Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Frank Review of "Scanners" and "A History of Violence"


Somehow, I saw David Cronenberg's "Rabid" and "Videodrome" before puberty, but missed on this classic until just the other day. I'm not going to say it's a great movie, but it deserves a reverent seat in the hall of bugfuck. This is full-on comic book pseudo-science, and it's great fun for what it is. I was introduced to Michael Ironside through "V" and much more thereafter, and it's easy to see here why he was one of the go-to bad guys of 80's film. It's also pretty clear why Stephen Lack received second-billing in a movie that features him in nearly every scene. The first porn movie I ever saw with Chloe featured her as a super-heroine brought to life by a lusty fanboy. Her acting was as wooden as her partner's johnson, and I couldn't tell if it was on purpose. Then she had one of her infamous "Chloeville" orgasms, and I figured, "oh, she's clearly acting her--um-- heart out." Well, it turned out I was half right. Anyway, Lack is supposed to be just barely human, and he's marvelous at it, but also annoying as hell. I'd like to check out one of the sequals, against my better judgment.


This was Cronenberg's comeback after years spent in the wilderness, but to be honest, I'd rather watch Existenz again. It isn't that "History" is bad, but it seemed to me like it just sort of happens. I think the film needed more of Ed Harris and William Hurt's Dustin Hoffman impression. Viggo Mortenson's hick schtick wears thin quick, while Maria Bello is mostly just compelling in her MILFyness. The screenwriters make not the slightest mention of the graphic novel basis for the work, not that I've read it, but it still bothered me.

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