Film Clips: Oct. 11, 2021


Casanova, Last Love (Cohen Media/Kino Lorber Blu-ray)

Casanova is an old man writing his memoirs in the opening scene. Most of Casanova, Last Love (2019) is a flashback to 30 years earlier during the notorious rake’s London sojourn. Casanova was part of an international set—he knew no English but had easy entry to England’s aristocracy and the privileges it entailed. French filmmaker Benoit Jacquot directs an elaborately costumed and furnished period drama about history’s most remembered womanizer. Casanova (Vincent Lindon) claims he was friends with all the women with whom he had affairs (lasting no more than a few months each)—except perhaps for Marianne, the woman he most desired (Stacy Martin). (David Luhrssen)

Demons I and Demons II (Synapse Blu-ray Limited Edition)

It sure looks like the ‘80s—those new wave hairdos and goth allusions. Demons (1985) has an interesting set-up: the scenario of bad teen slasher flick on screen at the mysterious Metropole cinema is replicated in the theater as careless acts transform an actor/audience member into a demon—complete with long nails and claws. Italy’s giallo kingpin Dario Argento produced Demons and its sequel, Demons 2 (1986), with Lamberto Bava directing.

Arriving in time for Halloween, the films serve blood and gore by the bucket. The new limited-edition Blu-ray includes audio commentary and making-of documentaries, the Italian and U.S. versions of both movies and other extras—including the sinister “invitation card” to the opening of the Metropole that launches the mayhem. Demons and Demons 2 are 4K restorations. They never looked bloodier. (David Luhrssen)

The Last Duel (In theaters Oct. 15)

This historical drama is adapted from Eric Jager’s book. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck penned the screenplay along with Nicole Holofcener. Ridley Scott directs the depiction of a 14th century case that led to France’s last legally sanctioned duel. Even now, controversy surrounds a tale, seen here, from three perspectives. Jodie Comer appears as Marguerite, wife of heroic knight Jean de Carrouges (Damon). Marguerite accuses Carrouges’s squire (Adam Driver) of rape. The high-ranking official (a platinum-haired Affleck) ruling against her is a womanizer and the squire’s friend.

Carrouges attempts to regain his honor by demanding a duel to the death with the squire. His wish is granted, but should he be killed, his wife will be as well. Although the three perspectives linger over lesser events (length is 152 minutes), the era’s social system and politics make most of us grateful for our imperfect present. (Lisa Miller)

Needle in a Timestack (In theaters Oct. 15)

It’s the near future and Janine (Cynthia Erivo) is the girl that got away from Orlando Bloom’s character. During the ensuing decade, she and her husband Nick (Leslie Odom Jr.), have been happily married, but that could all change since time-travel can now be purchased. Bloom’s character uses it in an effort to break up the couple. Nick realizes that he too must time-travel and find an entirely different strategy to help him win. Adapted from a 1966 short story by Robert Silverberg, John Ridley directs from a script that may diverge from its source. Possible outcomes and theories about ways to win, are endless. That makes this premise fun to ponder. (Lisa Miller)

David Luhrssen

David Luhrssen lectured at UWM and the MIAD. He is author of The Vietnam War on Film, Encyclopedia of Classic Rock, and Hammer of the Gods: Thule Society and the Birth of Nazism.

Read more by David Luhrssen

Oct. 11, 2021

10:03 a.m.

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