Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '89 - Sarah Jane ""

Friday, October 25, 2019

Underrated '89 - Sarah Jane

Sarah Jane hails from Southern California but now settled in Austin, Texas. She’s seen over 5,400 movies so far with no signs of stopping. She’s a contributing writer for TalkFilmsSociety.com. She’s also contributed pieces on Looper.com and for the Austin Chronicle. She wishes people would stop saying Manos: The Hands of Fate is the worst movie ever made. You can find her both on Twitter and Letterbox as @fookthis.

Last Exit to Brooklyn – It had been a nearly impossible task to adapt the book by Hubert Selby, Jr. into a feature film. Many had tried, including Ralph Bakshi, but only one director managed to make it happen, Uli Edel (Christiane F.). Jennifer Jason Leigh and Stephan Lang star in this movie about the residents of a Brooklyn neighborhood in the 1950s. A neighborhood full of violence, drugs, and poverty. It’s harsh as hell and certainly not something you want to throw on if you’re in the mood for something “feel good”. Leigh is pretty much always great, but her performance here as the prostitute Tralala is amazing. You’ll see other familiar faces here, too, like Sam Rockwell, Jerry Orbach, and Ricki Lake.
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Getting it Right – Directed by Randal Kleiser (Grease, Blue Lagoon), Getting it Right is about a 31-year-old hairdresser named Gavin (Jesse Birdsall) who just happens to also be a virgin. He still lives at home with his parents and he’s painfully shy. Gavin goes from having no women in his life to having three at once. Those three women happen to be Helena Bonham Carter, Jane Horrocks, and Lynn Redgrave. Comedy ensues as he tries to figure out what the hell he’s got himself into. Other notables in the film are Peter Cook, and John Gielgud.
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Lost Angels – Adam Horowitz, yes that one, the King Adrock and the king of all kings, stars in this drama about a teen who gets into trouble with the coppers and gets put into a psych hospital/detention center. His parents don’t give a shit about him and neither does the system. He finally meets Dr. Charles Loftis (Donald Sutherland), a man with his own problems. The two connect on trying to resolve both of their issues. The cast in this one is full of familiar faces including Amy Locane, Kevin Tighe, Patricia Richardson, and Max Perlich.
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The Rainbow – Ken Russell is always a name to conjure with and he doesn’t disappoint in this adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s 1915 book, The Rainbow. It’s a companion film to Russell’s earlier adaptation of Lawrence’s Women in Love that he made in 1969. In this story, Ursula Brangwen (Sammi Davis) is a teenager who is still in school. While there, she gets into a relationship with her gym teacher Winifred Inger (Amanda Donohoe). At the same time, Ursula also has feelings for Anton (Paul McGann), an older student at the local boys’ school. Like in many Lawrence works, Ursula goes through hardship and pain as she struggles with her relationships. While not Russell’s best effort, it’s worth watching. The film looks absolutely gorgeous and the performances are great. Glenda Jackson (playing the mother of her Women in Love character) and David Hemmings co-star.
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Valmont – Valmont has always suffered in the shadow of it’s showier and more ostentatious cousin, Dangerous Liaisons. The latter came out almost a year before Valmont and received all kinds of praise and awards. And, although I enjoy the Stephen Frear’s film, I prefer the sexier, low-key version given to us by MiloŇ° Forman. Merteuil (Annette Bening) bets her lover, Valmont (Colin Firth) that he can’t seduce the shy, married Madame de Tourvel (Meg Tilly). Valmont takes that bet and all kinds of trouble comes about. Firth and Bening set the screen on fire, they’re both at the top of their game. I love the look of this version. It doesn’t feel like it’s all a stage show and full of faux opulence. Forman’s movie looks so natural, like these actors are in the 1700s. I think we sometimes overlook Forman when talking about the great directors of our time. Watch this one and let’s try to change that.
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