Kiss of the Damned shows that Cassavetes is worth keeping an eye on, her gorily sexual debut a vampiric fairy tale the more I think about it the more in rapture of the film I slowly become.
While composed with a meticulous eye for detail, there is still the constant omnipresent sensation that anything can happen at any moment, these characters free to shape themselves as they naturalistically would if Something in the Air was actually taking place for real and not a vibrant figment of the director’s vividly alive imagination.
It’s great, filled with superb set pieces and moments, not the least of which is a dynamic attack on the Stark mansion that had the majority of the preview audience sitting on the edge of their seats holding their breath, and I can’t say I was ever bored by anything that was going on. At the same time, there is an almost television-like efficiency that can grow stale, nothing ever popping out or calling attention to itself in a way I could ever say was entirely memorable.
Watching this movie was a beguiling joy that brought a smile to my face and filled my heart with the kind of rapture that lingered there for hours afterwards. Renoir drips with insight and meaning, its depiction of two famed artists both justly celebrated today as game-changing trendsetters one all involved can be justifiably proud of.
The bottom line is that the director has a lot on his mind and a ton he wants to say, the majority of which I firmly believe deserves to be stated as loudly and as exuberantly as possible. But as good the cast is and as great as many individual moments are none of them are detailed or are as explored as fully as I felt like they needed to be, making [At Any Price] an intriguing oddity difficult to embrace even if in some ways it’s still relatively easy to recommend.
Errors of the Human Body doesn’t always work, pieces of it not always fitting comfortably with their cinematic counterparts. But the emotional core of this biological nightmare consistently rings true, making the DNA-fueled terrors that are being depicted all the more chilling on a personal level than they ever could have been otherwise.
Nichols once again subverts genre convention and slowly goes in directions you don’t always see coming. If his debut was a Hatfield and McCoy descent into familial darkness and his sophomore effort a psychological freak-out combining nature in upheaval and a devoted father slowly losing his marbles, then Mud (2013) is a coming-of-age drama of faith, understanding and friendship that defies convention resulting in an authentic urgency unique unto itself.
There’s nothing of merit to take away from Pain & Gain other than the fact that maybe in the hands of a different filmmaker something worthwhile could have been crafted, this pile of bombast as instantly forgettable, and in some ways lamentable, as anything I’m likely to see in all of 2013.
The Lords of Salem is a giant step in the right direction for Zombie, and for a director I’ve thought precious little positive about in the past the fact I’m now excited to see what he’s got in store for us next is no small achievement.