My weekly movie reviews. You can also read these on letterboxd.

Pasolini (2014)

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I watched this film at the recommendation of my friend Gus. He compared it to my impressionistic take on a real life figure in Durant’s Never Closes. I’m glad he encouraged this viewing because I have been dismissive of Ferrara in recent years. However, I think he’s evolved with age and is making more nuanced pictures than he did in the 80s and 90s.

I admire the film’s structure, the way it seamlessly moves between Pasolini’s ideas and moments from his last day. Dafoe makes a great choice not to do an accent and comes off perfectly in the role with much assurance. Ferrara’s staging of the murder is disturbing and the following scene with Pasolini’s mother is heartbreaking. These don’t feel like actors. They feel like real people.

Watched on DVD.

Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth (1991)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Not quite as good as the original or the short film that followed, this sequel is still a delight mainly because we get to hang out with the characters again.

Charles Band switches things considerably in this follow up, trading the dark new wave feel of the first for a sun-soaked coastal vibe. He also surprisingly employs a complicated plot which sometimes feels unnecessary when all I really want is to watch Tim Thomerson chew scenery as Jack Deth. My biggest complaint would be the tacked on villain, a riff on Whistler from the first film whose existence never made sense to me.

I will say the twist with the wife is effective. Even if the conflict with Helen Hunt’s character gets a little tedious at times, the ending makes up for it with a couple very touching moments.

It’s fun, funny, and has plenty of classic Jack Deth moments (my favorite being the “It wasn’t that bad” when talking with his wife about sex). I am loving this series and can’t wait to watch part three.

Watched on Full Moon Features.

Deep Water (2022)

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Anyone hoping for a triumphant return for Adrian Lyne with this film will most likely be greatly disappointed. I was. The director of classic erotic thrillers has clearly forgotten how to make one and also how to identify a good script.

I haven’t read Highsmith’s novel but considering her immense talent, it’s hard to believe the source material doesn’t have more nuance and whit than this plodding, dumb movie. Deep Water lacks thrills and doesn’t do much better in the sex department either.

One of its biggest problems are the two leads. Ana gives a committed performance but her character is a cheating slut with absolutely no redeeming value. I kept looking for something to like, or at least have fun with, in her character and came up with nothing time and time again. Unlike enjoyable slutty characters such as Virginia Madsen’s unforgettable femme fatale in The Hot Spot, Ana’s is just a boring whore. That leaves the audience, or at least this viewer, with Ben Affleck’s cuckold to sympathize with. The problem is that the light has died in Affleck. Look at his eyes in this and pretty much every recent movie including Triple Frontier and you will see no life. You could argue that Affleck’s disposition helps with this character but I would argue back that we need to feel something for him to care about what he’s going through. The actor needs a serious revival, on and off screen, or I feel that he will sink further and further in the depths.

The movie has no moves, no surprises, nothing. And on top of it all, it features some of the worst rear projection work with driving and bicycling scenes that I’ve seen in a long while. Sheesh.

Watched on Hulu