[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]
Related: 1997 - film
Films: Boogie Nights (1997) - Funny Games (1997) - The Postman (1997)
- Cube (1997) [Amazon US]
If Clive Barker had written an episode of The Twilight Zone, it might have looked something like Cube. A handful of strangers wake up inside a bizarre maze, having been spirited there during the night. They quickly learn that they have to navigate their way through a series of chambers if they have any hope of escape, but the problem is that there are lethal traps awaiting if they choose their route unwisely. Having established some imaginative and grisly punishments in store for the hostages, cowriter and director Vincenzo Natali turns his attention to the characters, for whom being trapped amplifies their best and worst qualities. The film is, in fact, similar to a famous episode of Rod Serling's old television series, though Natali's explanation for why these poor people are being put through hell is a lot closer to the spirit of The X-Files. Cube has some solid moments of suspense and drama, and the sets are appropriately striking: one is tempted to believe at first the characters are lost inside a computer chip. --Tom Keogh [Don't believe the revieuwers at amazon, excellent movie, best SF I have seen in a while] [...]
- Conspirators of Pleasure (1997) - Jan Svankmajer [Amazon US]
Imagine Ophuls' 'La Ronde' remade by a Czech Surrealist, with 'professional expertise' (as the end credits state) from Sacher-Masoch, de Sade, Freud, Bunuel, Ernst and Brauk. After an opening credits montage of 18th century erotic prints, scored to a lovely, kitschy waltz, 'Conspirators of Pleasure' follows five fetishists whose narratives interlock in bizarre ways. -- darragh o'donoghue for Amazon.com
- Winterschläfer aka Winter Sleepers (1997) - Tom Tykwer [Amazon US]
Tom Tykwer, writer-director of the international hit Run Lola Run, shows a more pensive side with Winter Sleepers. The film examines the lives of five characters in the aftermath of an auto accident. As with Run Lola Run, Tykwer's main concern is with chance and coincidence, and the ways people unwittingly influence the course of each other's lives. Theo, a farmer, sets off to take his horse to the vet, unaware that his daughter is hidden in the trailer. Momentarily distracted, Theo swerves to avoid a sports car coming the other way and crashes into a mountain slope, critically injuring his daughter. The sports car is covered by snow, and René, the driver, digs his way out and leaves the scene. Meanwhile translator Rebecca negotiates a stormy-but-sexy relationship with loutish ski instructor Marco, both of them unaware that Marco's stolen car was involved in the crash, and Rebecca's roommate Laura nurses the young accident victim by day and begins a tentative relationship with René by night. While Winter Sleepers doesn't have the same manic pace as Lola, Tykwer's visual style is very much in evidence--he makes beautiful images of everything from the snow-covered Bavarian mountains to a cut finger. As it moves through a series of tiny but crucial events to a truly haunting ending, Winter Sleepers is in many ways reminiscent of Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter, both in its central plot device and in its melancholy atmosphere of fatal inevitability. --Ali Davis
- Gattaca (1997) - Andrew Niccol [Amazon US]
Confidently conceived and brilliantly executed, Gattaca had a somewhat low profile release in 1997, but audiences and critics hailed the film's originality. It's since been recognized as one of the most intelligent science fiction films of the 1990s. Writer-director Andrew Niccol, the talented New Zealander who also wrote the acclaimed Jim Carrey vehicle The Truman Show, depicts a near-future society in which one's personal and professional destiny is determined by one's genes. In this society, "Valids" (genetically engineered) qualify for positions at prestigious corporations, such as Gattaca, which grooms its most qualified employees for space exploration. "In-Valids" (naturally born), such as the film's protagonist, Vincent (Ethan Hawke), are deemed genetically flawed and subsequently fated to low-level occupations in a genetically caste society. With the help of a disabled "Valid" (Jude Law), Vincent subverts his society's social and biological barriers to pursue his dream of space travel; any random mistake--and an ongoing murder investigation at Gattaca--could reveal his plot. Part thriller, part futuristic drama and cautionary tale, Gattaca establishes its social structure so convincingly that the entire scenario is chillingly believable. With Uma Thurman as the woman who loves Vincent and identifies with his struggle, Gattaca is both stylish and smart, while Jude Law's performance lends the film a note of tragic and heartfelt humanity. In addition to a superb widescreen transfer, the DVD edition of Gattaca includes several deleted scenes (and one humorous outtake), which further establish the story's social context and provide additional insight into the scientific and ethical issues explored in this extraordinary film. --Jeff Shannon
- Abre Los Ojos aka Open Your Eyes (1997) - Alejandro Amenábar [Amazon US]
Imagine if an actor's director like Eric Rohmer--whose films consist almost entirely of conversation between pairs or small groups of people--made a film that incorporated elements from movies like Dark City, eXistenZ, The Thirteenth Floor, The Truman Show, and Total Recall. The result might resemble Alejandro Amenabar's remarkable second feature, Open Your Eyes, which favors ideas over effects and offers twist upon twist with mind-warping agility. This film rewards multiple viewings, pushing the viewer toward one perception of reality, then switching to another until reality itself is called into question. Melodrama, love story, and psychological thriller combine with a dash of science fiction, forming a plot that is both disorienting and deceptively precise.
