to Tracy, Tracy takes the chance to steal the woman’s wallet, which impresses Evie and Astrid. The three go on a shopping spree with the stolen money and Tracy and Evie become fast friends. Evie introduces Tracy to her world of sex, drugs, and criminal activity, much to Tracy’s delight. When Evie tells Melanie that her legal guardian/cousin Brooke sent her an email, about going to a convention in Bakersfield for 2 weeks, she temporarily moves into the Freeland household and discovers that Tracy regularly cuts herself to cope with stress. The two promise to stay friends forever and continue with their self destructive exploits. Although Melanie is concerned about the change in Tracy’s behavior and worries about the extent of Evie’s influence, she cannot find a way to intervene. Melanie attempts to send Evie home but Evie claims her guardian’s boyfriend is physically abusive. A torn Melanie reluctantly agrees to let her stay. As Tracy and Evie become closer, Tracy shuts Melanie further out of her life.MCDTHIR FE001Evie and Tracy get increasingly out of control, each egging the other on. The pair attempt to seduce Tracy’s neighbor Luke, a lifeguard in his early twenties, and ditch a family movie night to get high on the streets. Mason is shocked when he bumps into Tracy wearing sexualized clothing, including thong underwear, but Tracy dismisses his concerns. Later on, the girls take turns inhaling from a can of gas duster for computers for fun and become so intoxicated that they hit each other, accidentally drawing blood. Melanie attempts to break the girl’s friendship by sending Tracy to live with her father but he refuses. Meanwhile, Melanie goes over to Brooke’s house, with Tracy and Evie, to find out what is going on, because she’s been calling Brooke for two weeks. They find that Brooke was hiding because of bad plastic surgery she received. Evie asks Melanie to formally adopt her but Melanie refuses. Tracy meekly supports her mother’s decision. Angry and hurt, a tearful Evie storms off. At school, Evie turns her friends against Tracy and, depressed, Tracy slowly begins to realize the negative effects of her lifestyle when she is told she might have to repeat the seventh grade. To her surprise, Brady finds her walking home from school and takes her home where Melanie, Evie, and Brooke are sitting quietly in the living room waiting for her.thirteenBrooke confronts Tracy about her drug use and stealing, having been convinced that Tracy was the bad influence by Evie. Outraged, Tracy insists that Evie was the instigator but Brooke refuses to listen and announces that she is moving Evie to Ojai to keep her away from Tracy. Melanie defends Tracy’s innocence but then Brooke pulls Tracy’s sleeve up to show Melanie Tracy’s self-harm scars, showing that Tracy was troubled long before she met Evie. After a screaming match, Brooke and Evie leave. Tracy weeps in Melanie’s arms and attempts to fight against her mother’s love, but Melanie embraces her and insists that she loves Tracy regardless. Tracy tearfully pleads with Melanie to let go, with no success. The two fall asleep on Tracy’s bed. The last scene shows Tracy spinning alone and screaming on a park merry-go-round during the daytime.10386826_3This film pulls no punches, and viewers should be aware that this is a serious and at times disturbing portrait of female adolescence – not family viewing.Thirteen allows the outside world to get a small glimpse at what impressionable teenagers have to deal with in a overly demanding society.

REVIEW: HIGHLANDER 3: THE SORCERER

 

CAST

Christopher Lambert (Fortress)
Mario Van Peebles (Ali)
Deborah Kara Unger (Crash)
Mako (Conan The Barbarian)
Raoul Trujillo (Apocalypto)
Martin Neufeld (The Peacekeeper)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)

