Postmortem: The Fury

Screenshot 2016-02-13 23.25.49

I am mystified why Brian DePalma’s The Fury (based on the novel by John Farris) hasn’t been remade because not only would the movie benefit from a more timely interpretation (in these days of government programs we often don’t completely understand, but fear a reboot could potentially find a very receptive audience) and a more modern esthetic.

Which isn’t to imply that it’s a bad movie, only that it appears, especially visually, dated.

What I imagine is a welcome thing is that–unlike in many reboots–younger actors would actually fit the story.  In fact, based on the dialogue, I get the feeling that Andrew Stevens (Robin Sandza) and Amy Irving (Gillian Belllaver) were older than the characters in Farris’ novel and screenplay).

The movie revolves around the agents of an undisclosed government agency–in the vein of the CIA or NSA–that seeks out telepaths to use as weapons.

Loyalty apparently isn’t particularly strong among this group because Peter Sandza (Kirk Douglas) is betrayed by his best friend, Ben Childress (played by Ben Cassavettes)–which is oddly close to ‘childless,’ apropos considering what he does in the movie when he learns that his best friend’s son, Robin, has telekinetic abilities.

What’s particularly interesting about the movie is that in the third act Childress blows up in all its gory glory–three years before David Cronenberg’s groundbreaking Scanners (coincidentally I assume)–which is very similar from a story point of view.

Besides the direction by Brian DePalma, the score’s by John Williams, and if all you’ve heard of his work is from Star Wars, Indiana Jones or Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Fury is worth watching to hear some of his earlier work, which is tonally different from what most are accustomed to hearing from him.

I found it at times reminiscent of Elmer Bernstein’s work composing the music for Saturn 3, though perhaps not as experimental.


‘Captain America’ Review

Edited 7/25 917, 949, 950, 951

If you’re looking for a Captain America whose roots drink heavily of the 1940’s, you’re in the wrong movie.  If you’re looking for nostalgic entertainment of a time that’s in the vein of Indiana Jones, you’re found it.

Karina Longworth, of The Village Voice, criticizes Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: The First Avenger” primarily on the basis of being historically inaccurate.

Admittedly the character was created in the 1940’s, during World War II, though I doubt that anyone is seeing the film looking for an exact interpretation of history during the period–and let’s be clear–the film isn’t very accurate, except in broad strokes.

To approach it otherwise makes little sense because this is a film that is going to be marketed all over the world.  To make a jingoistic film–no matter how accurate that would have been–is nothing short of ridiculous because the last time that I checked, the purpose of making movies is to make a profit, and to make a film in the manner that Mrs. Longworth suggests would be essentially throwing away $140 million dollars.

After all, the movie, “Captain America: The First Avenger” is based upon a comic book, which may in some ways mirror what’s going on in contemporary society, but should by no means be expected to accurately reflect that society.

Then there’s the fact that I have seen very few films, never mind comic books, of any genre that accurately reflect what’s going on in this country with the nuance and sophistication necessary to do so successfully.

Besides, I get enough of jingoism as it is.  I don’t want to see movies exhibiting what I think of as a pox on the American character unless there’s a reason to do so, or there’s something to be learned.

That being said, I suspect that a more literal interpretation of “Captain America: The First Avenger” would have been an interesting one, though ironically enough, not realistic, especially from a financial perspective.

Which is the one that matters (for better or for worse).

Now on to my review.

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(Refusing) The Role of a Lifetime

Marvel Studios upcoming “Thor” and “Captain America” look to be huge hits, but there’s no way of knowing before the films are released into theaters.  No one wants to be known for an unsuccessful film, which can potentially follow them their entire careers (John Travolta, no matter what he does, cannot shake the sheer, unrelenting badness that is “Battlefield Earth“).  So, while there’s no such thing as a sure thing, many actors won’t venture outside their comfort zone for projects.  For example, Clint Eastwood was originally considered to play Superman in Richard Donner’s 1978 film, but didn’t accept the role.

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