The Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque is opening several great movies this weekend. Here are our reviews of some of them.
Aliens (U.S., 1986) The hit sequel to Alien is bigger, faster and more amped up than the moody, cramped original. If it errs, it does so when director James Cameron insists on squeezing out every last cliffhanger and goes over the line with the manipulation, putting a screaming little orphan girl in hideous peril every time the opportunity arises and conniving to make sure that opportunity always does. At a time when gun-fetish actioners set the pace for the 1980s, Aliens won fans on both sides of the aisle, from the action freaks to the horror/sci-fi geeks who read profound feminist meaning into Sigourney Weaver as a butt-kicking female action heroine (back before that become tiresome). At 9:35 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19. *** (Cassady)
Suspiria (Italy, 1977) Dario Argento’s stylish shocker takes place in a storm-tossed dance academy in the wilds of Europe. The great atmosphere is set by the febrile cinematography and a chime-heavy soundtrack, as an young American exchange student (Jessica Harper) arrives at the sinister school only to find the place steeped in sadistic murders. It turns out the institution was allegedly founded in the 1880s by the “Black Mother,” a dreaded Greek witch. Argento creates a tangible atmosphere of unseen malice and lurking wickedness, even when the plot’s logic is loose at best. The filmmaker later built on the mythology by making this part one of a trilogy on three ancient and monstrous witches, continuing with Inferno and Mother of Tears; this one is probably the best of the lot. At 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20. *** (Cassady)
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