Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D

Terminator 2 3D

You just can’t go around the streets killing people. Well, you can actually. James Cameron has revisited one of the key films of the 90s and possibly the greatest action film ever made. It was re-released for one night only – 29 August –  the date the T-1000 was released to an unsuspecting world. In this time-defying work Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is whiling away the months in a state mental health facility while her kid John (Edward Furlong) is in foster care practising those sneaky skillsets that his mom has taught him because in the future he’s the leader of the humans in a machine-led dystopia. While T-1000 (Robert Patrick) has been sent back to kill John, The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has been sent to protect him in one of the greatest face-offs (literally) you will ever see. Once the computer boffin (Joe Morton) has been engaged rather forcibly to help destroy his creations (in a philosophical 360 these will destroy too) there is nothing for it but fight to the death. I didn’t like the 3D and it actually added nothing but migraine in this 4K edition. This is sensational from concept to execution. And you don’t need me to repeat the lines or the warmth between Der Ahnuld and Furlong or the genius of casting Hamilton who is ripped to the max in the greatest action role outside of Sigourney in Aliens. Robert Patrick gives me nightmares. This is future shock like no other. No need to tamper with brilliance so the visual jolts bothered me greatly:  a weird choice given that this is a warning about technology, a fever dream that has particular resonance today.  Written by Cameron and William Wisher Jr. This is intense.

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White Oleander (2002)

White oleander.jpg

Janet Fitch’s novel is one of my favourites of the last 20 years:  a marvellous portrait of a self-centred driven artist and her destructive relationship with her teenaged daughter, who spends the latter part of her adolescence in foster care around Los Angeles when her mother murders her cheating boyfriend and gets 35 years in prison. Adapted by the gifted Mary Agnes Donoghue and directed by British documentarian Peter Kosminsky it comes to the screen also bearing the talents of an impressive cast, led by the stunning Michelle Pfeiffer and Alison Lohman, playing Ingrid the artist and Astrid the daughter, respectively. Lohman’s narration anchors the story from the setup in her natural dysfunctional home to a spell with a born again trailer trash tramp (Robin Wright Penn) who shoots her out of jealousy, to a failed movie actress (Renee Zellwegger) who falls under Ingrid’s manipulative malevolent spell and kills herself. She gravitates towards these apparently normal women who make her over and dress her the way they want and begins to find herself even as her mother tries to control her from behind prison walls. She forms an equal relationship with fellow foster child Patrick Fugit when she has to go to an institution but has enough of normal when the time comes for another home and opts for a Russian hustler (Svetlana Eframova) who teaches her street smarts and trades her silky blonde locks for gutter Goth. Lohman is a fine actress who subtly inhabits the more obvious external changes and Pfeiffer is extraordinary as the dragon mom. Kosminsky directs this potentially sentimental material assuredly. There are several changes to the novel but the important tonal and relational shifts are maintained in the spirit of the writer. It really makes you wish you could see more of everyone concerned. A very fine piece of work about art, survival and the truly imprisoning nature of mother-daughter relationships. A real treat.