In a bizarre cameo with no lines, Robert Duvall shows up as a priest playing on a swing surrounded by kids. Because, you know, there’s nothing creepy about that at all.
Effectively creepy alien invasion movie has a palpable sense of claustrophobia and hopelessness. Keeping our perspective so localised – forcing us to fearfully imagine what might be going on outside of San Francisco – adds to the tension nicely. Denny Zeitlin’s unusual score also works well. Donald Sutherland and a young Jeff Goldblum are solid, as is Brooke Adams, who I’ve previously only seen in Days of Heaven. For a movie about an invasion, there’s precious little violence. The ending is satisfying and memorable. Caveat: I haven’t seen the 1956 version; I watched this version first, having heard it was superior.
Director: Bruce Beresford
Mostly charmless Australian movie (based on a novel I hadn’t heard of) about a country girl’s experiences at an exclusive Melbourne boarding school in the 1890s. It’s fairly by-the-numbers and is a bit of a slog to get through. The main problem is that it’s boring, a consequence of bland subject matter, too-familiar themes, and static direction by Bruce Beresford. Look for young incarnations of Kerry Armstrong, Sigrid Thornton and Noni Hazlehurst.
Look, don’t get me wrong, there are some funny bits, and I guess it’s worth a watch to see what these sorts of movies looked like 35 years ago, but really, most of it doesn’t hold up comedically. Interesting to see a young Tim Matheson (he grew up to become VP on The West Wing). And now I know where my dad got his ‘human pimple’ gag from.