Thursday, February 02, 2006

A boy's best friend is his mother.

I watched Psycho on Monday in film studies class. I'd seen it before, of course, but a couple years back. I've read about it (here's where I plug Ebert's fantastic The Great Movies and The Great Movies II). It was neat to see it through fresh eyes. I found it much more suspenseful than the first time - I swear I thought I was going to stop breathing when you see the door open behind Marion. And I completely love Anthony Perkins in that role. Poor boy, to be struck with Mark-Hamill-itis at such a young age.

So that's why I was so apprehensive of seeing Gus Van Sant's Psycho. After all, why remake a masterpiece? My film study group's TA was telling us to think about it like pop art. Think of Warhol and his Marilyns and Elvises. Seeing it through that filter makes it way more interesting. I rented it today and just finished watching it. It's intriguing. I'd recommend it. Watching the bonus features, Van Sant was talking about how studios would want to do remakes, so he wanted to actually remake it. Doesn't it make sense like that? And Psycho really is ideal, then - how many "remakes" of Hamlet and Othello are there?

The cast is decent. I'm not sure how famous most of these people were in 1998 though - Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn and Viggo Mortenson in particular. Anne Heche and William H. Macy are both perfect. I was expecting Vince Vaughn to be absolutely terrible, I must admit, mostly because of the physicality of the role. Anthony Perkins is such a teenage, slight, boy next door in the original, and Vince Vaughn (not Vincent D'Onofrio, I always mix them up!) is just a big guy. But he's really good, about as good as you can expect considering what he has to live up to. I think it offsets the tension between Sam and Norman though, because in the original Sam and Norman sort of face off and Viggo, darling though he may be, is so timid in this movie. Julianne Moore as Lila is obviously a more feminist conception - fer gourd's sake, do you know how they take down Norman/Mother? She kicks him in the face. Sadly, not a roundhouse kick.

I'd like to know more about the whole insertion of shots into the murder scenes - Arbogath's was particularly freaky. But it's very interesting. I like it.

By the way, the other movies I got at the video store today? Heavenly Creatures and Roman Holiday. I wonder what their opinion of me must be. ;)


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