Showing posts with label david cronenberg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label david cronenberg. Show all posts

7 July 2013

The Brood Blu-Ray Review

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Rating: 18
BD Release date: 8th July 2013 (UK)
Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Olivier Reed,Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle
Buy The Brood: [Blu-ray]
David Cronenberg’s cult classic The Brood is perhaps one of the most innovative and surprising films to deal with the dangers of psychological therapy. Starring Oliver Reed as the mysterious therapist, Dr Raglan, Art Hindle as Frank Carveth, and Samantha Eggar as Nola Carveth, The Brood explores the possibilities for body horror in medical science without following tired routes: a man desperately clinging to what is left of his family after his ex-wife becomes increasingly more involved with mysterious treatments at a cultish psychological institute, seeks to save his family and solve a recent spate of murders that coincide with his wife’s psychotic turns.

Considering the plot for the film, it would be easy in other hands for The Brood to misfire in a big way, but in careful hands, with a good sense of humour, Cronenberg executes this passion project with nothing short of full genius. One of the things you’ll notice after a first viewing is how brave the film seems once you’ve gotten over the initial shock. The sites of violence and the manner in which those brutal scenes are depicted is riveting and sharp, in particular a class room assault is one of the most controversial yet open-eyed choices in the film.
At points The Brood can stray into laughable territory, spending too much time with hyper-characterized figures and relying a little too much on the apparent terror attached to lonesome children. Cronenberg does, however, carefully balance the humour of his film with visceral imagery and merciless moments of grotesque violence. Yes, the mutant children have perhaps approached their sell-by date and in their bright winter coats appear a wee bit garish but when taken as part of the whole they are still rendered as utterly feral and devious.
The Brood’s cult reputation comes mostly from its classic finale which offers one of the most startling images in horror, and one of the most engaging feminist/horror dialogues committed to film. It is in this shocking final scene that Samantha Eggar unleashes the full fury of her wonderfully damaged psychotic mother-figure and flaunts an unsettling talent for barmy behaviour.

Sharp and well executed, with stand-out performances from Hindle, Reed, and Eggar, and one of cinemas greatest villians and finales, Cronenberg’s The Brood is a sadly often ignored story of relationship breakdown meets horror of the psyche, highly recommended viewing for any classic horror fan.

★★★★

Scott Clark



10 May 2013

David Cronenberg's Horror Masterpiece The Brood Getting The Blu-Ray Treatment This July

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The Brood, one of David Cronenberg's most chilling and disturbing works finally gets its long-awaited UK Blu-ray debut thanks to Second Sight Films

This early masterpiece from the maestro of horror, stars Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar and is still as shocking today as it was on its original release. It comes to DVD and Blu-ray packed with brand new bonus features on 8 July 2013.

Frank Carveth (Art Hindle - Invasion of the Body Snatchers) is becoming increasingly concerned about his ex-wife Nola's (Eggar) secretive treatment at the sinister 'Somafree Institute of Psychoplasmics'. Headed by cult figure Dr Raglan (Reed - The Devils), his controversial and extreme methods seek to unleash his patients rage, which take on physical manifestations. As Nola's increasingly psychotic anger is vented during her sessions, brutal murders befall those at whom it's directed. When Frank's daughter is abducted he is led to Raglan's Institute and a terrifying, repellent final confrontation, renowned as one of the most notorious scenes in horror cinema.



BONUS FEATURES:


  • MEET THE CARVETHS - Art Hindle & Cindy Hinds interviewd by Fangoria Editor Chris Alexander
  • THE LOOK OF RAGE - Interview with cinematographer Mark Irwin
  • PRODUCING THE BROOD - Interview with producer Pierre David
  • CHARACTER FOR CRONENBERG - Interview with actor Robert A. Silverman
  • CRONENBERG: THE EARLY YEARS - Writer/Director David Cronenberg discusses how he broke into filmmaking

Pre-Order/Buy:The Brood On Blu Ray 




1 April 2013

Scanners Blu Ray Review

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The horror classic Scanners is out on blu ray, and who couldn't resist seeing a head explode in high definition?

