Review: ‘The Hunger’

The Hunger (Sun.(20), 9-11 p.m., Showtime) Filmed in Montreal and London by Scott Free Prods., Telescene Film Group Prods. and the Movie Network, Canada. Executive producers, Tony Scott, Ridley Scott, Jeff Fazio, Robin Spry, Paul Painter, Bruce Moccia; producer, Chris Burt; creator, Fazio. THE SWORDS Producer , Wendy Green (Montreal); director, Tony Scott; writer, Howard A. Rodman; based on a story by Robert Aickman; camera, John Mathieson; supervising editor, Pamela Power; editor, Kathy O'Shea; music, Nick Amour, Andy Carroll, the Tiger Lillies, Michelle Curran at Amber; production designer, Lucy Richardson; casting, Louis Di Giaimo (U.K.), Vanessa Peirera. Cast: Balthazar Getty, Amanda Ryan, Tim Spall , Jamie Foreman, Joe Duttine, Billy White, Steven Sweeney. MENAGE A TROIS Director, Jake Scott; writers, Jordan Katz, Vy Vincent Ngo; based on a story by F. Paul Wilson; camera, John Mathieson; supervising editor, Pamela Power; production designer, Tom Foden; music, Nick Amour, Andy Carroll, John Waddell, Will Parnell, Michele Curran at Amber; casting, Louis Di Giaimo, Jina Jay. Cast: Karen Black, Lena Headey, Daniel Craig, Jason Flemyng. NECROS Producer, Wendy Grean (Montreal); director, Russell Mulcahy; writers, Steven and Audrey Salzburg; based on a story by Brian Lumley; camera, Francois Protat; supervising editor, Pamela Power; editor, Patrick Moore; art director, Isabelle Guay; sound, Brian Simmons, Peter Stoddard; music, Mike Hewer, Michelle Curran at Amber; casting, Louis Di Giaimo, Elite Casting (Montreal). Cast: Philip Casnoff, Celine Bonnier, Leonardo Cimino, Tony De Santis, Marcello Pansera, Sacha Cantor, Lidia Russo, Melissa Pirierra, David McKeown, Marc Desourdy, Anne-Marie Brown, Richard Jutras, Gregory Calpakis, Tony Calabretta. Host: Terence Stamp. Showtime launches its new "The Hunger" series of half-hour films involved with the bizarre, eroticism, the macabre, the arty and the obvious with a trio of dramas well-enough produced (first two are ably directed) and off-kilter enough to edge into the pretentious. Set for weekly airings, series' theme deals with "insatiable desires" turning into nightmares, as the hype has it. An abundance of femme nudity and coarse lingo can't distract from the superficiality of the project. "The Swords," adapted by Howard A. Rodman from a story by Robert Aickman, concerns wealthy young James Chandler (Balthazar Getty), an American in London working for his family's cosmetics firm, finding a chilling act in a night club: Loudmouth emcee Dean (Jamie Foreman), after thrusting a sword into the abdomen of his lovely partner Musidora (fascinating Amanda Ryan), pulls it out without injuring her. He invites audience participation, but James runs off. Contacted at a bar by the couple, James learns that Dean's pimping for the silent Musidora, and James buys into it. The moving adventure deals with a spell , with a kiss and tears, and with the inevitable outcome for a young man who can't commit himself. Ryan's mesmerizing, but Getty's unable to do much with his part. Joe Duttine and Billy White as a lively part of the offbeat London night crowd support the tale's off-center storyline, and Tony Scott's direction sustains a solid eeriness. But once Ryan's offscreen, there's not far to go --- only into Chandler's mild verbal regrets, which aren't worth much. "Menage a Trois," by Jordan Katz and Vy Vincent Ngo from a story by F. Paul Wilson, focuses on new nurse Steph (Lena Headey) being absorbed into a morbid household headed by wheelchair-bound, dying Miss Gati (Karen Black) and resident houseman Jerry (Daniel Craig). Past residents have fallen away, and Steph begins having a grimy affair with Jerry while Miss Gati lies upstairs listening in on her sound system. Hardly subtly, Steph begins taking on Gati's character, but the metamorphosis isn't much of a surprise. There's a difference between growing moodiness and calcification; Black's been handed a stereotype that she surmounts , but does roll her eyes up into her head to signify getting out of it all. Headey and Craig don't work up much competition with their obvious roles. "Necros," directed on the thin surface by Russell Mulcahy, founders with its old-hat concept of exotic Helma (not-so-exotic Celine Bonnier) attracting innocent William (Philip Casnoff) to satisfy the demands of her ancient master Nero (Leonardo Cimino). After a minor street carnival that's supposed to set the macabre tone, the dame flirts with the hero, who disregards a warning by a waiter that her old companion Nero is "a dead thing that feeds on the living," that she's bait for his macabre desire, and that the old gent's rumored to be responsible for the disappearance of several locals. William beds down Helma in a seg sidling into porno levels. Terence Stamp hosts the series with outre segs directed by Tony Scott, written by Howard A. Rodman. They rightfully set the series' tone: heavy-handed and obscure, and sure to attract teenagers who'll think it's deep. It is: ankle deep.

