Tag Archives: Juliette Lewis

Cape Fear (1991) Review

Time: 128 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Robert De Niro as Max Cady
Nick Nolte as Sam Bowden
Jessica Lange as Leigh Bowden
Juliette Lewis as Danielle Bowden
Joe Don Baker as Claude Kersek
Robert Mitchum as Lt. Elgart
Gregory Peck as Lee Heller
Director:

Max Cady (Robert De Niro) is a psychopath just released from prison for rape. He is out seeking revenge from his lawyer Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) who he believes deliberately held back important information about his case during the trial, which could have kept him out of jail. He sets off to terrorize Bowden, his wife (Jessica Lange) and even goes after their 15 year old daughter (Juliette Lewis).

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After his massive hit with Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese’s next film would be a remake of the 1961 thriller Cape Fear, which would be the most commercial movie from him at least at the time. While it’s indeed another thriller, he does a number of things to make it more entertaining, engaging, interesting, and ultimately better.

With Cape Fear, I think it’s worth not knowing too much before going in. It is a bit of a slow burn thriller, as antagonist Max Cady terrorizes the main family in different ways, but it’s consistently engaging all the way through. One thing that you should know is that Cape Fear isn’t a brutally realistic thriller. There are some aspects that are over the top, and Max Cady seeming supernatural in some of the things he does. While Scorsese’s movie is much more overtly intense than the original, make no mistake, this is still a genre movie, and Scorsese absolutely embraces that to great effect. At the same time, he does take the movie in other directions, especially with regard to the family dynamic, which made Cape Fear more than just another stalker thriller. The tension builds up over the course of the movie, and culminates in a very thrilling last act.

Robert Mitchum left quite the impression in the original movie as Max Cady, he basically made that movie worth remembering. However, Robert De Niro is also fantastic as Cady in the remake. He’s a little more over the top and larger than life, but nonetheless is still probably the scariest performance that he’s given. He’s quite overtly monstrous, yet adds enough humanity to the role. Some have said that De Niro can have performances that are similar to each other, but performances like The King of Comedy and this are examples of him absolutely transforming into completely different roles. That creepy southern accent of his also helped quite a lot. In the original Cape Fear, the family was rather typical and clean, whereas in the 1991 version, the lead family in here is shown to have a lot more going on with them. Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange and Juliette Lewis are all great as that family. I’ve noticed that Nolte’s performance as Sam Bowden is rather overlooked, Gregory Peck as Bowden in the original movie was way too clean and honourable throughout. Nolte on top of portraying the character with great paranoia and stress effectively, is also shown to be rather flawed himself as a person before even coming across Max Cady again. The rest of the supporting cast work well too, with the likes of Illeana Douglas, Joe Don Baker, and a few cameos from actors of the original Cape Fear with Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck and Martin Balsam. Scorsese doesn’t let any of the characters here come across as a hero and make them all feel human, even Cady.

Martin Scorsese’s work is once again great, and his direction ultimately made the movie even better. It’s a very stylish thriller, there are some over the top elements like the zoom ins and certain editing techniques, but that’s deliberately inspired from suspenseful filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock and Brian De Palma. In fact a lot of people have described Cape Fear as Scorsese doing De Palma. Much of the way the third act was directed was pretty great. The score is good too, Scorsese kept much of the score from the original movie and it works here.

Cape Fear isn’t among Martin Scorsese’s best movies, but that’s honestly not too much of a problem, it worked very well for what it was, and he made it even better than it could’ve been. Scorsese directs this excellently and elevated the material greatly, and the performances are really good, especially from De Niro and Nolte. So I definitely think it’s worth watching.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) Review

Time: 108 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] contains violence
Cast:
George Clooney as Seth Gecko
Quentin Tarantino as Richard “Richie” Gecko
Harvey Keitel as Jacob Fuller
Juliette Lewis as Katherine Fuller
Ernest Liu as Scott Fuller
Salma Hayek as Santanico Pandemonium
Cheech Marin as Border Guard/Chet Pussy/Carlos
Danny Trejo as Razor Charlie
Tom Savini as Sex Machine
Director: Robert Rodriguez

On the run from a bank robbery that left several police officers dead, Seth Gecko (George Clooney) and his paranoid, loose-cannon brother, Richard (Quentin Tarantino), hightail it to the Mexican border. Kidnapping preacher Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel) and his kids, the criminals sneak across the border in the family’s RV and hole up in a topless bar. Unfortunately, the bar also happens to be home base for a gang of vampires, and the brothers and their hostages have to fight their way out.

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I remember watching From Dusk Till Dawn years ago, it had a big reputation for starting off as a crime movie and then halfway through turns into a bloodbath of a vampire movie. It wasn’t that much of a surprise to me, I knew that going in. And in knowing that, it really worked for me and was a very entertaining movie. It’s a violent and bloody grindhouse/B movie that’s a lot of fun.

From Dusk Till Dawn is a very B movie and it wholeheartedly embraces that. As I said, From Dusk Till Dawn is known for basically being two halves of very different movies. The first half is a violent crime movie (probably a typical Tarantino crime film) following the Gecko Brothers (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino) as they take a family hostage. The second half is a bloodbath of a vampire movie. I guess I would hide this as for some it was an absolute surprise but its practically a well known fact at this point that it’s not really worth it. As for which half you’ll prefer, I don’t really know. I will say that going in I was more expecting the vampire movie, so I was kind of waiting for that section to come up for a while. Quentin Tarantino wrote the script and you can really feel like it’s his writing throughout, especially with the dialogue. In a way, Tarantino’s writing and Rodriguez’s direction were a perfect match for this kind of story.

