Monday, July 7, 2008
A Frank Review of "Birth" and "The Invasion"
I really enjoyed Jonathan Glazer's directorial debut, "Sexy Beast," and had high hopes for his follow-up "Birth." Once again, the focus is on an exceptional romantic relationship outside the age range typically found in films. This time though, there was quite a difference, as Nicole Kidman's character is middle-aged, and the potential reincarnation of her first husband is now ten years old. The premise is handled intelligently and tactfully, though Kidman is kind enough to get naked for us once more, mostly outside the boy's presence. The film will keep you guessing, if it manages to hold your interest, which it very well may not. It's all terribly sophisticated in that Adrian Lynne way, but lacks the tawdry bits that keeps audience members from squirming impatiently in their seats. I respect "Birth," but I'll never watch it again, as I spent the running time wishing I was watching "Chances Are" instead. Cameron Bright is a personality void, after all, where Robert Downey Jr. is so damned appealing.
Meanwhile, "The Invasion" stands head and shoulders beneath the three other cinematic depictions of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." It's essentially a love story between a mother and her child, and I mean that in a prurient sense. The only thrill the film contains is a scene where momma Kidman consoles her child after a nightmare in pajamas so sheer her nipples and ass are visible right through the material. The whole movie, Kidman demonizes her ex-husband, who attempts to seperate her from the boy-love of her life, whom she constantly text and video messages. She also fends off the advances of Daniel Craig, which is somewhat understandable, but still. I'm not calling Kidman a Pedobear but perhaps "PedoLemur" wouldn't be too far off the mark? The woman did spend the best years of her life pretending to have sex with a handsome midget man-boy who believes in space aliens that inhabit human bodies, so in that context all this ick makes a sick sort of sense.
It's a good thing I had my WAMBLA Cougar speculation to keep me going, as "The Invasion" plays like a mash-up between Lifetime Network and Sci-Fi Channel original productions. It's estro-riffic, but epically fails to understand what makes a good "Body Snatchers" flick. The first two (a.k.a. "the good ones) were Right Wing paranoid fantasy writ large, and God bless them for their effectiveness. The original warned of Reds under the beds, while the second tried to ward off the rampant Liberalism of the Carter years. My politics are way left of Don Siegel's, but his film works magnificently, as did Philip Kaufman's New Age-skewering remake. The third tried to play to my people with fear of the military-industrial complex, a non-issue in the Clinton years. Today, you could definately equate "Pod People" with Post-9/11 nationalistic jackassery, but this movie tries to run with with SARS. The pussyfooting attempts to straddle the polemic of our times, but like 1993's "Body Snatchers," proves too late to the party to bring the fear.
Kidman tried to affect a Scarlett O'Hara "ah do declare" Georgian accent, but it fades in and out with such regularity, you'd be forgiven for forgetting it entirely. This may be the result of extensive reshoots, which tried to beef up original director Oliver Hirschbiegel's Eurotrash blase with the post-Matric Trilogy bombast of the Wachowski Brothers. There's another "Burley Brawl" of a sort here, and the silliness is so profound as to almosy turn the corner from "so bad" to "good." Not quite, but there be embarrassed amusement here.
- A Frank Review of Film/TV/Performance/Arts (216)
- Anecdotal (16)
- Bantam-Blog (4)
- Comic Box Trot (54)
- Delanopinions (36)
- Dirty Trader: Book/Graphic Novel Reviews (110)
- Emmanu-Wednesday (38)
- Indexes (8)
- Linkypeux (75)
- Meme-O-Scope (39)
- nurghophonic jukebox (73)
- Obscure Character Handbook (17)
- Pepsi Maximum Challenge (4)
- Scripture (3)
- Smelly Brown Paper (Scans of Yore) (173)
- Super-Hero Feast (33)
- The Bedazzler: Arts and Crafts (18)
- The Super-Hero Books (29)
- The Trouble With Super-Heroes (10)
- Toys (1)
- Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care (Comic Reviews) (194)
- ► 2014 (16)
- ► 2013 (37)
- ► 2012 (102)
- ► 2011 (111)
- ► 2010 (136)
- ► 2009 (350)
- A Frank Review of "Little Children" and "Venus"
- Green Lantern Corps: Recharge
- The Walking Dead Volume 8: Made To Suffer (2008)
- San Diego ComiCon 2008 Analysis
- Ask Men.com's Top 99 Women 2008 Edition
- An Index of Frank Movie Reviews
- 1981 George Pérez JLA/JSA Pin-Up
- A Frank Review of "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr....
- The Comic Book Heroes: The Return of the Heroes
- Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care
- A Frank Review of "Southland Tales"
- A Frank Review of "The Dark Knight" and the traile...
- 1966 Mattel "Fright Factory Thingmaker" Ad
- 1978 Slim Jim "Satisfy Your Meat Tooth" Dracula Ad...
- 1966 AMT "Grandpa Munster "Digs" The Drag-U-La!" A...
- The Great Comic Book Heroes: Superman
- Wed. Is Any Day For All I Care #8
- A Frank Review of "28 Days Later..." (2002) & "28 ...
- The Vixen #1 (Nov-Dec 1978)
- Mel Gibson is "Jew Hating Schmuck"
- A Frank Review of "Revolver"
- A Frank Review of "BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER*"
- The Comic Book Heroes: The First History of Modern...
- A Frank Review of "The Short Films of David Lynch"...
- A Frank Review of "Birth" and "The Invasion"
- Wed. Is Any Day For All I Care #7
- Super Runs
- Captain America "Patriotism" Inspirational Sign (2...
- Smelly Brown Paper (Scans of Yore)
- Rotten Tomatoes' 25 Best Action Movie Heroines
- A Frank Review of "The Gathering" (2002) and "Dark...
- ▼ July (31)