So, we’ve arrived at the top 20, slowly creeping toward …
Usually the first thing added to a film when it is remade is glitz. American films from the 1970s had their own distinct, philosophical quality to them, something that inevitably gets lost in translation when the material is put to screen again by a new team of filmmakers. Still, the one thing I didn’t anticipate while watching screenwriter William Monahan and star Mark Wahlberg tackle The Gambler was a lack of visceral thrills. Director Rupert Wyatt’s film nails the look of 1974’s The Gambler, but it lacks the feel of the original.
After the somewhat languid pacing of American Horror Story: Freak Show in the season’s first half, this week’s aptly titled episode “Blood Bath” kicks things into another gear. Though Twisty’s death felt unexpected and climactic (despite occurring only five episodes into the season), the clown’s untimely departure now appears relatively inconsequential compared to this week’s events.
The cold open hints at the episode’s overall trajectory. As Gloria sits on a couch recounting Dandy’s troubled childhood, the viewer gets a stronger sense of just how twisted her son is. While the show always made it clear that he was far from a normal child, the images of him preparing to cut a young girl’s hair off and the discussion of him murdering a cat leave no doubt about his problems. As I’ve talked about extensively in earlier reviews, subtlety has never been Freak Show’s aesthetic goal, but Murphy goes out of his way in the scene to emphasize Dandy’s depravity. Though it feels a bit over the top, it does jibe with the episode’s bloody conclusion.
On September 11th, 2001, a dark chapter in world history was written. The World Trade Center, the part of the Pentagon and thousands of lives were lost at the hands of terrorism. A towering beacon of hope, the World Trade Center was destroyed and with it, the feeling of safety and security. 9/11 instantly became a date in which lives were mourned and evil hoped to one day be eradicated forever. To commemorate this year’s 9/11, the Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn, New York hosted a very special screening of King Kong, the 1976 remake of the 1933 classic of the same name. The Nitehawk chose this particular film to be screened because the Twin Towers were featured very prominently in the picture’s finale location. This was a modern change of scenery since the Empire State Building served as the original location in the 1933 film.
Since its premiere, The Good Wife has done what is nearly impossible for most shows- it is stunningly smart, perfectly paced, and beautifully written, and it has only gotten better in its game-changing fifth season. Guest stars are nothing new to the show, which has the most creative and entertaining guest casting on television, and it uses these performers incredibly well, folding them into stories the audience is already invested in alongside characters we care about.
If there’s one week in which a series entitled American Horror Story simply has to deliver the goods, it’s the one containing All Hallow’s Eve. In that respect, “Fearful Pranks Ensue” falls a little short, particularly if one expected it to step up the freakiness and/or gore quotient. Actually, as it turns out, it belongs to a entirely different sort of tradition: the time-honored transitional episode. Only in its closing moments does it threaten to take its genre elements to the next level of nutty.
The season premiere of American Horror Story: Coven weaves a menacing tale of witchcraft that pushes past anything that would resemble good taste. A Teenage virgin’s vagina is used as a deadly weapon; a bull’s head is crowned upon an African American slave, which leads to a depressing transformation of a man into minotaur; and a date rape leads to a disastrous bus crash, killing several teenage boys. That doesn’t include the various men held as prisoners and tortured in an underground dungeon, the apparent deaths of several characters; and oh, did I mention the magical vagina?
So-called “costume dramas” often deal in subtle yet significant helpings of sexual repression guiding their characters’ every action. The idea of an erotic thriller set in the 1860s is thereby rather an intriguing one – in which each intimate moment carries greater weight and excitement than in most present day scenarios. Émile Zola’s novel “Thérèse Raquin” is no stranger to cinema, its first of many screen adaptations dating back to a 1915 Italian silent film. Television veteran Charlie Stratton makes his feature directorial debut with a new look at the doomed yarn of lust and betrayal.