Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Joe Dante - Matinee (1993)



from Senses of Cinema
by Martyn Bamber

Matinee is obviously a labour of love for the director, a film that contains a wealth of details for movie lovers. Dante shows off his love of old films (particularly those of 1950s movie maker William Castle) and the ritual of going to the movies, whilst poking gentle fun at Castle-like film maestro Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman). Dante shows us that although Woolsey is a huckster, he clearly loves the movies he makes. Any self-confessed movie fan—particularly a science fiction or horror fan—cannot fail to raise a smile in recognition as the kids sit in a cinema, captivated by the film's film-within-a-film Mant. Along with a strong cast of kids and Dante regulars, special mention must go to Cathy Moriarty, who almost steals the show as Ruth Corday, Woolsey's cynical, world-weary girlfriend/actress, her lines either drawling out the side of her mouth or emitted through gritted teeth. In contrast to Woolsey's allegedly corrupt and horrific films, Matinee hints at the real danger from the imminent Cuban missile crisis—naturally, as seen on TV! Once again, what is on the screen affects reality, particularly when Woolsey fakes a nuclear explosion to clear patrons from the cinema before the auditorium collapses. Matinee evokes the magic of the movies, whilst acknowledging the horrors of the real world lurk around every corner.


no pass