Image result for highlander 3Some time after the death of his wife Heather, Connor travels to Japan to request training from the Immortal Japanese sorcerer Nakano. Nakano lives in a cave of Mount Niri, and has a reputation as a master of Illusion. Another Immortal, Kane, is also interested in mastering the power of Illusion and is making his way across Asia, with two henchmen in tow (Khabul Khan and Senghi Khan). They burn a village, massacre its population and eventually reach the cave. Kane defeats and decapitates Nakano, despite Connor’s attempts. The energies released during the Quickening cause the cave to collapse. The Highlander manages to escape, but Kane and his men are trapped. Their situation prevents them from participating in “The Gathering” of 1985.Image result for highlander 3In 1788/1789 in France, Connor makes the acquaintance of Sarah Barrington, an Englishwoman visiting relatives, and resembles the future Alex Johnson. The two become lovers, but when the French Revolution begins, MacLeod becomes involved. MacLeod is captured, and sentenced to death for treason against King Louis XVI of France. His Immortal friend Pierre Bouchet explains that he was tired of his immortal life, and dupes the guards into executing him in MacLeod’s place. Connor is falsely reported deceased. Believing her lover dead, Sarah marries another man and has children.Image result for highlander 3In 1994, Connor is living with his adopted son John in Marrakesh. In 1987, Brenda Wyatt, the woman he married after the Gathering, was killed in a car accident. Although he survived the accident, he still believes that “The Game” is over. In Japan, two archaeologists have excavated a cave to discover whether the legend of the sorcerer Nakano is true. One of the archaeologists, Dr. Alexandra Johnson, whose interests will lead her to Connor MacLeod, resembles Sarah.Image result for highlander 3The excavations free Kane, who sets out in pursuit of Connor, sending Khabul ahead and beheading Senghi to get his power. MacLeod leaves John in the care of his friend, Jack Donovan, and departs to New York City to engage in the final showdown for the Prize. When he arrives, he is found by Khabul: the two fight, and Connor wins. When Khabul’s decapitated body is found, Lt. John Stenn goes on the trail of the main suspect of the 1985 “headhunter” case, Russell Nash. Russell Nash was the alias used by MacLeod during the time of the Gathering. As Alex investigates a piece of cloth found on the site, she discovers that it is a shred of a kilt, with a design that designates a branch of the MacLeod family. This leads her to Nash Antiques, where Connor has returned in preparation for the battle against Kane. The Highlander is confronted on Holy Ground at a former Buddhist shrine by Kane, who challenges him. The resulting fight is a violation of the Immortal Golden Rule; the battle ends when MacLeod’s katana blade is shattered. Kane flees, and Connor decides to return to the Scottish Highlands to build another sword though his initial attempts are unsuccessful.Image result for highlander 3Alex tracks him down to give him a bar of finely refined steel that she found in Nakano’s cave with which he forges into a new sword, and the two become lovers. MacLeod learns from Jack Donovan that his son John is on a plane for New York. Kane abducts John, and holds him hostage to lure MacLeod. MacLeod meets Kane in an old church mission in Jersey City, New Jersey, and follows him into an abandoned power plant for their final battle. The Highlander defeats Kane, wins the Prize by receiving the final Quickening, and returns to Scotland with Alex and John to live out the rest of his natural life.Image result for highlander 3Highlander 3 may not be a classic like the original movie, but it is a whole lot of fun.

REVIEW: WHITE NOISE

 

CAST
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Chandra West  (Puppet Master 4 & 5)
Deborah Kara Unger (Highlander 3)
Ian McNeice (Dune Mini Series)
Sarah Strange (Kindergarten cop 2)
Nicholas Elia (Speed Racer)
Mike Rivers (War)
Mike Dopud (Man of Steel)
Mitchell Kosterman (Smallville)
Amber Rothwell (Andromeda)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
file_204535_4_Black_Moon_Rising_Tommy_Lee_Jones
Jonathan Rivers (Michael Keaton) is a successful architect and lives a peaceful life with his wife Anna (Chandra West) until her unexpected disappearance. Eventually, he is contacted by Raymond Price (Ian McNeice), who claims that his own son had also died. He says he has recorded messages from Anna through electronic voice phenomena (EVP). While Jonathan is initially dismissive and angered, he later learns about his wife’s tragic drowning. Desperate, he begins to believe that the recorded voice is indeed that of his wife. Jonathan becomes obsessed with trying to contact her himself, despite warnings from a psychic, Mirabelle Keegan (Keegan Connor Tracy), who tries to tell him how the recording can attract other, unwanted entities. A woman named Sarah Tate (Deborah Kara Unger), who also came to Raymond for his EVP work because she lost her fiancé, befriends Jonathan.
Raymond is found dead. Jonathan begins to be followed by three demons attracted by his obsession with EVP, and finds that some of the messages he is coming across are from people who are not yet dead, but may soon be. Jonathan hears cries from a woman whom he finds in a car with a child. He is able to save the child, but not the woman. At that woman’s funeral, which Jonathan and Sarah both attend, Jonathan approaches the husband and tells him about what happened. The latter thanks Jonathan for saving his son but then asks to be left alone. The husband continues to tell Jonathan to stay away from him and his family. Afterwards, Jonathan sees images of another person, a missing woman named Mary Freeman, while working with his EVP devices. Sarah is later seriously injured by a fall from a balcony while possessed by the demons, that incident which was foreshadowed by Sarah’s image being among those on the EVP devices.
Jonathan locates the site of his wife’s death by following signs on recordings and he also finds his wife’s abandoned car. Jonathan finds a set of computers and electronic equipment on site. A construction worker (Mitchell Kosterman) from his company, who has been doing his own EVP work, is holding Mary captive. He has been under the control of the demons to kill all these people, including Anna. The three demons torture Jonathan by breaking his arms and legs and cause him to fall to his death, but a SWAT team along with Detective Smits (Mike Dopud) arrives and are able to save Mary by shooting the construction worker dead. After his funeral, Jonathan’s voice can be heard on the radio through static interference saying “I’m sorry” to his son. The child recognizes the voice and smiles. Sarah, at the graveside in a wheelchair, is menaced by odd noises. And right before the credits roll in, the camera flashes to a TV where Jonathan and his wife are visible.
Brilliant film. Deals with thought-provoking content in a very entertaining way.