Crimes of the Future

Caprice stands over a lying Tenser

David Cronenberg likes the title Crimes of the Future. He’s used it once before, for a film he made in 1970. He’s using it again here, 52 years later, but there’s no other connection between the two, at least on the surface. The 1970 is comedy sci-fi about a world without women, the 2022 recycling is good old-fashioned Cronenbergian body horror like he used to make. FYI, eXistenZ (1999), his last go at the genre he dominated in the 1980s and 90s, also had the working title Crimes of the Future. This Crimes of the Future’s origins go back to four years after eXistenZ, when Cronenberg was trying to put together a film … Read more

Spencer

Kristen Stewart as Diana, Princess of Wales

A fairytale princess is trapped inside an ogre’s castle in Spencer, “A fable from a true tragedy” a note announces at the start of director Pablo Larraín’s film following Princess Diana over three Christmas-y days stuck with the Royal Family at Sandringham. But it’s also a story about a woman driven mad by the situation around her, gamely still fighting for independence, trying to assert that she’s also a somebody in her own right, a Spencer, not just a pretty bauble hanging off the tree of the British Royal Family. The story takes place at Sandringham over Christmas where the Firm all assemble annually. It’s the tenth time Diana has done the three-day … Read more

Happiest Season

The family (plus guest) line up for a Christmas photo

Gooey, sentimental Richard Curtis movies are the template for this wannabe starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis as Abby and Harper, a romantically linked couple going back to Harper’s parents’ for Christmas. Being a mainstream movie about homosexual love – Lesbians, Actually – these young women are not in-your-face dyke-on-a-bike Sapphics but nice young women who just want to be accepted for what they are. Neither is heroic – Abby’s parents are dead and so she never had to come out to them; Harper has never told her parents. And that’s the hook on which this film hangs. Is Harper going to fess up and simultaneously re-apprise them of the identity of her … Read more

Camp X Ray

The new recruits are briefed

One of three 2014 Kristen Stewart films that seemed designed to shift her image out of Twilight territory and into something with a bit more actorly grunt, Camp X Ray works better as brand realignment than as drama. The other two were Clouds of Sils Maria and Still Alice, the first a Juliette Binoche arthouse flick, the other starring Julianne Moore as an English professor with early onset dementia. In both Stewart was second billing to a major league dramatic actor and metaphorically sat at the feet of the star and took notes. She didn’t have to do it. At the time she was one of the highest paid actress in the world … Read more

Still Alice

Kristen Stewart and Julianne Moore in Still Alice

    A super confident woman, top of her game, a linguistics professor, one day discovers herself grasping for a word while she’s giving a lecture. This being the movies, where a cough in one scene leads to coughing up blood in the next, we automatically suspect she’s got Alzheimer’s. The title providing another nudge (why Still?). And so it turns out, in a movie that seems determined to put a polish on the disease of the week movie, and largely succeeds.   Polish number one is that it’s not just any old Alzheimer’s but familial Alzheimer’s, in which the gene – should you have been unlucky enough to have inherited it from … Read more

On the Road

Sam Riley and Kristen Stewart in On the Road

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     21 October     Jack Kerouac dies, 1969 On this day in 1969, the writer born Jean-Louis Kérouac died, from internal bleeding brought on by long-term alcohol abuse. He was the child of French Canadians and his first language was French, though he picked up English later and was fluent in his teenage years. He won a football scholarship to Columbia University, New York, but dropped out. There, in New York, he met Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg and William S Burroughs, among others, the core of the Beat Generation writers, the latest iteration of 20th century romantics. Discharged … Read more

The Messengers

Kristen Stewart in The Messengers

      Something weird is going on in the scary house out in the fields of North Dakota, where mom and dad have moved to make one last go of it, growing sunflowers. The kids can see it but the adults can’t. And so on. The Messengers is a bog standard American haunted-house movie with a twist. The twist is not the casting of a long-legged, tight breasted young Kristen Stewart as a heroine, nor the use of a genuine plank (Dylan McDermott) to play her dad. It’s the decision by producer Sam Raimi to get Hong Kong marvels the Pang brothers to direct. Oxide and Danny Pang struck sparks off the … Read more