Set in Madrid, the story defies description, but this much can be revealed: young, handsome Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) is vain, rich, charming, and--following a botched suicide-murder scheme by a jilted lover--horribly disfigured. He'd fallen in love with Sofia (Penélope Cruz) but is now an embittered husk of his former self, stuck in a "psychiatric penitentiary" on a murder charge and hiding behind an expressionless mask. His reality has crumbled, but as the film's agenda is gradually revealed, we realize that there are other factors in play. Exposing that agenda would be a criminal offense against those who haven't seen the film; suffice it to say that Open Your Eyes takes you into the twilight zone and beyond, and does so cleverly enough to prompt Tom Cruise to produce and star in an English-language remake, Vanilla Sky. The 2001 remake, directed by Cameron Crowe, costars Cameron Diaz and Penélope Cruz, who reprises her original role. --Jeff Shannon
- Office Killer (1997) - Cindy Sherman [Amazon US]
Photographer and director Cindy Sherman has obviously always been interested in film. Her well-known Untitled Film Stills, from movies that don't exist--pregnant scenes that seem as though they are in medias res but are really staged--feature diverse characters who, upon closer examination, prove to be Sherman herself, every time. Her 1998 film debut, Office Killer, takes her postmodern playfulness with such narrative frames out of the equation--and leaves us with something more flatly macabre and less subtle than Sherman's other work.
Here, Carol Kane plays Dorine, a mousy, lonely, and introverted copyeditor for a consumer publication. Think for a moment what kind of person a copyeditor must be: this is the person whose job, whose passion, it is to know exactly where the apostrophe goes and to know the difference between effect and affect. The pressure can get to you.
Tyrannized at home by a domineering mother and tyrannized at work by backstabbing coworkers, downsizing, and newfangled computers, Dorine finds that the copy she cleans up is her only pleasure in life. As pressure builds and builds--Kane's performance exhibits amazing mastery of body language--Dorine finally caves and steps into an insanity that, in a horrifying, animalian fashion, has its own pleasantness and reason. Despite Kane's strong acting here, she is supported by flattish performances from Molly Ringwald, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Barbara Sukowa.
It is unclear if Sherman means to serve or redefine the concept of narrative through this emotional detachment she brings to the screen. Certainly, this isn't a conventional film, and its cinematography and innovative story are indeed attention-keeping, even entertaining, on a horror-flick level at least. If her goal is to serve narrative canonically, then she fails almost miserably. If her goal is to redefine narrative, then she may have achieved something here that most critics aren't clueing into. It's just unclear what this achievement is. --Erik J. Macki, amazon.com
Preaching to the Perverted (1997) - Stuart Urban
Preaching to the Perverted (1997) - Stuart Urban [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Preaching to the Perverted is a 1997 British comedy film written and directed by Stuart Urban.
The film stars Guinevere Turner who plays Tanya Cheex, a New York dominatrix. Henry Harding MP is played by Tom Bell and Christien Anholt plays Peter Emery. Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.
Henry Harding MP, a British government minister on a moral crusade, hires an inexperienced young computer whizzkid, Peter Emery who works for a Christian computer company called Holy Hardware, to infiltrate the United Kingdom BDSM scene. Harding is set on putting a club called "House of Thwax" run by Mistress Tanya Cheex out of business, and is sure that Peter's secretly videotaped evidence of the club's activities will do the trick. However, the virginal Peter takes a liking to Tanya Cheex and finds himself falling for the Mistress ! --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preaching_to_the_Perverted [Mar 2005]
your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products