Mike Kueber's Blog

September 29, 2012

Saturday Night at the Movies #46 – Come Undone, Showgirls, and Mr. Death

Filed under: Movie reviews — Mike Kueber @ 3:12 pm

Come Undone is a 2010 Italian romantic drama about two happily married people who meet at an office party and decide to have a fling.  Not surprisingly, the fling complicates their lives, especially when the great sex results in a strong emotional connection.  Excellent script and acting.  Rotten Tomato critics give it an 86% (only 6 out of 7); the audience gives it only 40% (only 281).  I agree with the critics and give it three and a half stars out of four.

Showgirls is a 1995 movie about young woman who arrives in Vegas seeking fame as a dancer.  Although our protagonist (Elizabeth Berkley) is erratic and irresponsible, her naiveté makes her relatively sympathetic when contrasted with all the other jaded denizens of dissolute Vegas.  The Netflix DVD jacket notes that the movie initially bombed, but later became a camp classic.  That doesn’t surprise me because, inexplicably, the movie reminded me of a camp classic from my law school days in Austin – The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  The Rotten Tomato critics scored the movie abysmally at 14% and the audience score wasn’t much better at 35%.  I agree with those revisionists who call Showgirls as a camp classic and give it three stars out of four.

Mr. Death is a 1999 Oscar-winning documentary about a guy, Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., who achieved a moderately success career in the 1980s by making technical improvements to the electric chair and other forms of execution.  This career vanished, however, when he was hired by a Holocaust denier to testify that the Auschwitz gas chambers, because of technical deficiencies, were technically incapable of being gas chambers.  His testimony riled the political establishment and subjected him to all sorts of harassment in his executioner career.   Leuchter comes across as a nerdy, unqualified iconoclast who is attracted to unpopular causes as a means to gain attention.  The Rotten Tomato critics (39 of them) give it a 100% rating and its audience scored it 84%.  Because I share Leuchter’s iconoclastic tendencies, I felt some sympathy for him and enjoyed the documentary.  I give it three stars out of four.

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