Daily Archives: March 11, 1994

Sirens

The charm, humor, and healthy eroticism of Australian writer-director John Duigan (The Year My Voice Broke, Flirting) are back in force in this pleasantly recounted tale, set in the 30s, about a newlywed Anglican clergyman and his wife, freshly played by Hugh Grant and Tara Fitzgerald, who stop off at the remote home of a controversial (i.e., erotic) painter (Sam Neill). The clergyman has been asked by his bishop to try to persuade the painter to remove one of his sexy paintings from an upcoming exhibit, and when the couple unexpectedly have to extend their stay, the sensual lures of both the scenic setting and the bohemian household–which largely consists of the painter’s female models–have a subtle but indelible effect on them, the wife in particular. With Elie Macpherson, Portia De Rossi, Kate Fischer, and Pamela Rabe; Duigan himself has a cameo as a local minister. Pipers Alley.… Read more »

Body Snatchers

For my money, Abel Ferrara’s remake of a remake — namely Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, based on Don Siegel’s classically paranoid 1956 SF adaptation of Jack Finney’s effective novel The Body Snatchers — doesn’t match the Siegel original, though it’s a lot scarier and more memorable than Kaufman’s low-key, new-agey version. Kaufman shifted the action from a small California town to San Francisco, while Ferrara–shooting a script by Stuart Gordon, Dennis Paoli, and Nicholas St. John from a screen story by Raymond Cistheri and Larry Cohen — locates the action in an Army compound in Alabama. Until the end, when the story lamentably collapses into incoherence, the theme — uncertainty about whether family members or friends have been replaced by extraterrestrial replicas spawned by pods, a notion of conformity rich in sociopolitical overtones — affords a lot of queasy moments. Ferrara, whom I prefer dressing up genre exercises (as in King of New York and this movie) to dressing down art movies (as in Bad Lieutenant), swims well in these troubled waters. (Why this picture is being marketed as an art movie is anybody’s guess, but the initial reluctance of Warners to release it at all — another mystery — is probably related.)… Read more »