Thelma Schoonmaker took home the Oscar for editing and the fights testify to it: there is no method to these matches, no information on boxing, only adrenal pounding and desperate fear. Schoonmaker dredges the matches in momentary flashes of primeval instinct. When LaMotta feels suspicious of his wife, his opponents become dramatically-lit monstrosities shrouded in smoke and slow motion and shadow. His fights are pictures of his psyche.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles is special because it’s a comedy of errors that understands how that’s basically just a comedy of human nature. Neal Page (Steve Martin) doesn’t do anything stupid to bring down this storm of shit, and snow, and mean flight attendants, and car fires, and three hundred pounds of John Candy. His negative energy follows him around like a bad shadow.
Director James Cameron, hot off The Terminator, warps passed Ridley Scott’s harrowing and sensitive tale of psycho-sexual terror into two hours of sadistic fun, a haunted house in space, a boo movie elevated to mythic status. No one will blame you for being exhausted. This is the Citizen Kane of bug hunts.
In this film, the divisions that we value so much, out of which we create our sense of individuality, will victimize us to a terrifying monster of collectivity. The Thing absorbs and unifies life where suspicious and divided people destroy it. This is Invasion of the Body Snatchers accelerated to universality.
Superman II is exciting even in its flaws: even its badness seems to defy other kinds of movies, like so long as Superman is on top of this, everything else will be okay. It’s an uneven and delightful ride with defiant special effects — they defy the ambition of their practicality and also how that ambition has aged.
The climax of My Neighbor Totoro doesn’t involve the Volvo-sized hamster of the title, nor does it involve a sick mother who can only be cured by magic – it involves only a five-year-old girl who is lost and scared because she thinks that she can. Like childhood the film involves a lot of running around and laughing and getting grass stains in exotic places. And it drifts into genuine fear, and magic saves the day.
Nothing about Hellraiser has the remotest sense of dread (besides perhaps that sense that it’ll inevitably become a franchise). Even Frank as he gradually corporealizes has the sad eyes and questionable brow anatomy you may expect less from a Barker body horror than from an alien ambassador on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Batman is the man Bruce Wayne wishes he was, an empowerment trip mythologized into a performance. Batman is Bruce’s mania, his love, his coming-into-being. Batman Returns is as perfect at portraying him as live-action has been, though there were many angry mothers whose frightened children screamed to recall its atrocities.