The Hunger (Sun.(20), 9-11 p.m., Showtime) Filmed in Montreal and London by Scott Free Prods., Telescene Film Group Prods. and the Movie Network, Canada. Executive producers, Tony Scott, Ridley Scott, Jeff Fazio, Robin Spry, Paul Painter, Bruce Moccia; producer, Chris Burt; creator, Fazio. THE SWORDS Producer , Wendy Green (Montreal); director, Tony Scott; writer, Howard A. Rodman; based on a story by Robert Aickman; camera, John Mathieson; supervising editor, Pamela Power; editor, Kathy O’Shea; music, Nick Amour, Andy Carroll, the Tiger Lillies, Michelle Curran at Amber; production designer, Lucy Richardson; casting, Louis Di Giaimo (U.K.), Vanessa Peirera. Cast: Balthazar Getty, Amanda Ryan, Tim Spall , Jamie Foreman, Joe Duttine, Billy White, Steven Sweeney. MENAGE A TROIS Director, Jake Scott; writers, Jordan Katz, Vy Vincent Ngo; based on a story by F. Paul Wilson; camera, John Mathieson; supervising editor, Pamela Power; production designer, Tom Foden; music, Nick Amour, Andy Carroll, John Waddell, Will Parnell, Michele Curran at Amber; casting, Louis Di Giaimo, Jina Jay. Cast: Karen Black, Lena Headey, Daniel Craig, Jason Flemyng. NECROS Producer, Wendy Grean (Montreal); director, Russell Mulcahy; writers, Steven and Audrey Salzburg; based on a story by Brian Lumley; camera, Francois Protat; supervising editor, Pamela Power; editor, Patrick Moore; art director, Isabelle Guay; sound, Brian Simmons, Peter Stoddard; music, Mike Hewer, Michelle Curran at Amber; casting, Louis Di Giaimo, Elite Casting (Montreal). Cast: Philip Casnoff, Celine Bonnier, Leonardo Cimino, Tony De Santis, Marcello Pansera, Sacha Cantor, Lidia Russo, Melissa Pirierra, David McKeown, Marc Desourdy, Anne-Marie Brown, Richard Jutras, Gregory Calpakis, Tony Calabretta. Host: Terence Stamp. Showtime launches its new “The Hunger” series of half-hour films involved with the bizarre, eroticism, the macabre, the arty and the obvious with a trio of dramas well-enough produced (first two are ably directed) and off-kilter enough to edge into the pretentious. Set for weekly airings, series’ theme deals with “insatiable desires” turning into nightmares, as the hype has it. An abundance of femme nudity and coarse lingo can’t distract from the superficiality of the project. “The Swords,” adapted by Howard A. Rodman from a story by Robert Aickman, concerns wealthy young James Chandler (Balthazar Getty), an American in London working for his family’s cosmetics firm, finding a chilling act in a night club: Loudmouth emcee Dean (Jamie Foreman), after thrusting a sword into the abdomen of his lovely partner Musidora (fascinating Amanda Ryan), pulls it out without injuring her. He invites audience participation, but James runs off. Contacted at a bar by the couple, James learns that Dean’s pimping for the silent Musidora, and James buys into it. The moving adventure deals with a spell , with a kiss and tears, and with the inevitable outcome for a young man who can’t commit himself. Ryan’s mesmerizing, but Getty’s unable to do much with his part. Joe Duttine and Billy White as a lively part of the offbeat London night crowd support the tale’s off-center storyline, and Tony Scott’s direction sustains a solid eeriness. But once Ryan’s offscreen, there’s not far to go — only into Chandler’s mild verbal regrets, which aren’t worth much. “Menage a Trois,” by Jordan Katz and Vy Vincent Ngo from a story by F. Paul Wilson, focuses on new nurse Steph (Lena Headey) being absorbed into a morbid household headed by wheelchair-bound, dying Miss Gati (Karen Black) and resident houseman Jerry (Daniel Craig). Past residents have fallen away, and Steph begins having a grimy affair with Jerry while Miss Gati lies upstairs listening in on her sound system. Hardly subtly, Steph begins taking on Gati’s character, but the metamorphosis isn’t much of a surprise. There’s a difference between growing moodiness and calcification; Black’s been handed a stereotype that she surmounts , but does roll her eyes up into her head to signify getting out of it all. Headey and Craig don’t work up much competition with their obvious roles. “Necros,” directed on the thin surface by Russell Mulcahy, founders with its old-hat concept of exotic Helma (not-so-exotic Celine Bonnier) attracting innocent William (Philip Casnoff) to satisfy the demands of her ancient master Nero (Leonardo Cimino). After a minor street carnival that’s supposed to set the macabre tone, the dame flirts with the hero, who disregards a warning by a waiter that her old companion Nero is “a dead thing that feeds on the living,” that she’s bait for his macabre desire, and that the old gent’s rumored to be responsible for the disappearance of several locals. William beds down Helma in a seg sidling into porno levels. Terence Stamp hosts the series with outre segs directed by Tony Scott, written by Howard A. Rodman. They rightfully set the series’ tone: heavy-handed and obscure, and sure to attract teenagers who’ll think it’s deep. It is: ankle deep.

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