Double Feature

February 2022 - Two months into 2022 and I have yet to sit down and watch a movie on the big screen. What I did watch, as I mentioned last month, was on the small screen - a series on Showtime called Yellowjackets. The first season is over now, but it's been renewed for season two, so you have time to catch up. Much of the buzz about the show centers around the cast, which includes Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis and Melanie Lynskey.

Lynskey made her acting debut in 1994's Heavenly Creatures>, an R-rated film from director Peter Jackson. It's based on the true story of two teenage girls in 1950's New Zealand. Kate Winslet makes her big-screen debut as Juliet Hulme (who went on to write novels under the name Anne Perry). Lynskey stars as Pauline Parker, the girl whose mother gets bashed in the head at the end of a picnic.

Juliet and Pauline meet at school when Juliet blows in as the new girl in town. The two quickly become more than friends. The girls' close relationship troubles both sets of parents. Juliet's mom and dad intend to leave and take her with them. But, they agree to let the girls spend a final few days together. That decision proves deadly for Pauline's mother. The film ends with the crime and the girls screaming bloody murder.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK. An interesting tale, but I kind of got lost in the storytelling as it went back and forth between reality and the fantasy that the girls created. I also would have liked more information about what happened after the murder. The few sentences that appeared on the screen were very unsatisfying.

In 1996, a young Juliette Lewis added to the star power of the R-rated film From Dusk Till Dawn. Blood and gore abound in this horror flick from director Robert Rodriguez and scriptwriter Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino also stars along with George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo and Salma Hayek.

Clooney plays Seth Gecko, a murderous bank robber. Tarantino is his pervy brother, Richard. As the movie opens, they're on the run to meet a guy who promises them safe haven south of the border. In Texas, they stop at a motel where Richard rapes and kills the bank teller they took as a hostage. In need of more hostages, they force disillusioned preacher Harvey Keitel and his kids (including daughter Juliette Lewis) to take them to Mexico in their RV.

Once safely across the border, they head for the appointed meeting place, a biker bar in the middle of nowhere. They arrive around dusk and soon find themselves trapped inside until dawn with more vampires than you can shake a stick at.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK. What the movie lacks in plot and dialogue it tries to make up for with plenty of blood and action. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. The depth and maturity of Tarantino's other works is absent here. Even the soundtrack seems below par. From Dusk Till Dawn is not unwatchable by any means, but it goes on too long and doesn't quite rise to the level of being good instead of just OK.