Elliott Kastner

Elliott Kastner

Elliott Kastner Quick Links

Film RSS

Angel Heart Review


Good
A decade before Hollywood got obsessed with urban volcanoes, asteroid impacts, and Steve Prefontaine -- offering us multiple movies about each topic -- the Big Bastardized Theme of the year was an inexplicable one: Voodoo. In 1987-88, three major voodoo-themed movies came out, including Angel Heart, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and The Believers. Each was tackled by a major director, and none of them made a huge splash critically or commercially. In fact, they all made pretty much the same amount at the box office -- slightly under $20 million.

So put aside your quizzical concern over why Angel Heart merits a special edition DVD (Robert De Niro's performance alone is worth it), and dig back into this quirky project from yesteryear, when we were all scared to death that a cowrie shell or a chicken claw was going to cause bugs to start crawling out of our face. Angel Heart (based on the novel Fallen Angel) is a 1950s period piece and starts out simply enough: An eccentric, sharp-fingernailed man named Louis Cyphre (De Niro) hires private eye Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) to track down a missing person with whom Cyphre has an old (and unhonored) contract. Rourke's investigation takes him into the seedy underbelly of New Orleans and the Louisiana swamp. Virtually every one Angel speaks to turns up dead within days, but he plows ahead anyway. In the end he hooks up with a young voodoo priestess (Lisa Bonet when she had a career), and, well, the whole thing gets a little kooky. It's hard to write much about the utlimate resolution of Angel Heart without giving too much away, but suffice it to say it's at once obvious and surprising, considering the very thinly-veiled dialogue and unsubtle imagery.

Continue reading: Angel Heart Review

Equus Review


Good
Why did Alan (Peter Firth) blind six horses one night? Because he's totally frickin' nuts, that's why. Nonetheless, it takes 137 minutes to drive that point home in Equus, wherein Richard Burton (playing Alan's psychiatrist) draws out Alan's bizarre mental confusion of religion, sex, and horses. In a series of intense shrink sessions, the truth is eventually made clear, well, as clear as possible, considering Burton's own insane rants, delivered directly to the camera. Good Will Hunting's got nothing on this looney bin! (Of note, since Equus, Firth has somehow made a career out of playing doctors and military officers.)

Sweet November Review


Bad
While Sweet November is actually a remake of a 1968 film, it plays more like a two-hour episode of that oh-so-quirky-but-loveable TV show Dharma and Greg. He's a straight-laced, career-oriented, workaholic suit; she's the funky clothes-wearing, fun-loving free spirit who changes his life. The only differences are that the movie has prettier stars, certainly less funny lines, and a much more downbeat ending. But, fear not, romantic drama fans; there's plenty of adorable puppy dogs and wide-eyed little kids to soften the blow.

One treat for you shallow ladies in the crowd (guilty!) is the return of Keanu Reeves as the romantic, studly leading man. He's still as dumb as a post, but he's the fitting hero to such a dumb and implausible tale. He plays Nelson Moss, a hot shot ad man with swank things but too regimented a life to enjoy them. After a fateful run-in with carefree Sarah Deever (Charlize Theron) at the DMV, she tracks him down, and tries to convince him that he should move into her shabby-chic hippie spread for a month to become a better man. Apparently, she's done this sort of thing with other men before him with great success.

Continue reading: Sweet November Review

Elliott Kastner

Elliott Kastner Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Occupation

Filmmaker


Elliott Kastner Movies

Sweet November Movie Review

Sweet November Movie Review

While Sweet November is actually a remake of a 1968 film, it plays more like...

Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.