Heavenly Creatures on Blu-ray

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Kate Winslet in Heavenly Creatures

Kate Winslet in Heavenly Creatures (1994). The camera has spoken.

Also: Point Blank and Clueless

I’m trying to keep a weekly update of movies watched. Usually they’re from either the library, the local video store (Black Dog on Commercial Drive in Vancouver) or TCM (Turner Classic Movies), since I rarely go to movie theatres any more – and after seeing Hugo (see previous review), may never go again.

Point Blank (2010, French, Blu-ray) – A dumbell, a chair, an oil-filled heater and de-fibrillator. These are just a few of things that are at hand whenever one of the good guys in this spectacularly stoopid 2010 French thriller is being menaced by a bad guy.

Unfortunately for the bad guys, they benefit from no such convenience in the beyond-lazy script by director Fred Cavayé and Guillaume Lemans.

Point Blank 2010 French movie image

Run, don’t walk, away from the video store if you see a staff recommendation for Point Blank.

A movie that would be over within the first 20 minutes if any of the main characters had a half a brain, A bout portant (original title) comes in a Blu-ray (this was a rental) package that promises a suspenseful, breakneck thriller – which is what I was looking for. It’s just dumb.

Heavenly Creatures (1994, New Zealand/Germany, Blu-ray) – Another rental, Peter Jackson‘s intro to North American movie houses (and Kate Winslet‘s first movie) is still a compelling character study and anatomy of a murder (based on a true story).

It was obvious to those of us seeing it when Heavenly Creatures was first released that the camera loves Winslet, and that Jackson (who of course would go on to direct the Lord of the Rings trilogy and is busy as of this writing turning The Hobbit into not one but two moviehouse hogs) was a director of some talent.

Indeed, watching Heavenly Creatures again 17 years later, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s obvious that Jackson could no more not exploit every possible fantasy element (clay people come to life) of a non-fantasy story than he could leave Gollum out of the Rings. Still, Heavenly Creatures is among his best work, and is beautiful to see in Blu-ray.

Clueless (U.S.A., 1995) – Another (like Heavenly Creatures) schoolgirl movie – a coincidence, believe me. Anyway, Amy Heckerling‘s brightly coloured, pop pastiche updating of Jane Austen‘s Emma for the Beverley Hills couldn’t be more different from the dark, twisted Heavenly Creatures.

Like Valley Girl and the more recent Easy A, which owes a huge debt to Clueless, this is a comedy that never condescends, either to its struggling adolescents or their parents. Clueless also offers plenty of smart, fun dialogue, surprisingly real characters (particularly Alicia Silverstone‘s Cher) and genuinely funny moments – such as Dan Hedaya (as Cher’s dad) barking at Brittany Murphy‘s character to get out of his chair, or the scene where Cher’s friend Dionne accidentally merges onto the freeway while learning to drive. Three of us, ranging in age from 31 to 59, watched this library copy DVD on a Saturday night, and everyone was so thoroughly entertained we watched some of the extras. And that’s saying something.

Wonder how Mean Girls holds up…

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