In my review, kinda, of Beastly, I said there was a movie coming out this year that I couldn’t wait to see called Antiviral, as directed by a first-timer called Brandon Cronenberg. I also said that Brandon Cronenberg was the son of Canadian director David Cronenberg, who–when he was younger–had cinematic balls the size of boulders. All I have to tell you about the risks this man took is the image of James Woods pushing a betamax tape into his chest-vagina in Videodrome. This was a man who did not care less about being polite or conservative or conventional. And as Tarantino doesn’t want to happen to him, around middle age, Cronenberg the elder started reining all of that in. Either because he discovered maturity or had a family or just wanted to start being recognized for all of the courage he’d had earlier, his movies started being more about families dealing with true-to-life horrors than about Jeff Goldblum turning into a half-fly/half-human horror. He also started casting Viggo Mortensen in everything, but I think that was coincidental and a product of a good working relationship.
And so, in the Oscarbaiting twilight of his career, we have A Dangerous Method, the second movie this year wherein Michael Fassbender is compelled to have deviant sex. Only this time, instead of being a twenty-first century young man, he’s Carl Jung, the psychologist responsible for pretty much all of modern theory (statement not intended to be factual). One of his patients, later friend/mistress and fellow frontal lobe pioneer is Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a woman who–as a child–was sexually excited by her father’s beatings and the feelings of shame they aroused. To deal with this patient, Jung applies Freud’s theory of talk therapy. Of course, to make sure he’s doing it right, he writes to Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) personally, having him weigh in on all of his problems and discussing the issues in the field of psychology for hours on end. Read more…
That title should really say REVIEW, SORTA: Beastly, but we’ll leave that be for the moment. It’s apparently Friday the 13th, and I don’t know if it’s the first Frirf the Thirith I’ve written on, but a new year is a great excuse for new traditions. New tradition: every Friday the 13th, I see a movie I wouldn’t watch otherwise. For instance, 2010’s live action Disneyfied update of the Beauty and the Beast tale, Beastly, starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer as the title roles, respectively. But reversed. She’s the beauty. He’s the–you get what I’m saying. So we all know the gist–superficial golden boy is cursed by a hag of a witch until he convinces someone else that there is value in him beside his looks. But how is Beastly, the determinedly inoffensive reimagining, any different? How is it unique? What does it do that’s special?
Well, very little. There is pretty much … very, very little to recommend this movie. It’s sappy, it’s overwrought and underperformed, the makeup effects are treated in dialogue like they’re from John Carpenter’s The Thing but look more like something from one of the tamer Die Antwoord videos. So not “Evil Boy”, is what I’m saying. Like, from–from “Wat Pomp”. It looks like the mask from “Wat Pomp”. It’s about as scary as a wood mask on a normal person, but everybody keeps treating it as a reason to be banished. In the final scene where Kyle (Pettyfer) has triumphantly re-entered the school to declare his love for Lindy (Hudgens), girls are shocked and near puking. And all I could think was “please–half of those girls are so turned on by the well-defined bone structure of a dude with neck tattoos and face-metal all over the place”. Read more…
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