Each week Elma and I give you 5 opinionated but culturally relevant choices, based on our experience of curating smart sticky stuff for Ovation, Trio, Bravo, A&E, Sundance, Fuse, and others.
Here at The Thread, we are endlessly fascinated by extreme goings-on behind other people’s closed doors. OK, so maybe killing your spouse isn’t the best solution for marital ennui. But these movies sure do a good job of distracting us for a couple hours.
GONE GIRL (2014)
There are two sides to every story but with only one side present and the other “missing” we can only come to one conclusion. This is one thriller that we cannot wait to see under the masterful direction of David Fincher regardless of whodunit.
THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY (2014)
Incredible scenery and Hitchcockian plot twists as screenwriter Hossein Amini (DRIVE) adapts/directs a Patricia Highsmith novel that keeps you guessing until the final scene. The grifter couple here both walk into it with open eyes – the fun is trying to figure out who will stop at what. An entertaining return to the classics that is hitting theaters this weekend.
LES DIABOLIQUES (1955)
A wife, a mistress and a brutal husband are at the center of this thriller from director Georges Clouzot. Usually we’re drawn to French films for their anti-Hollywood plotting – but here there are more than enough twists and turns to keep you going. Kinky, juicy, loaded with undercurrents – the film created a sensation when was released and is said to have inspired Hitchcock’s Psycho, as well as Columbo.
The American remake of Clouzot’s masterpiece falls short of the original but does give you a high dose of camp. The presence of Kathy Bates and a nude scene from Isabelle Adjani may help keep you entertained – but you’ll have the most fun if you watch the original first and then mercilessly pick this one apart.
FATAL ATTTRACTION (1987)
We love this film for the simple yet serious lesson it serves up to would-be philanderers – “Just keep it in your pants, OK?” In these movies what happens behind closed doors just never stays there. Thrilling and violent and over-the-top. Nobody ever forgets that scene with the bunny.
THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1981)
The ultra-noir incarnation of this theme. David Mamet’s remake of the 1946 original stars Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange as ill-fated lovers whose steamy destiny is doomed from the first kiss. The intersection of the pulpy source material with the director’s hyper-serious sensibilities produced one of our favorite Mamet films.
ACE IN THE HOLE (1951)
One of Wilder’s more neglected films and one of the first films to examine the way reporters need sensationalism to feed the beast – the beast being us. At the time, critics and audiences didn’t really get it. Half a century later, it seems a little prescient. Wilder’s brilliant plotting is one of the reasons we love him – the twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your seat.
THE SHINING (1980)
As with POSTMAN, the collision of genre and genius works extremely for this romp in the fields of family dysfunction. Oh, and did we mention Nicholson? We have to admit a weak spot for this one – we’re still drawn back almost irresistibly to Kubrick’s campy psychological thriller. Like Close in ATTRACTION, Nicholson here is a brilliant performer at a delightful, scenery-chewing high mark. The words “Here’s Johnny…!” will forever send a chill of mixed dread and delight down our spines.