(Re)view to a Steal

AdaptationThe FogMan in the Iron MaskGlitch

I’m selling a quad of my DVD’s on eBay (each still 3 smackers as I write this), and of course the canned Muze reviews supplied with the listing tools weren’t quite right. So I had to go and do my own little pocket comments.

Adaptation – Nick Cage is a couple of writers, one nervous and twitchy and one garrulous and fun, who are saddled with the job of writing a script that turns out to be about Nick Cage playing a couple of writers, one nervous and twitchy and one garrulous and fun. Hijinks ensue. Director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman (played by Cage as the nervous and twitchy one) are the folks who brought you Being John Malkovich, and in case you forget there’s actually a scene of them bringing you Being John Malkovich. In other news, the earth is created, evolution progresses to modern society, there are swamps and orchids and adventures, and Charlie Kaufman has a hell of a time meeting any girls.

Adaptation is good swirly fun. Brian Cox does a superb turn as the caustic populist Robert McKee, who is incredibly helpful as the sort of guy a writer like Charlie would never ask for help, and the acting is excellent throughout. Plus there’s an excellent animated insect on one of the main menus.

The Fog – I love this movie; it’s genuinely creepy, and Carpenter is a master of dark low-fi mood. The film has grown mannered over the years, and Jamie Lee Curtis as a ballsy hitcher-waif is impossibly cute. Janet Leigh is present in cameo, Adrienne Barbeau is present of course (she had just married Carpenter). The John Carpenter/Debra Hill commentary is excellent if you like that sort of thing, which I do; this is a way fun DVD, lightly used and ready to come live at your house.

The Man in the Iron Mask – A superb ensemble of stars – a pre-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio playing himself and his brother; Jeremy Irons at his most sardonic; a gloomy bawdy Gerard Depardieu; John Malkovich in a stew; Gabriel Byrne as a house divided – fills up this straightforward adventure. It often works, in that all-for-one high brio drink-some-milk fashion. This is neither high art nor high cinema, but it’s a solid film that fits comfortably into expectations and does what it’s meant to do. The Three Musketeers here are Three (plus a bit) and Musketeers, full of honor and intrigue and derring-do, which is exactly how it should be.

Writer/director Randall Wallace contributes a commentary track that’s as earnest as the movie he has made; it’s charming to hear him get all star-struck about the cast, and he has the tone of a Regular Guy Who Made Good, which is refreshing and endearing. He covers a fair amount of information as well as oozing and enthusing about the actors. This DVD contains both widescreen and fullscreen versions of the film.

Whatever the film’s overall strengths and weaknesses, the final rousing charge is just terrific, worth a few rewinds and an armchair cheer or two.

Glitch – Topless wackiness and in-your-face nonsense are paramount in this robbery caper gone sloppily wrong. Nico Mastorakis is sort of the Roger Corman of European beach-babe movies, which is either a good thing or a bad thing or just a thing, depending on how you look at it. This minor entry in the Mastorakis oeuvre features dumb thieves pitted against even dumber thieves, a femmy Ninja, a wandering hypnotist mystic, a pink miniature remote-control helicopter, and some of the lamest pretenses ever to coax giggly girls out of their tops. It’s outrageously bad, in a fun way.

This is the Omega Entertainment release, which features additional trailers for other Mastorakis outings and Part IV of the director’s jovial, rambly biomentary look at his body – ahem – of work.

… Wottaboggan! You too can bid on DVD’s that have been touched by these very hands. OK, yes, but I washed them before. And I do apologize to all and sundry for wanton use of the word “brio.”

About Linus

The man behind the curtain. But couldn't we get a nicer curtain?
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