The cast for the most part does well. George Clooney gives quite possibly my favourite performance of his. Gone is the charismatic and charming Clooney that would be appear in even his criminal roles like Danny Ocean, here he is a straight up ruthless criminal who still remains likable despite it. Quentin Tarantino despite being a very talented writer and director does get a bit of a bad wrap when it comes to his acting, especially in this movie. I personally think he was actually alright here, no he’s not really that great of an actor but his character Richard Gecko who’s an unstable psychopath, he pulls it off well enough. Maybe other actors could play the part and do it better but he does the job okay. The hostage family is played by Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu, who really play the only redeemable characters in the whole movie, and they did quite well (although Liu is a cut below Keitel and Lewis). We do get some other actors in smaller roles but do their part to stand out, with Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin and Tom Savini being some of them. And of course we have Salma Hayek, who is only in a couple scenes but is one of the most memorable parts of the movie (granted its mostly because of a dance she does around the halfway point but still).

Robert Rodriguez directs this movie, and as typical of (non Spy Kids) Rodriguez, the action is entertaining and really bloody. Early on, when the violence is present, its bloody but it’s kind of disturbing at the same time. In the vampire segment however, it goes really over the top with the gore and its just really entertaining to watch. There is a lot of practical effects used for the gore and its very creative and impressive. These representations of vampires aren’t the Dracula kind of vampires, these are the absolutely grotesque and monstrous kind of vampires. The reason that this movie didn’t get an NC-17 rating is that they turned the vampire blood from red to green, and I guess it worked (and made it stand apart from the other representations of vampires even more).

From Dusk Till Dawn probably isn’t for everyone. The switch from crime to horror in the halfway point did put off some people, you might end up digging one segment much more than the other, I can’t say for certain. If you’re up for a weird and violent action horror movie written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez however, I’d say give it a go.

Natural Born Killers (1994)

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Natural Born Killers

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence
Cast:
Woody Harrelson as Mickey Knox
Juliette Lewis as Mallory Knox
Tom Sizemore as Jack Scagnetti
Robert Downey Jr. as Wayne Gale
Tommy Lee Jones as Dwight McClusky
Director: Oliver Stone

Delivery boy Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson) falls in love with customer Mallory Wilson (Juliette Lewis). He helps her kill her parents and began their journey down Route 666. Every few miles, they attack everyone within their sight, sparing one person to tell the tale. They are made famous by reporter Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr.), while being pursued by the equally sadistic Jack Scagnetti.

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Oliver Stone is known for controversy in his films and Natural Born Killers is no exception. This film is quite polarizing; I don’t think everyone who watches this movie will like it. For me, it is a great showcase of acting, writing from Oliver Stone and satire. The style may be distracting but Natural Born Killers does have some elements that are great that are worth noting.

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This film is a satire of the media, public opinion, and the modern attitude toward violence (you really need to know that before watching it) and I think Oliver Stone did a pretty good job at delivering in that aspect. One of the elements of the satire is the fact that these serial killers are killing a lot of people and are being made famous by the media, so famous in fact, that they seem to be celebrities among some people. These two main characters are Bonnie and Clyde of the 90s if they were serial killers. This film also has an unconventional plot, along with it being about two serial killers; the plot mostly just follows them, whether that is the past or present. The first act of this movie was pretty good; it established these two characters and their relationship well. In the second act though my interest started decreasing, that point was when I started to find the style quite distracting as well, the film also slowed down quite a bit. The third act however picks up greatly, I won’t spoil what happens but it’s quite exciting and is even better than the first act. Another thing to mention is the fact that a lot of the characters aren’t that likable. Along with Mickey and Mallory (obviously) a lot of other characters are often quite despicable. Sometimes even some of the people that Mickey and Mallory aren’t that likable, with an exception to a few people. This isn’t a flaw with the movie; it’s just worth mentioning it.

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The acting is superb from everyone. Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis are really believable as these two serial killers who are in love and they really shine in their scenes. Robert Downey Jr. isn’t in the movie a lot but when he’s on screen is absolutely fantastic in his role. Tommy Lee Jones is also seen for a small part near the end of the movie and like Downey Jr., he really makes use of every second of screen time that he has.

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The style is very interesting to say the least. Sometimes the camera filters are a different colour, sometimes it is shot on an angle, and sometimes it cuts to some surreal images; it feels like you are on an acid trip. For the first half of the movie I accepted it and I was okay with it as it seemed to fit with the movie. But at the half way point, this style started to be quite distracting to me. I know that a lot of people loved the style: I thought it was good but for me, it got a little tiring after a while, you really need to prepare yourself for this type of movie.

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Natural Born Killers isn’t a movie that everyone will enjoy. Its style may be distracting, the fact that it’s following characters that aren’t likable (even some of the side characters aren’t that good either) or it might be the violence might repel some people. If you feel like you may like this movie, check it out but be ready for what you are going to see. You’ll either love it or hate it.