The Guardian critic Scott Tobias writes that Garry Marshall’s Pretty Woman (1990) may have been released in the 1990s, but it is very 1980s with its “greed is good,” Reaganomics materialism, as well as its ultraconservative sexual politics. After all, it is about a Hollywood Boulevard prostitute named Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) – who is new to streetwalking, does no drugs, and doesn’t have a pimp – snagging a wealthy out-of-towner named Edward Lewis (Richard Gere), who innocently meets her asking for directions. According to Tobias, Roberts’s star-making turn, which made her America’s sweetheart overnight, elevates the film beyond its shortcomings.
House Bill 7039, as well as Senate Bill 1636, went before the Florida Legislature at this year’s Legislative Session, threatening to repeal the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council, according to Florida Politics. Even though the Legislature declined to approve a new film production program for 2020, the film industry successfully spoke out against HB 7039 with an amendment to the bill sparing the FFEAC which now awaits Governor Ron DeSantis’s signature. Floridians in the trade earn an average of eighty-two thousand dollars per year, which is two-thirds greater than the state average for all jobs, not to mention the businesses and tourism supported by film and television productions, raking in tax revenues for the government.
The “thriller” is difficult to differentiate from the film noir, horror, action, or suspense, according to The Manual. In an effort to define the parameters of the genre, writer Eric Shorey listed some of the best movies considered to be thrillers. The website’s ten best thrillers are: Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs (1991); Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct (1992); Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000); Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2019); David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001); Park Chan-wook’s Lady Vengeance (2005); Rob Reiner’s Misery (1990); Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011); Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945); as well as Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (1999).
Spyglass Media Group is rebooting Wes Craven’s Scream (1996) in partnership with Matthew Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who directed Ready or Not (2019), according to Variety. Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett are part of filmmaking group Radio Silence with Chad Villella, who will serve as one of the producers behind the untitled Scream reboot; Radio Silence produced V/H/S (2012), Devil’s Due (2014), and Southbound (2015). As for Spyglass, they were organized a year ago with former MGM executive Gary Barber and Lantern Entertainment co-presidents Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic, who took over the rights to Scream from the Weinstein Co. in 2018.
The accelerated spread of Covid-19 is crippling the entertainment industry, perhaps more so than any other, because the theatergoing experience as we know it is already vulnerable from the advent of streaming services, according to Quartz. After all, studios, as well as production companies, own offices and sets all over the world, and you can’t work from home on a film shoot. While this year’s global box office is projected to underperform (having lost as much as five billion dollars so far), if movie theaters in China and other major markets remain closed all year, they may not open again.
With only fifty-three percent of reviews aggregated through Rotten Tomatoes praising Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct (1992), this Hitchcockian classic of its time is an underrated and misunderstood film.
If you don’t know what to watch next, Basic Instinct is available to stream on Hulu. The neo-noir erotic thriller was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Original Score.
It was the fourth-highest-grossing release of its year, despite a divided critical reaction and public protests from gay rights activists.
Set in San Francisco, troubled homicide detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) investigates the murder of Johnny Boz (Bill Cable), who was stabbed to death with an icepick during sex with a mysterious blonde.
The prime suspect is crime novelist Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), Boz’s bisexual girlfriend, who wrote a book about the killing before it was committed and claims an obsessive devotee is setting her up.
As Catherine lures Nick into her world of sex and drugs and violence, his relationship with police psychiatrist Doctor Beth Garner (Jeanne Tripplehorn) grows increasingly deadly.
Douglas may get top billing, but Stone is the star of the show. She carries herself with confidence and intelligence and just the right amount of danger.
The most recognition she engendered for her star-making turn was a Golden Globe nod because audiences fail to take her seriously after the infamous interrogation scene.
Like Emilia Clarke in HBO’s Game of Thrones (2011-2019), Stone is more talented than people are willing to give her credit for, and there’s more to her performance than the beauty that meets the eye.
This is due to Verhoeven’s direction. Stone reprises her role in Michael Canton-Jones’s Basic Instinct 2 (2006), but even though it’s the same actor playing the same part, Catherine Tramell is borderline unwatchable in the sequel.
Verhoeven characterizes Tramell as the postmodern femme fatale, who seduces and kills with no loftier motive than that she looks good doing it.
The movie was controversial upon its release for its representation of bisexual women, and while there is something to be said about Hollywood’s lengthy history of demonizing lesbians, and while Basic Instinct exploits lesbianism for the male gaze, it is still ahead of its time sexually.
Catherine and her lover, Roxy Hardy (Leilani Sarelle), are both feminine.
Conversely, in Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right (2010), not only do Annette Benning and Julianne Moore conform to “butch” and “femme” gender roles, respectively, but the more feminine of the two also is the one to have an affair with Mark Ruffalo.
Narratively, though, Basic Instinct is overlong, convoluted, and repetitive. In the end, what the central mystery boils down to is an elaborate revenge plan the villain would have had to be nigh clairvoyant to cook up.
Logically, the drama demands more than its fair share of suspension of disbelief.
But Basic Instinct is more… well… instinctual than it is rational, and, for that, it is cinema at its most dreamlike.