21st century girl

reviews – my way.

Category: 1980s

Fatal Attraction (1987)

‘I’m not going to be ignored, Dan,’ 

Fatal Attraction is a film about a happily married man named Dan (Micheal Douglas) who has a one night stand with a book editor named Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), but things start to get worse when Alex Forrest gets obsessive and stalks him and his family.

I had heard about this film long before I got round to watching it, and I was aware that the term ‘bunny boiler’ had been inspired by this film. I was also aware that it was rather controversial for its time.

Likewise, I think that it’s not the best film that I’ve seen, but it’s also not the worst. Glenn Close plays an incredible female villain, and one evil smile from her scared me entirely even before she spoke. I had seen her in 101 and 102 Dalmatians before, so it came to no surprise to me that she plays a brilliant female villain. I certainly won’t be going near rabbits, roller coasters, baths or knives any time soon. As for Micheal Douglas’ character, he was rather vulnerable in his position and she knew that so she emotionally manipulated him. He also played the part of Dan very well. Either way, none of the characters are straight up ‘good people’. Not even the daughter. The children in the film are used as metaphorical weapons rather than actual people.

It is a general observation that this could in fact be comparitable to the Alfred Hitchcock film ‘The Birds’ in the fact that something is always getting in the way of the traditional family unit. If I recall, there is one scene in the birds when the least significant character is pushed towards the back of the room and the traditional family is pushed towards the camera. It can also be applied to this film, as Alex Forrest is looking in from the outside, denied of a happy family while also not being part of his family at all, which could also be elaborated on as there is a black bar between Micheal Douglas’ character and his wife and daughter, showing that the affair had destroyed the family unit. The fact that in some scenes, there are no other sounds other than the phone ringing shows how she is constantly plaguing him. I should also add that the rabbit in the cage is a metaphor for him as Dan feels like he’s in a cage and domestic space, which is usually a comfort, is now his trap. The parallel shots of the daughter running and the mother approaching the pan with the boiled rabbit in it provokes a reaction from the viewer to really show how evil Alex Forrest actually was. The film is not afraid to toy with your fear of heights or water, and uses effective camera angles to do so. The director generally uses a lot of parallel shots and faced paced music in the film to build tension and build up that turns out to be scarier than the film itself.

Anyway, it’s a film that takes me by surprise, but it’s not within my top 5 or 10. It would be a good film to look at from a psychological point of view or if you wanted to look at the role of female villains in fiction. The character of Alex Forrest is what we would now call a ‘psychotic ex’.

3.5/5

 

 

Laputa Castle in the sky

Laputa Castke in the sky is a Studio Guilbli anime film about a girl called Sheeta (Keiko Yokozawa) and a boy called Pazu (Mayumi Tanaka) who possess a magical crystal and go in search for a floating castle, defeating Sheeta’s evil kidnapper Muska (Minori Terada) along the way.

I had the pleasure of watching this movie with my best guy friend, who loves anime films. Indeed, I have come to like anime a bit as well. I have watched a couple of Studio Ghibli films, including Ponyo and Grave of the fireflies, among others. The attention to detail in the movie is intriguing, as it was made in a time when all animated films were hand drawn. I admire the Japanease drawing style, it’s rather individual to their own film and art culture, and the guy friend and I ended up watching the film itself in Japanese, which meant that your attention was not focused on the movie itself, but also the ability to follow along with the subtitles along with the story as well.

At times, the movie did drag a little and if was hard to get into at first, but it was generally a good movie all the same. The little boy Pazu looked adorable, and the castle looked incredible. I think that you would be in some obvious danger if you lived in the floating castle and you were afraid of heights. The robot reminded me of iron giant and the villain guy reminded me of Agent Smith from the Matrix.

In the future, I would definitely look into watching more anime films.

Overall, a great movie with an interesting plot line and detailed animation that gives subtle hints to the culture at the time that the movie was made.

4/5

 

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

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‘I have watched the mountains being born; I have seen emperors die’ 

I was given this book as a Christmas present, and at first, I was hesitant to read it. Not because of the context or content, but because I was not used to this side of magical realism. My Mum said that if you could read and tackle Salman Rushdie’s books, then it would be very impressive. I was also told that he got into trouble for his work (probably for being a bit too realistic) and it used to be banned.

Midnight’s Children takes some time to get into but I’m sure that it is rewarding in the end. It certainly makes a strong statement on certain sides of Indian Culture and seasons it slightly with a bit of magical realism,but not as obviously as other books of the genre, such as The Night Circus. I love the magical realism genre because authors are allowed to do anything they want and make it as make believe as possible but they can still have a say on the standards and rules or culture of the time.

As for the novel itself, the narrator rambled way too much to the point where it could be at least two hundred pages shorter than it was. There were times where I got into it but other times it was excess information that wasn’t really needed until everything started to gradually come together. I like how all the midnight children had a telepathic connection but unfourtunetly, I couldn’t sit through and read the whole thing.

Generally an ok book but it could be shorter. I suppose that the every detail style of writing appeals to some but not to others.

2.5/5

The Alien Years (1988)

The Alien Years is a virtually unknown three part movie starring Christoph Waltz as Stefan Muller, a German immigrant who meets a woman named Elizabeth (Elizabeth Longley) who is of the upper class. They marry and have two children but World War I breaks out and this lands Stefan in great danger because of his German name.

I wanted to see an early Christoph Waltz film which was in English (very rare if the movie has him in in and it happens to be made before 2009) and one that was around way before he was a Nazi, bounty hunter, ringmaster and a Bond Villian. I am a huge fan of his work so there is no surprise there. This, aside from The Gravy Train and the Gravy Train Goes East, is one of the only options to watch some of Waltz’s earlier stuff without having to watch foreign films.

Teenagers, like Elizabeth early on in the movie, and indeed other teenagers in movies have always been known to rebel from their parents. This is everything from choice in fashion to who they  want to run away with, much to their parents dismay. I think it would take a lot of guts to turn away from your class at the time when class was a general social system and not a patronizing term exclusively from the Daily Mail. It also felt as if they had both become proper characters long after the sad ending, all because Stefan was a German immigrant. The scenery also looked lovely and if it was a bit more well known, it should have won some awards for set design. It would have been very heartbreaking to take down an enemy of your father’s nationality.

I’ll admit that this is not the greatest movie in the world and it is very time consuming but it is interesting to see Christoph Waltz way before he got the recognition that he deserved. Pretty much all the cast members except Christoph Waltz and maybe the men who played the sons have now died.

3/5