by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
When the original Swedish version of Let Me In was released (then known as Let the Right One In), I was inundated with constant accolades that built up my expectations way too high. They were so high, in fact, that when I finally got around to watching it, not only was I sorely disappointed, but I was left so creeped out by the subject matter that it made me question other critics' sexual proclivities. You see, Let the Right One In has got a real pedophile wish-fulfillment vibe to it that's more unsettling than the graphic vampire gore. The Americanized remake Let Me In makes things a bit more accessible, but not by much. It looks good, and is suitably moody, but the idea of a perpetually androgynous 12-year-old who lives in a master-servant relationship with older men is still too much of an obvious idea that, once you get past the vampire nonsense, is ultimately disturbing and far too NAMBLA-esque to enjoy.
Class. That's the best way to describe these two classic movies, given the deluxe collector's edition treatment by 20th Century Fox. If only all the greats could get this treatment! All About Eve stars Bette Davis as an aging actress who finds herself being usurped by a young upstart who exudes all the nightmarish qualities of an ambitious stalker. The stalker disrupts the jet-setting lives of all those around her on her rise to the top, with slickly comic dialogue and direction by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The second feature, An Affair to Remember, isn't a good film per se — it's the template for a million rom-coms — but actor Cary Grant is so cool and suave and manly that it's hard to not enjoy yourself. Grant and Deborah Kerr meet on a cruise ship and fall in love, even though they are engaged to other people. In classic ’50s fashion, it chastely tiptoes around the whole “cheating” issue with a genuine attempt at creating a grand love-story.
Digging deep into the vaults, MGM's new DVD-on-demand service has found another lost classic, the 1974 qestern The Spikes Gang. Lee Marvin, a goddamn man's man if there ever was one, is a hardened outlaw left for dead and found by three bored, impressionable farm boys, including a teenage Ron Howard. The kids soon leave the farm to aid and abet the bank robber, but the stars in their eyes soon turn to Xs as they not only find out life on the lam ain't all it's cracked up to be. In a time when nihilistic westerns like The Wild Bunch were all the rage, The Spikes Gang works because director Richard Fleischer brutally obsesses over death in not only the literal sense, but the metaphorical death of childhood innocence, in the gravest detail possible. It's a coming-of-age movie where no one will ever have the chance to get old.