Monday, June 6, 2016
THE LOBSTER et A BIGGER SPLASH
The older I get, the more I strike certain film genres off my list. For example, I have stopped going to vampire films, although I once enjoyed them with Bela Lugosi, who, coming from the Kingdom of Hungary (now Romania), began on Broadway in Dracula. That was 1927 and even I was not yet born. Few envision him as 6 feet 1 inch tall, which he was, and piercing blue eyes, which could not be seen because his films were in black and white. His 1931 movie, Dracula, the first American horror flick, actually has been bestowed a 91% reviewers' rating by Rotten Tomatoes.
Even as recently as 1979 I loved George Hamilton as Dracula in Love at First Bite. Never saw this film? Well, click on it, for this is the full hour and 39 minute version! Music composed by Charles Bernstein. Okay, not Leonard, but Charles went to Juiliard. They did not take themselves too seriously in those days.
What I am leading to is that I saw two films over the weekend, and if you remove teenage mutant ninja turtles (#1 this weekend, but got an embarrassing 35% from Rotten Tomatoes reviewers), X-Men (#2, RT 48%), Me Before You (#3, quadriplegic tear jerker, 56%), animated and the like, there is nothing much left. So I went to see A Bigger Splash (RT 88%, #20) and The Lobster (RT 90%, #13). Hey, I search for quality.
The cast of exotic French-English exotic thriller R-rated ABS is sterling, with Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts and Dakota Johnson. They all are naked for portions of the show, two, full frontal. Tilda plays a female David Bowie who was told not to talk after a throat operation. Even her orgasm is noiseless. Fiennes is fine, and his Emotional Rescue sequence is exceptional. Johnson, perhaps a disappointment in 50 Shades, is here sexy, and more revealing. Schoenaerts gets away with murder.
The Lobster is a darkly black comedy and obtrusively disturbing, very much so. In case you were wondering, "et" is "and" in French, a language I took for my Phd. The film was entered at Cannes last year and won the Jury Prize. However, I went to that site and could not recognize even one memorable award film going all the way back to 1966, then, three years in a row: Alfie, Kwaidan (1965, also a troublesome movie) and Woman in the Dunes (1964, black and enigmatic...seems to be a trend, but Alfie was not). In those days Japan was making great films.
So, anyway, read the reviews, for I'll only say don't go. I might, though, finalize with a statement that much of the purpose and dialogue was intentionally ambiguous to create a surrealistic environment, and that Colin Farrell, an Irish actor in a role filmed in Ireland, gained 30 pounds to deadpan his way to the very end, when you don't want to know if he was successful. Oh, the dog was his brother. and many animals are graphically killed. About A Bigger Splash, marginal for your money, unless you vicariously relish in lifestyles of the famous, with full frontal nudity in a respectable production.