Tag Archives: Kenneth Cranham

Bed of Roses (1996, Michael Goldenberg)

A couple immediate thoughts occurred to me as Bed of Roses started. First, is it a good idea to be watching Bed of Roses? (Spoiler: no, it’s not). Second, what’s going on with Mary Stuart Masterson’s performance? It’s not a movie saving performance because it’s a terrible part. Only director Goldenberg (who also wrote the film) really wants to make it seem to be a good part. Bed of Roses is a lower, but still reasonably budgeted nineties version of a New York soap opera. Masterson’s the professional woman who just doesn’t have it all, even though it seems like she does. She meets a guy–Christian Slater–who is stalking her and grooming her but it turns out his really okay and wonderful and is just what she needs to get over a childhood of exceptionally bad abuse.

Except Bed of Roses doesn’t talk about the abuse. Masterson’s got this character who is never allowed to develop. It’s mortifying, but that weird thing about Masterson’s performance is she’s great. She is great at making this character, who gets treated terribly by the script and has absolutely no depth beyond being a victim and then awkward holding a baby, she does great. She doesn’t make the character work, she doesn’t make the film work. But she delivers this tragic, terribly written role. She’s acting opposite Christian Slater, after all, and he doesn’t bring anything to the film. He actually seems to enjoy the parts where he’s being manipulative more than the parts where he’s courting.

So, no, I shouldn’t have watched Bed of Roses, but I’m still stunned by how good it is at what it does. Goldenberg does a fine job directing. Sure, he’s stuck with Slater, but he takes full advantage of the more capable actors–Josh Brolin, Ally Walker, Brian Tarantina. It feels serious. Adam Kimmel’s gorgeous photography, Michael Convertino’s score, Jane Kurson’s editing. Bed of Roses can’t be better at what it does. It’s beautifully executed. It’s just manipulative and condescending.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Written and directed by Michael Goldenberg; director of photography, Adam Kimmel; edited by Jane Kurson; music by Michael Convertino; production designer, Stephen McCabe; produced by Allan Mindel and Denise Shaw; released by New Line Cinema.

Starring Mary Stuart Masterson (Lisa), Christian Slater (Lewis), Pamela Adlon (Kim), Josh Brolin (Danny), Ally Walker (Wendy), Kenneth Cranham (Simon) and Brian Tarantina (Randy).


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Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988, Tony Randel)

So, Hellbound is a British production, but it dubs over the British cops (who are dressed like American cops and carry guns and don’t know how to use them–because they’re British?) with American accents. It’s a lame decision and one of the few gaffs in the film not related to the story itself.

Even with Christopher Young’s really overbearing score, the film’s at least somewhat successful, if only because half of it plays a little like Tron in hell. It also features a decently plotted story this time, with plot progression and so on.

Unfortunately, it makes absolutely no sense in the context of the first film (and not just because it starts immediately following the first film, which ended with a house burning down, with the house still intact). It’s also never clear what happens to the Hellraiser box from the first movie.

Anyway….

The really confusing elements come about halfway through, when resurrected (and strangely top-billed) Clare Higgins has superpowers. Then she reveals she’s on a mission from hell to recruit souls but she does a really bad job of it, only getting one and she can’t even bring him to hell, she needs mute Imogen Boorman to do it. Kind of.

Boorman’s character arc is an example of the best thing about Hellbound. It’s implied evil doctor Kenneth Cranham (who apparently is a supervillain out to take over hell) kills Boorman’s mother just so he can perform brain surgery on her, but never made clear.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Tony Randel; screenplay by Peter Atkins, based on a story by Clive Barker; director of photography, Robin Vidgeon; edited by Richard Marden; music by Christopher Young; production designer, Michael Buchanan; produced by Christopher Figg; released by New World Pictures.

Starring Clare Higgins (Julia Cotton), Ashley Laurence (Kirsty Cotton), Kenneth Cranham (Dr. Philip Channard), Imogen Boorman (Tiffany), Sean Chapman (Frank Cotton), William Hope (Kyle MacRae), Doug Bradley (Lead Cenobite), Barbie Wilde (Female Cenobite), Simon Bamford (Butterball Cenobite), Nicholas Vince (Chatterer Cenobite), Oliver Smith (Browning) and Angus MacInnes (Detective Ronson).


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