Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Sibling Relationships


It's Thursday, and so that means that it's time for another edition of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks!  So this week was fun, and there was so much (like, an overwhelming bounty) that I decided to do a sub-category or sub-theme so that it was easier to condense and present.

Here's the theme:



Like, so many movies to chose from.  So, I decided to make this a little easier on myself and went with movies about twins.  More than that, I decided to go with movies where a particular actor played both of those 'siblings'.  So, without further ado, I present to you my picks this week!

Dead Ringers
This movie is so fucked up.  It's also one of my favorite Cronenberg films, and Jeremy Irons gives a towering performance as conflicted twins who are about as much obsessed with their work as they are with each other.  It's equal parts horrifying and oddly sexy, this movie is pretty much everything. 

Adaptation
I don't think I say enough how much I hate Nicolas Cage.  Like, I hate him.  I hate him so much...except when I don't, and I don't hate him here at all.  He just NAILS this performance.  His ham is perfectly seasoned and used to perfection as these battling twins.  It doesn't hurt that the movie is comedic genius.

SPOILER ALERT 

The Prestige
The big reveal at the end of The Prestige is such so mind-blowingly satisfactory because 1) we never saw it coming and 2) it's completely plausible.  We spend the whole movie expecting this reveal to be...magic...and it's not and that makes it all the more incredible!  Once you know the truth, rewatches are so rich because Christian Bale's performance becomes all the more inspired.  You can see those touches...those slight shifts...it's brilliant!

34 comments:

  1. ....you didn't look ahead, did you.... there's a twins week coming up!

    THAT SAID, Dead Ringers is killer, Adaptation is inspired, and The Prestige is probably my favorite Nolan. You're absolutely right about everything you say, and it's a film that totally benefits from rewatches after you know the twist. The twist is also brilliant because Michael Caine keeps saying it over and over: the only way to do it is with a double. And Hugh Jackman's all, NUH-UH! It's also a SUPERB adaptation of the novel, improving on it in almost every way possible. The central performances are all stellar (and the casting of David Bowie as Tesla is perfect).

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    1. Haha. You beat me to it.

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    2. Err...this is obviously what I get for...not looking ahead. Thankfully, there were like...ten other movies off the top of my head that I could have used so I think I'm good.

      Still...

      Shame on me.

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    3. Oh, and yes to all Prestige love. Like...it's one of my favorites from 2006, easily. I'm sad it didn't do better with Awards that year, because I think it's better than AMPAS entire lineup.

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    4. TOTALLY agree. Quite possibly the best film of 2006, and Christian Bale absolutely should have been nominated for Best Actor.

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    5. I would have completely supported a Bale nomination!

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    6. I was going to point out the Twins week coming up but I see everyone else already did! lol Excellent picks though, I especially love the Prestige (which is actually in my Twins post)

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    7. LOL, I feel like I need a re-do post! BAH, maybe I'll make Twins Week, Sibling Week and call it an even trade :-P

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  2. I don't want be that guy but there is a week specifically aimed at twins, haha.

    Anywho the words 'fucked up' go with Cronenberg like...i dunno...strawberries and cream.

    I like adaptation, Cage is indeed good in this but unlike you I don't hate at all. He's sometimes bad but enjoyable so. Also, The Prestige is awesome but I need another viewing of that.

    With these rules you could have went for the Social Network.

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    1. I'm shamed...I'll admit.

      And lol, you're so right about Cronenberg...

      I just...can't with Cage 98% of the time.

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  3. LOVE The Prestige! Dead Ringers is...interesting in its strangeness with great work from Jeremy Irons. I absolutely HATED everything about Adaptation, but it's a good pick for this week.

    Your right this is a week with such rich choices and I'm kicking myself now for not including You Can Count on Me because I thought it would be everywhere and I've yet to see it pop up and it's so perfect for the theme with award caliber performances by Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo. Be that as it may it was impossible for me to stop at three so I have two bonuses this week: A Bette Davis double feature!

    A River Runs Through It (1992)-Set in a wide open Montana near the turn of the last century two brothers, Brad Pitt and Craig Sheffer, bond with each other and their minister father while fly-fishing. The film follows the brothers separate paths and is full of visual splendor. This pushed Brad Pitt over the top into full-fledged stardom.

    An Unremarkable Life (1989)-Two elderly sisters, Frances (Patricia Neal) a friendly and sweet self-described maiden lady school teacher and Evelyn (Shelley Winters) a bitter, prejudiced widow have shared a home for 20 years. Having settled into a rhythm of memories and companionship with Evelyn the dominant, or more accurately domineering, decision maker their life is in a steady pattern until Frances meets kindly Asian mechanic, Max (Mako). They slowly fall in love which sends Evelyn, already resentful of Max’s ethnicity, into a combative tailspin and she sets out to end the relationship regardless of her sister’s happiness. Finally a confrontation between the sisters reveals long suppressed resentments and a degree of understanding.

    This Is My Love (1954)-Linda Darnell's ironically named Vida Dove (peaceful life) is living anything but. Lonely and full of bitterness at having to live with her sister, Faith Domergue and brother-in-law the cruel, wheelchair bound Dan Duryea, Linda's former flame. Shackled to them and tortured by him she is desperate for any way out. Enter handsome Rick Jason and a possible escape until he gets a look at Faith, also seeking an escape from the viperish Dan, pitting sister against sister and setting the stage for unimaginable tragedy. Obscure, well made, tightly paced noir painted in the blackest shades but filmed in lurid Technicolor with a couple of great performances by Linda Darnell and Dan Duryea. Very hard to find but worth the effort.

