All of the reflexive Ben Affleck haters reading this will probably take heart that he appears nowhere on screen during this movie and should be further gratified that he seems to have a real future behind the camera. As a director, he seems to have a sure but almost unnoticeable hand while filming this adaptation of the novel by Mystic River author Dennis Lehane.
Theatrical Cut: ★★★★★
Special Edition: ★★★★★[/types]]
James Cameron’s deep sea science fiction tale is one of those rare instances of a director revisiting a finished work and genuinely improving the film. The 1989 theatrical release was marred by an abrupt, confusing ending that was the product of Cameron removing almost an entire storyline to bring the film down to a more commercial 146 minute running time. This drastic surgery earned it some lukewarm reviews when it first hit theaters.
Four years later, Cameron re-released a 171 minute cut to theaters and then home video. Continue reading →
I wonder if David Cronenberg was ever voted “Most Likely to Totally Creep People Out” back in high school. Certainly, as a director, the pressure-relief valve leading to the darkest, squirmiest parts of his brain seems to be stuck in the full-open position. His Dead Ringers did for trips to the gynecologist what Jaws did for swimming in the ocean.
Don’t come into Apollo 13 expecting a deep, acutely insightful portrait of the inner lives of astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert. Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon are basically playing stock Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon characters, and this is probably a good thing for a big budget summer movie like this one. Real astronauts are invariably cool, hard-to-ruffle, by-the-book kinds of people. Sometimes it seems you could set their pants on fire and it would barely raise their pulse. This makes for successful space missions but not for a particularly exciting movie.
If nothing else, The Right Stuff could go down in history as the movie that could have elected a President. At a time when the Democratic party was looking for a viable candidate to challenge Ronald Reagan in 1984, the image of Ed Harris as John Glenn, the squeaky clean All-American with the can-do attitude filled them with hope that the real former astronaut turned senator could help them re-capture the White House. I think the film may have actually hurt Glenn in the long run. While he was an American hero, a capable senator and probably would have made an able president, to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, he’s no Ed Harris, at least not in the charisma department.
Unfortunately, all the focus on political ramifications had nothing to do with the actual film, which seemed to get lost in the shuffle. Too bad, because it’s one of the best films of the 1980s, taking real life personalities and molding them into something like a modern American myth.
Speaking as some who worked in retail sales for few years out of college, I can certainly vouch for the authenticity of much of what transpires in James Foley’s film of David Mamet’s play Glengarry Glen Ross. The scene in which Alec Baldwin’s character verbally emasculates the sad sack salesmen is reminiscent of any number of sales meetings or visits from the district manager.
Okay, I can’t ever recall being called a “cocksucker” in those sessions (it was often mixed company, after all), but the message was same. Selling is everything. A good salesmen should be able to sell water to a drowning man. Excuses are for losers and low numbers are the way out the door. You might notice that I don’t work in that field any more.