In Eastern Promises, director David Cronenberg delves into the crime saga and “people who live in a state of perpetual transgression.” That this is his interest level is hardly surprising, as the 2007 film works not so much as a plot or a story but more as a scientific investigation of yet another sealed-off world.Read more "Eastern Promises (2007)"
As with all of David Cronenberg’s pictures, nothing is as it seems in A History of Violence. The 2005 outing is based on a graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke, with a screenplay by Josh Olson. The usual suspects are present, including cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, editor Ronald Sanders, production designer Carol Spier, composer […]Read more "A History of Violence (2005)"
Themes of self-delusion float to the fore again with David Cronenberg’s Spider, a 2002 film based on Patrick McGrath’s novel of the same name. As with most of the director’s movies, much of this outing defies explanation. It is also intensely sad, like watching someone fade away.Read more "Spider (2002)"
While it may not qualify as traditional film noir, the British thriller On the Night of the Fire seethes with elements of the genre. The 1939 picture was directed by Brian Desmond Hurst and stands as an example of pre-war cinema, complete with a (really) downbeat ending, melancholy mood and plenty of forbidding criminal shenanigans.Read more "Film Noir Friday: On the Night of the Fire (1939)"
David Cronenberg continues his unconventional prescience with eXistenZ, a curious but spirited vision of science fiction couched in the world of video games. The 1999 movie is based on a screenplay by the director and features many of the usual collaborators, including cinematographer Peter Suschitzky and composer Howard Shore.Read more "eXistenZ (1999)"
Based on J. G. Ballard’s 1973 novel of the same name, David Cronenberg’s Crash is a complicated and polarizing thriller. The 1996 picture is bizarre and remote, with a chilling effect that nevertheless draws attention to the director’s eternal sadness.Read more "Crash (1996)"
David Cronenberg turns to interpretation once more with M. Butterfly, an adaptation of David Henry Hwang’s play of the same name. The 1993 picture appears at first blush to stand out among the director’s work, but Cronenberg builds on familiar themes and evokes an eternal, excruciating sadness.Read more "M. Butterfly (1993)"
There is some debate as to the film noir status of Angels Over Broadway, the 1940 picture helmed by Ben Hecht and Lee Garmes. There are indeed noir influences, from the rainy streets outside to the desperate criminals circling the drain, but there are also elements of troubled romance and foggy comedy.Read more "Film Noir Friday: Angels Over Broadway (1940)"
David Cronenberg’s interpretation of William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch is the kind of transgressive and absurd thing it has to be. The 1991 film is kind of an adaptation of the 1959 book of the same name, with a screenplay by Cronenberg and Bill Strait. This is wild-ass, severed stuff. It’s weird, gloriously so.Read more "Naked Lunch (1991)"
It says a lot that a film as tortured as Dead Ringers is considered “restrained” by David Cronenberg’s standards, but that’s exactly what this 1988 picture is. Based on the novel Twins by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland and partially based on the real-life story of Stewart and Cyril Marcus, this psychological thriller is chilling […]Read more "Dead Ringers (1988)"
A grotesque and graphic science fiction dynamo, David Cronenberg’s The Fly is the culmination of his thematic curiosities to date. The 1986 motion picture is based on George Langelaan’s 1957 short story of the same name and features a screenplay by Cronenberg and Charles Edward Pogue. The makeup effects by Chris Walas and Stephan Dupuis […]Read more "The Fly (1986)"
David Cronenberg tackles Stephen King with The Dead Zone, a conventional 1983 thriller that is not without deeper meaning. The screenplay Jeffrey Boam turns the 1979 novel of the same name into an episodic yarn and Michael Kamen’s pronounced but isolated score encapsulates the frosty environs.Read more "The Dead Zone (1983)"
Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour is probably the best of the economy noirs. Made on a dime and condensed on a song, this 1945 picture is based on Martin Goldsmith’s 1939 novel of the same name and features some of the leanest and meanest turns of fate and phrase in the genre.Read more "Film Noir Friday: Detour (1945)"
David Cronenberg’s Videodrome is a wild and astonishing culmination of the auteur’s journey so far. It’s also a refreshing and prescient slice of science fiction and film noir that serves as a reminder of just how warped things can be in the right Canadian mindset.Read more "Videodrome (1983)"
David Cronenberg’s Scanners is one of his straightest pictures in that it’s relatively a straightforward science fiction thriller. It features car chases and an exploding head and a climactic showdown. The 1981 movie is wired as a mainstream hit, lacking the confrontational grotesqueries of other Cronenberg outings.Read more "Scanners (1981)"
David Cronenberg’s The Brood is complex and grotesque. It is not a stretch to see it as a twisted companion piece to Kramer vs. Kramer, another 1979 film about divorce. Both outings feature a family turned asunder. Both feature bloody custody battles. But one, depending on perspective, is more realistic.Read more "The Brood (1979)"
After crafting two horror outings obsessed with parasites and diseases and orifices, David Cronenberg’s Fast Company veers in a whole different direction – kind of. This 1979 picture is a quirk in the system in a lot of ways, but in a lot of other ways it makes a certain kind of sense.Read more "Fast Company (1979)"
Director Edgar G. Ulmer can do a lot with a little, as films like Detour and Black Cat reveal. Every so often, though, even the most inventive of auteurs can run into trouble. Such is the case with Strange Illusion, a 1945 film noir that struggles under the weight of lukewarm performances, a clumsy script […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: Strange Illusion (1945)"
If David Cronenberg’s Shivers infected an apartment complex full of rich yuppies who probably deserved it, Rabid goes a step further and passes the disease to larger Montreal. This 1977 picture contends with many of the same concerns found in Shivers, with science, sex and slaughter at the core. And it is still deeply satirical, […]Read more "Rabid (1977)"
David Cronenberg’s Shivers is a gloriously bizarre and haunting horror picture, one that really gets under the skin. Part fever dream and part snarky satire, this 1975 Canadian movie earned the attention of the government because of its federal arts funding. The hubbub over the subject matter blew over quickly, but there were some ripples […]Read more "Shivers (1975)"