David Cronenberg's classic science fiction horror film has never looked better. It wasn't the film that launched his career but it certainly was his break into the mainstream, and includes his usual nasty touches of body horror. It's a film which has, for the most part, aged quite well. This is mostly due to some interesting editing choices that prevent it from feeling too much like a B-movie, and the absolutely fantastic special effects.

The scanners of the title are special people who can control other people's minds, and, much like the X-Men, there are those who use their power for good and those who definitly don't. The protagonist of the film, played by Stephen Lack, starts as a lost homeless man who is unable to control his “gift”. He is picked up by a doctor (Patrick McGoohan) who teaches him to control his powers and asks him to try and infiltrate a gang of evil scanners led by the dangerous Revok (Michael Ironside); but things do not go so smoothly.

The film could have easily belonged in a dvd bargain basement if it weren't for some classy choices by Cronenberg and the five star gore on display. What doesn't help the film are a few lacklustre performances. Stephen Lack gives a one note performance throughout and never seems remotely concerned by his predicament, making it astonishingly hard to care about, or be swept up in, his story. It doesn't help that his love interest looks equally as tired and uninterested as he does. Jennifer O’Neil as the female scanner who helps Lack is another black hole in the film.

Making up for these two though is Michael Ironside as the antagonist. He is simply wonderful as the dangerous, psychopathic scanner. From the start to finish, he is frightening, thrilling and a real treat to watch. Patrick McGoohan also helps the film by adding a little gravitas to the proceedings. A little theatrical, yes, but the splash of energy he adds to his scenes is very welcome.

The effects here are the real star, though. It is further proof of just how effective make up and practical effects are. They've aged fantastically well – and they look remarkable in high definition. Scanners is famous for showing a man's head explode. It's what the film was sold on; it is a fantastic effect and is still as revolting as it was thirty two years ago.

Aside from looking great, the film also sounds it. Cronenberg uses fleshy noises to add to the grotesqueness of the effects; and also through electronic sounds and slowing down actors' voices, he prevents sequences from feeling tacky or dated, where others might just simply have poor actors hold their heads shouting “Ahhhh! My mind!”.

Scanners is a great horror film, slightly let down by a few performances. It is Cronenberg at his best and I pray they never remake it. An exloding CGI head just won't do. But if they are to make it, I hope Cronenberg directs and Viggo Mortensen stars.

Harry Davenport

★★★★

Rating: 18
BD Release Date: 8th April 2013 (UK)
DirectorDavid Cronenberg
Cast: Jennifer O'Neill , Stephen Lack,Patrick McGoohan,Michael Ironside

BuyScanners (Limited Edition Steelbook) On Blu-ray

6 November 2012

Cosmopolis DVD Review

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There’s some kind of law about using the word existential when reviewing a David Cronenberg movie, you sort of have to really. So let’s get that out the way early on. What we’re dealing with here are some very grand themes including sex, death, capitalism, emotional dysfunction and detachment.

Based on the 2003 Don DeLillo novel, Cosmopolis sees Eric Packer moving through streets of an unstable Manhattan, shielded inside his cork lined limo for a haircut he’s convinced he needs. All the while his downfall is being engineered behind the scenes by the very capitalist system he helped to create? Or is it?

The film itself has a futuristic retro feel to it; the towering glass and chrome of Manhattan take on a menacing look as Packer slides through the streets in the silent cocoon of his soundproofed limo.

Better known for his visceral horror, Cronenberg here manages to invoke a kind of creeping dread that permeates the film. The only difference this time is that the danger is intangible, created by the likes of Packer those like him who have been responsible for the financial crash of the capitalist system. They are the de facto rulers of the world, as they control the data on which capitalism rests. Conversely, the world outside of his window erupts into violent riots by the disenfranchised masses her helped create. It’s a startling juxtaposition.