    Honorable Mentions:
    What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)-Blanche Hudson, once a great film star until she was crippled in a car accident, lives in her decaying Hollywood mansion with her slatternly alcoholic sister, former child star “Baby Jane” Hudson who is now her caregiver. Theirs has always been a tenuous relationship which ruptures when Blanche decides to sell the house and have Jane institutionalized, something that should have happened years prior. Jane finds out her plans and starts a campaign of fear and punishment that escalates to extreme proportions. A huge hit in its day which reinvigorated Bette Davis and Joan Crawford’s careers. A study of siblings broken by ambition and resentment. Both actresses are very good but Davis is quite brilliant.

    In This Our Life (1942)-Bette Davis stars as Stanley Timberlake a selfish impulsive schemer who dumps her fiancée and runs off with her sister Roy’s (Olivia de Havilland) doctor husband. After marrying she emasculates him, eventually driving him to suicide. Returning home she finds her fiancée has now fallen in love with Roy and they plan to wed. Jealous and spiteful Stanley tries to steal him back, in the process becoming involved in a hit and run accident which she attempts to let a protégée of the family take the rap for. As Stanley Bette is at her hellcat best tossing off lines like “What I want I go after-and get!” Olivia as Roy Timberlake is more docile but does proclaim “I’m going to be hard-just as hard as she is!” Good soapy fun.

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    1. I've only seen...River and Baby Jane!!! I need these in my life, especially An Unremarkable Life...like NOW!!!

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    2. I told you I'd be going overboard this week, I could have gone on and on...Hannah and Her Sisters, Big Night, East of Eden, A Stolen Life, Duel in the Sun and My Six Loves are some of the others I considered. But I love the five I picked so much for various reasons and I try to find obscure titles whenever possible to shine a little light on them, which really only applies to three but how could I leave out the visual splendor of River or the demented, delicious Baby Jane!

      An Unremarkable Life is a lovely, quiet and meditative drama made special by those three leading performers. I would never have thought that Pat Neal and Shelley Winters would make sense as sisters but because of their skill they pull it off completely.

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    3. Yeah, I'll be seeking out that one ASAP!

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  4. Oh man I really should check out Dead Ringers! LOVE Jeremy Irons!

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    1. It's his best performance, ever!

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  5. Dead Ringers I've never seen. I have yet to wander into the world of Cronenberg. But Adaptation is a brilliant pick. One that would've worked perfectly with my brothers focus. Love that movie. The Prestige is brilliant as well. I really need to re-watch that one. Easily one of Nolan's best. Such a mind-blowing reveal. And so perfectly acted.

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    1. I am no Cronenberg fanboy. Like, I'm usually pretty harsh on his work since I find him an arrogant a-hole who thinks too highly of his own talent, and he often feels like a cheaper David Lynch, who, let's face it, can be cheap himself. BUT...when Cronenberg hits it, he does so with a sharpness that kind of validates his cult following...and here he hits it.

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  6. Cronenberg is on the other side of nuts. I still have to see this film and will one day but I know i have to be in the mood. I am not a Nicholas Cage fan either so that is one reason I didn't see this film. I don't think i saw the 3rd film either. Gosh 0 for 3. I pick Scarface-either version actually. It just shows the warpness that can happen between brother and sister and that brother has a whole lot of warpness to him. The Parent Trap is a sweet film with Hayley Mills playing twins trying to get her parents back together. I also pick Runaway Jury. It's not a great film but it has a nice twist and I enjoyed it quite a bit

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    1. I haven't seen Runaway Jury in years...but I really liked it, from what I remember.

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  7. The Prestige twist surprised me so much. The make up was amazing, I didn't recognize Bale at all throughout the movie

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    1. Yeah, it was such a well played twist!

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  8. Dude, you're in trouble when we have to do twins next month. Can't fault your picks though, especially Dead Ringers and Adaptation. I always assumed though that Donald was less a twin than some other side of Charlie's personality that needed to be (spoiler alert) killed off.

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    1. LOL, I love that take on Adaptation!

      And yeah, I'll figure something out. I literally take these one week at a time, so I don't look ahead. It bit me in the ass this week.

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  9. OH! Those are awesome picks man. 3 great films.

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  10. I love The Prestige! It's a genius film! But I forget that film is also a "sibling" film, haha.

    Thank God I didn't pick that 'cause I also forget that the twins will be coming.

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    1. LOL, yeah, that's why I threw those spoiler tags up because the sibling angle isn't really advertised.

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  11. I've only seen The Presige which I enjoyed. Can't believe I haven't seen the other two, yet. Hmph.

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  12. So much YES! Ugh, The Prestige is THIS close to being my Best Picture winner. Like, my winner literally changes from Children of Men to The Departed to The Prestige. On most days, COM wins, but I have been tempted to give Nolan a big win that year, especially since Cuaron now gets 2 wins for Gravity. (Bale is probably my #6 in Best Actor, by the way. He's so close to cracking my top 5, but I'd have to take out Craig.)

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    1. Craig is so freaking good. Bale misses my Top Five, unfortunately, but that category is too stacked.

      The Prestige only gets better and better the more it settles. I may even nominate Hall now...like...such a beautiful turn!

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