July 29, 2013

Filthy Review - Francis Ford Coppola Double-Bill 'Twixt' and 'Peggy Sue got Married'

Twixt (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

As a director, Francis Ford Coppola really has nothing left to prove. Over the last few decades he has delivered the stone-cold classics, such as the Godfather movies and Apocalypse Now, as well as those that are slightly less known, but no less impressive, like The Outsiders and Rumble Fish. Sure, there’s been the odd misfire here and there, such as Keanu Reeve’s performance in Dracula, but on the whole he is a director that has delivered the goods.

With his latest film, the rather oddball Twixt, I get the impression that he has made a film purely for himself, without a care in the world what anyone else thinks. There’ll be some, if not many, that loathe its very existence, and then there’ll be those, such as myself, that fully embrace its kooky charm and over the top performances. This is Coppola delivering an almost Twin Peaks-esque thriller, and not a horror as it is billed, with a large helping of twisted humor.

Twixt follows author Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer), who is travelling around on a tour to promote his latest book; one which once again focuses on Witches. However, upon arriving in a small town, which doesn’t even have a bookstore (unfortunately not so rare these days), he becomes entwined in a case involving the murder of a local girl. It is here that he joins forces with the local sheriff, played by Bruce Dern, in order to get to the bottom of it all.

Sounds straightforward enough, but I assure you that it is. The film drifts to and fro from reality to dreams and quite possibly hallucinations, as Baltimore enlists advice from Edgar Allen Poe, as well as conversations with the deceased girl. Quite honestly, this film was a trip. The humor totally hit the spot with me; especially watching Kilmer impersonate a gay 60s basketball player (I shit you not), and whenever Dern is on screen.

Coppola seems to be just letting it all hang out with Twixt, with very personal elements blending in with the more fantastic elements, such as the death of his own son being mirrored in the onscreen events. Hell, he even cast Kilmer’s ex, Joanne Whaley, as Baltimore’s ex-wife, which just added to the frivolity of the movie.

Twixt won’t appeal to everyone, in fact I would hazard a guess that more will dislike than like this outing, but I found myself totally engrossed in this wicked world and can’t wait to watch it again.

Twixt is available on Blu-ray and DVD now from 20th Century Fox

 Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

Review by Jude Felton

Of all the successes and failures within Francis Ford Coppola’s body of work, there is one that, although not obscure, never seemed to get the love it so rightly deserved; that being the 1986 movie Peggy Sue got Married. It was originally released not so long after the mega-hit Back to the Future stormed the world, and of which it shares many elements. It is a film that warrants a revisit though, and now thankfully you can, as Image have released it on Blu-ray for the first time.

Peggy Sue (Kathleen Turner) is an unhappily married, to Nicolas Cage’s character Charlie, woman who goes to her high school reunion. Whilst there she passes out, only to awaken back in her childhood, and with a chance to change the events that would shape her life. Sounds very Back to the Future, right? It does, but this is a far more adult film, but really no less funny.

Coppola has visited the 60s a few times, with films like The Outsiders, and this one is another winner. Aside from having a wonderful cast, which also features Helen Hunt, Joan Allen and a very young Jim Carrey, it has one of the most terrific scripts. The humor here is sometimes very obvious, but when it works best is when it is interjected in a more subtle manner. I was laughing so much in places that I surprised myself.

Although an incredibly funny, and poignant, movie, it does have a few shortcomings. The ending is weak, and seems as though they weren’t sure quite how to end it, and Cage’s voice tends to grate, in places. Aside from that, this is Cage in his prime and delivers a performance that I wish he could return to. Turner is excellent as Peggy Sue, and shows that she is just as at home delivering subtle humor and she is in more straightforward humor, such as War of the Roses or Serial Mom.

Image’s Blu-ray release is solid, but unspectacular. There are no extras at all, although it is definitely worth picking up for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s a bloody good movie, and secondly it does look good on Blu. It doesn’t look amazing, although I doubt it has looked this good before.

Peggy Sue got Married is released on Blu-ray by Image Entertainment on July 30th.

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