Pattinson’s performance is superb. His bleak detachment from reality is icy cold yet he manages to get the nuances just right. He could so easily have overdone this character and descended into a caricature of manic ticks and gestures. There’s also a long list of cameos from some of the greats as they enter and exit Packer’s life, leaving behind them some exposition as they go.

In summary, Cosmopolis is an extremely cerebral film; heavy on the dialogue with a gnawing sense of dread you can’t quite put your finger on. It often treads a fine line between film as social commentary and entertainment but for the most part doesn’t take itself too seriously.

This is Cronenberg back to his best.

Vikki Mysercough

★★★★

Rating:15
DVD/BD Release Date: 12 November 2012 (UK)
Directed By:David Cronenberg
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon, Paul Giamatti, Kevin Durand
Buy Cosmopolis:Blu-ray/DVD

24 June 2012

A Dangerous Method DVD Review

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★★☆☆☆


I know I'm not the only one waiting for David Cronenberg to go back to his roots. The man previously known as “the Baron of Blood” gave us the head-exploding Scanners and the fingernail-popping The Fly. However, of late, ol' Davey Croners seems more about “prestige” pictures than flesh-crawling horror. I'm not even a huge fan of horror, but I've always admired Cronenberg's way making things/ideas/images stick with you, like a splinter in your brain. This is something which I haven't really experienced with his latest output. Unfortunately, A Dangerous Method continues this trend and even struggles to contain anything memorable at all.

A Dangerous Method is based on the play A Talking Cure, which in turn was based on the book A Most Dangerous Method, which in turn was based on real, actual life that bloody well happened. The story follows the career of renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), genital obsessed beardo Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a woman who went from a certified maniac to becoming one of the first female psychoanalysts. Having only a passing knowledge of Jungian and Freudian principles and no previous knowledge at all of Spielrein, I felt the story was immersive, but only up to a certain point. I wanted to know more about Sabina, but had to deal with Jung and Freud debating whether everything boiled down to cocks or not. Both Fassbender and Mortensen were great, with the mercurial Mortensen giving an especially enigmatic turn as Freud. Less great is Knightley, who spends the first act of the film gurning and maniacally laughing like real mental patients don't. I have yet to be convinced by a Knightley performance and her appearance in A Dangerous Method doesn't do anything to change that. She's not necessarily a bad actor, just bad at making me forget she's an actor. Vincent Cassel also shows up, having a whale of a time as the philandering, polyamorous Otto Gross.

A Dangerous Method is basically a stage play writ large. There's nothing inherently cinematic about it and the film seems to work best when the various brainy people are endlessly arguing the inner workings of the mind and psyche. I liked some of the ideas the film toyed with and especially liked Jung's turmoil over his relationship with Speilrein. The mentor/friend/rival relationship between Freud and Jung was well done too. To me, repression is the big central theme of the film, with Sabina's BDSM leanings being too shocking to even consider in the early 1900s. Jung's repression is also important, with him struggling to contain his wild side and having to choose between animalistic rutting and spanking with Spielrein or the more socially acceptable nicey-nicey family life with his obscenely rich wife.

I just don't know what to really think of A Dangerous Method. It's well acted (for the most part) and deals with some interesting concepts. It made me want to find out more about the real story and the people, but I wasn't exactly entertained watching it. There's no sense of Cronenberg in this film and it could have been made be any number of the more “arty” directors out there. It's technically brilliant, but ultimately unsatisfying.

Ben Browne


Rating:15
UK DVD/Blu-Ray Release: 25th June 2012
Directed by:David Cronenberg
cast:Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Vincent Cassel
Buy:A Dangerous Method On DVD or Blu-ray

A Dangerous Method Trailer Published via LongTail.tv


16 June 2012

Short Back And Sides Please: COSMOPOLIS Review

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★★★★★

Cosmopolis is the latest film from David Cronenberg and he is back with a bang literally. Cronenberg has in recent years has went a little more conventional with Eastern Promises and the more recent A Dangerous Method. This is fine and good but they lack the weirdness of earlier films like Videodrome, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch and Crash. A quote that explains my indifference to newer Cronenberg is by Hunter S. Thompson “it never got weird enough for me”. I do absolutely love his masterful A History of Violence but besides that it really hasn’t. It’s based on the novel by Don DeLillo, which I literally finished 2 hours before I saw the film.

