Director Terrence Malick’s beautifully shot period piece, which won an Oscar for its cinematography, tells the story of Bill (Richard Gere), an early-1900s Chicago steel-mill worker who flees town after accidentally killing a man. In search of a better life, he moves his girlfriend Abby (Brooke Adams) and younger sister to the wheat fields of Texas. But they run into tragedy when a wealthy farmer (Sam Shepard) falls for Abby.
Brian – 3 out of 10
Have you ever been in a run down diner sipping a cup of coffee and you look over and see the most boring art piece on the wall? Sometimes it’s a picture of a crappy abstract design formulated on a computer. Other times it’s a shitty version of an expressionist piece that has been copied to death and you could swear you saw in several other diners but can’t remember which ones. Well, Days of Heaven is just like that shitty expressionist piece: somewhat pleasing at first, then quickly forgotten, and eventually completely obsolete but still hangs on the wall in some people’s minds. We are given several long sequences of an older America shot over the plains during “magic hour.” If you’re not familiar with the term “magic hour,” it refers to the the time of day when the sun is close to setting and the camera picks up the longer shadows and reddish hues. It gives a very warm picture and can be very effective in picking up a particular mood. It’s also quite beautiful. The majority of the beauty shots in Days of Heaven are shot during this period and have misplaced people’s opinions into thinking this is a work of art. Now, in terms of still photography, yes, this might be a work of art. But, as a cohesive plot that is designed to draw in an audience and give them an experience, it’s a complete failure. Have you noticed how I have yet to mention the story? Well, that’s because there is no fucking story!! You want the synopsis? Richard Gere kills a man, escapes, and gets in the middle of a romantic triangle via the backdrop of a bad diner painting. Why in the world anyone would want to watch this hunk of dung is beyond me. I dare any art house nerd to try to convince me that this is a good movie without mentioning the “purty pictures.” There’s long stretches of shitty dialogue where Richard Gere tries to find the best backdrop he can so that the cinematographer gets his shot. He mumbles crap that no one would ever say and then there’s more long shots of carriages meandering down the road, people working in the fields, and the sun setting.
I am telling you right now that despite its small 94 minute running time, you’ll feel like you just watched Titanic…..TWICE!!! Director Terrence Malick has a reputation for making slow films but this is unbearable. I can’t find myself recommending this to anyone. The story is weak, the acting is bad, and the flow is like frozen molasses. If staring at expressionist pictures is your idea of a good film, look at a painting the next time you’re in a rundown diner: it’s free!
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
San Francisco biologist Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) turns to health inspector Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) for help when her live-in beau begins acting odd — and distant. Matthew and Elizabeth notice that suddenly almost everyone around them has become impassive. When their friends discover a developing doppelgänger in their commercial mud baths, the foursome realizes an alien invasion is under way. Can they stop it?
Rating: 8 out of 10
Philip Kaufman’s 1978 grand and paranoid sci-fi film, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” is the first of three remakes of the franchise of films based on author Jack Finney’s novel. It is pretty unusual that this film was made in the 70’s because remakes were a rare entity then (Oh how we long for those days!). The film completely succeeds in being a total creepfest and stars Donald Sutherland not as the typical stoic hero but as a public health officer who unwittingly stumbles onto aliens among us as plant pods. His associate and best friend, played admirably and believably by the talented Brooke Adams, is actually married to one of the very first creepy victims of the pod people from outer space. She in turn has a tough time making him believe what is going on and at one point he has her seeing a shrink played wonderfully with that wink of the eye glamor by Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy in one of his few meaty, non-Spock roles.
Kaufman deftly adds and layers mood, the accurate zeitgeist of the 1970’s, paranoia and even some well placed nudity into this evenly paced mood piece. Jeff Goldblum and Veronica Cartwright round out the cast as a frantic couple who get wrapped up in the alien take-over conspiracy and Kaufman extracts just the right hysteria from all of his actors without ever going over the edge and never revealing too much at a time. He manages to intertwine some very strange moments (strangers on the street all behaving eerily and entranced) with some lighthearted scenes of mundane everyday life in San Francisco (mud baths anyone?) but those moments are fleeting and we get back to the very intense undercurrent of fear and impending dread and finality. I may even go as far as to say it plays out as some sort of strange precursor to the goings on over at the X-Files. Keep and eye out for some well placed cameos that pay homage to the 1956 original directed by Don Siegel. Don’t watch this one alone and make sure the doors and windows are locked when you view this one.
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Tagged Alien Sci-Fi, Art Hindle, Brooke Adams, Cinema, Classic movie, Donald Sutherland, entertainment, Film, Jeff Goldblum, Kevin McCarthy, Lelia Goldoni, Leonard Nimoy, movie, movie review, movies, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Sci-Fi Thrillers, The Movie Brothers, Theater, Veronica Cartwright