47 FILMS: 3. PARENTS

47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams continues with Bob Balaban’s debut horror Parents.

The family is a good place to start when it comes to horror, be it Norman Bates’ mother complex, the psycho family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre or even the sweet demonic daughter from The Exorcist. Just getting pregnant can be scary – see Rosemary’s Baby, or in a weird way Alien!

A welcome addition to the sub-genre is Bob Balaban’s 1989 horror-comedy Parents. Set in a 1950s American culture that worshiped the sanctity of the nuclear family, Dad (Randy Quaid) knows best while Mom (Mary Beth Hurt) prepares the meatloaf, entertains guests, wearing bouncy frocks and without a hair out of place. Unfortunately, their young son (Bryan Madorsky) is having nightmares and seems to be focused on their eating habits with mounting suspicion. Endlessly told to eat his meat, the ‘leftovers’, he asks what were the leftovers, before they were leftovers. ‘Leftovers to be,’ replies his dad with a grin, but it soon becomes apparent that the meat is of a much terrifying provenance. Could it be that his parents are feasting on human flesh?

Balaban – an actor famous for his character roles in films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Deconstructing Harry – gives the film a jaunty ironic tone with a soundtrack made up of Golden Oldies. This is Tim Burton territory of a hyper-stylized pastel bright suburban America as if they all just popped off the back of an old cornflakes packet, but he infuses it with a darkness that seems more Lynchian. The child is powerless before his  parents and their bland cheery authority. The school tries to help but the social worker (Sandy Dennis) is a chain smoking mass of neuroses herself. Dad works at Toxico and is developing Agent Orange to wreak havoc in the Third World and there are suggestions later on that the cannibalism is not so much an aberration as a family tradition.

Balaban brilliant makes the normal horrifying and the comforting disconcerting, what should be a tasty hearty meal becomes an inedible terror.

For more of our 47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams Click HERE.

BOB BALABAN TO REPLACE BRUCE WILLIS IN DIE HARD 6

HOLLYWOOD – Veteran actor Bob Balaban is to take over from Bruce Willis as perennial cop in the wrong place John McClane in Die Hard 6.

Director Noah Baumbach explained the left field casting choice when he spoke to Studio Exec earlier today:

The last Die Hard [A Good Day to Die Hard – SE] was such a colossal turd that the studio has decided to go in a radically different direction. Initially, we were looking at young upcoming action stars like Jason Statham or Chris Pine, but they made some fairly weak excuses and it was clear they thought of the franchise as pretty much done in. Then Bruce called and suggested Bob. They’d worked together on Moonrise Kingdom and got on very well. 

Bruce Willis confirmed:

I’ve always admired Bob as an actor. He has this reputation as a quiet nebbish type, but inside him there’s this inner steel that I saw instantly would look good with a machine gun, an undershirt and a flaring Uzi.

Balaban himself commented:

As an actor I’ve had a fairly wide ranging ride. From the nerdy guy in Close Encounters of the Third Kind to the nerdy guy in The Monuments Men, roles have taken me many different places, psychically and physically. Now as McClane I guess I’m going to China or somewhere in Eastern Europe and there’ll be explosions and what not. According to the script, I have retired from the police force and am now spending my time searching for antiquarian books when the terrorists strike. I hope I don’t drop my glasses.

An Interesting Thing Happened to me on the Way to the Die Hard will be released in 2016. 

THE MONUMENTS MEN: REVIEW

THE MONUMENTS MEN: REVIEW – Danny Ocean goes to Europe to save a bunch of valuable artworks from the dastardly Nazis and the dratted Ruskies. For the mission, he recruits an unhealthy looking John Goodman, the guy from the Artist, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray as well as a middle aged Will Hunting.

The acting talent is there. Clooney has directed two good films – Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Goodnight, and Good Luck were both creditable – so he knows how to do it. The subject is interesting and novel. So what went wrong? 

 
First of all, the film keeps desperately wanting to move us, so Clooney and co-writer Grant Haslov keep front-loading the emotion: with inspiring speeches before anyone’s done anything, voice-over read letters to parents underlining explicitly why something is tragic and Christmas carols sung by a daughter, sloppily juxtaposed with the death of an unknown soldier. It’s all a mush of a mushness.
 
Neither is the comedy as caper-y as the poster sells us, nor as funny. Clooney is genuinely interested in his subject and wants us to feel the heroism of his art historians in uniform. So he keeps telling us this, again and again, and the humor is vaguely apologetic and horribly gentle. Bill Murray does Bill Murray again, so if you like Bill Murray doing Bill Murray you’ll see Billy Murray.
 
However, entertainment can be gained by guessing with your friends what Cate Blanchett’s motivation is for being such a pain in the ass throughout. 

WES ANDERSON RUSHED TO HOSPITAL SUFFERING FROM QUIRK OVERDOSE

NEW YORK – Wes Anderson in possible quirk overdose.

The Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom director, Wes Anderson was rushed to the Cedar Pines intensive care unit on Long Island in the early hours of Sunday morning, suffering from an overdose of quirk.

Anderson had apparently been working on his new film The Grand Budapest Hotel which stars Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Soairse Ronan, F. Murray Abraham, Bob Balaban, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray, as a sadly hilarious figure.

Production Assistant Jennifer Tulls witnessed the director’s collapse:

We were filming a cross section of the hotel and in every room one of the characters is doing something unexpectedly weird and at the same time wryly amusing: someone’s painting Shetland ponies with blue stripes, Willem Dafoe is wearing a monocle and teaching Polish children the flute, someone else is making a pyramid of champagne glasses and Bill Murray is being a sadly hilarious figure. All of a sudden Wes just kind of started to vibrate.  

Bill Murray earlier today

The Syd Barrett song that was playing on the soundtrack was switched off and Mr. Anderson was briefly exposed to a newspaper, detailing growing tensions between Israel and Syria. ‘He seemed to be coming round but then Tilda Swinton leant over to ask how he was and he keeled over again,’ Ms. Tulls said.
The hospital issued a statement saying that:

Mr. Anderson is recovering from levels of quirkiness well above the maximum that the human body can tolerate. It is apparent that he has been taking a very high dosage for a sustained period of time. However, he is young and strong and should be able to make a full recovery provided he relents from people talking directly to camera, stories within stories, a mix tape soundtrack and Bill Murray playing a sadly hilarious character.

The French Dispatch out soon.