Monday, November 12, 2007

Cold Cases

Paperhouse (1988)
directed by Bernard Rose
rating: 3 out of 5 cravats
on VHS from Black Lodge Video

Paperhouse had a two year jump on Twin Peaks, so the big question is, when did David Lynch watch this chronicle of dreams as subversion of the brick-and-mortar manifestation of a child's imagination - a drawing in school, say - that allows the real world to recoup the darker drifts of sleep? No answers are offered (what about you, Rick Linklater?), but the fragile exchange between waking life and the subconscious is given rare room for a cruel leisure. Without condescending, it's the stuff a child might imagine, and does.

The Dead (1987)
directed by John Huston
rating: 2 out of 5 cravats
on VHS from Black Lodge Video

In service of the sentimentality (I do not mean it unkindly) of people gathered together at a time of year when we are predisposed to generosity and sympathy - the ghosts in a room we have long known, or the needlepoints framed on a wall - Huston simply jogged my memories. Certainly he does nothing here that Masterpiece Theater can't cop. I mean that not unkindly, either, but it is a criticism. At least Huston refrains from flashbacks - an easy crutch with internal narratives - and allows Gretta's confession to play out plainly. But it is more a Christmas story than an adaptation, and less good than your favorite Christmas Carol (mine's Patton's).