Cosmopolis tells the story of a day in the life Robert Packer (Robert Pattinson) who is a multi billionaire at least who lives in a massive apartment complex. He simply wants a haircut but the US president in town, a dead rapper’s funeral is in operation, somebody wants him dead and anti-capitalist protests. These events are making New York City even harder to get drive in his huge limo than normal but he insists on having his haircut to the annoyance of his security.

The film is an odyssey into the mind of a man literally on the edge on his sanity who is deliberately losing billions betting against the yen. He meets many people on the way and has numerous sexual encounters with different women on his odyssey. Packer is man without any emotional connection to anything except possibly this special barbershop he must go too.

The film will divide audiences like no other since Southland Tales. A lot of people will simply not get what Cronenberg is trying to do with Cosmopolis, it’s basically a piece of science fiction without any SF. One of the reasons Robert Pattinson may have been casted as Packer is because he is basically a vampire. One of the key lines in the film is “your already dead” which is Parker is a nutshell. Packer is the image of capitalism psychosis in work, he has no interest in money at this point he just buys stuff cause he can. He risks his clients and his money simply for the fact he can. This makes in a way a lot more similar to something in tone to Crash which deals with a similar themes (lack of emotion connection and a world and people on the brink of self destruction) and is also a sci-fi film but not. They both also feature the majority of the scene time in a car and Croneberg is a well-known gearhead.

The film is extremely relevant especially in the aftermath of a post-2008 financial crisis world even the novel was written in 2003. Parker is deliberately committing financial suicide because he doesn’t care anymore and is already dead so to speak. There are anti-capitalist protests, which Parker gets caught up in and in a way Parker gets off on this. He wants the destruction of mankind and also he meets his match to speak figuratively and literally in the climax of the film.

The film and specifically the limo is utterly artificial looking throughout which certainly brings to mind some of the artificial backgrounds of eXistenZ. The background of NYC looks otherworldly and utter fake but this is the point, it’s deliberately alienating. Pattinson’s world in his limo (he works there, he fucks there, he eats there) and most of the film’s action takes place there.

The language will also turn a lot of people off. Like so many things in the film it’s deliberately off putting, it’s very wordy and very unrealistic but that’s the intent and it’s taken pretty much word for word from the novel. It’s about people isolated from the outer world and become increasing interested in themselves and themselves only and after all he wants the most vain thing a damn haircut.

Robert Pattinson is quite astonishing the role as Packer, he is ice cold and inhumane in the best possible way and almost alien like as in David Bowie in The Man Who Fell To Earth. He perfectly captures the psychosis of a man who has everything but wants nothing except he has a death wish. The supporting cast is very fine throughout with Paul Giamatti and Juliette Bincohe as highlights.

I don’t think the film will have a wide audience but very Cronenberg films have one except for The Fly. Twilight fans will obviously not understand it one bit and will be turned off by which was evident in my screening I attended. Critics have been completely mixed even though a lot have praised Pattinson’s turn. I think it’s a truly fascinating but deliberately artificial film about a man’s descend into pure unadulterated nihilism but no the cheerful entertaining nihilism of Fight Club but something much more sinister. After a string of very fine films recently I think I may have found an early contender for film of the year. A lot will hate but if you can get what Cronenberg is trying to do you will be engrossed even with it's deliberately alienating cinematic devices.

Ian Schultz


Rating:15
UK Release Date: 15 June 2012
Directed By:David Cronenberg
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Gadon
Cosmopolis Official UK Trailer Published via LongTail.tv