Director David Lynch is infamous for his evocative dream-like films that seduce the senses and guide you through mysterious and often dangerous worlds.

With Mulholland Drive he has outdone himself with a nightmarish, noirish tour through the darker side of the Hollywood dream factory and the story of a little girl lost in LA that is one of the sexiest films in recent memory.

Mulholland Drive is a strange and sordid tale of an innocent seduced by forces she (and indeed the viewer) can barely understand. Australian actress Naomi Watts is remarkable in the role of the naive would-be actress. She shows an incredible range in a multi-layered film that allows her to play dual roles, even roles within roles when you see her change into character before your eyes. The life of her character becomes increasingly more peculiar when a sultry brunette (played impeccably by Laura Hanning) appears naked and unannounced in her apartment.

This is only the beginning of the bizarre events that lead them through a typically Twin Peaks style world of smoky cabarets, billowing red curtains and suspicious strangers. The key to enjoying Mulholland Drive as with most of David Lynch’s work is not to try and interpret the story but to allow yourself to be swept along by the experience. Indeed in the final third the film bends back upon itself and refutes much of what has gone before.

Part of this strange open-endedness comes from the fact that this film has a history as odd as the movie itself. It was originally intended to be the pilot for a new TV series but execs were nervous about its heightened sexuality and its graphic violence (indeed the opening scenes of a car crash are especially shocking).

They turned the pilot down and Lynch went away and added additional scenes and the results proved sensational, especially among critics who religiously included the film in their top ten lists last year. It went on to win Best Director from both the Boston and Los Angeles Film Critics and Best Picture from the New York Critics as well as reaping the coveted Best Director award at Cannes. Not bad for a film consigned to the dust heap.Available from www.totaldvd.com.au for only $35.95, click here.


Thanks to Roadshow Entertainment, She Said and Total DVD have three copies of Mulholland Drive to give away. If you want your chance to own the most star-studded, sexiest and spookiest thriller in years, click click here.

Harold and Maude

It would probably be safe to say that there has probably never been another film like Harold and Maude.

Certainly it is similar in style and tone to many other films of the late ’60s/early ’70s. It has the same incongruous blend of whimsy and black comedy. It has similar themes of alienation and anti-establishment sentiment and a quirky line in morality. It also has the ubiquitous folky soundtrack, provided by none other than Cat Stevens before he became Yusef Islam. In fact if you want to see modern homages to this curious kind of romantic comedy, refer to the films of Wes Anderson including Rushmore and the more recent The Royal Tenembaums.

But no-one has dared go anywhere near the emotional terrain and indeed the challenging sexuality of the film. This is because it is about the relationship between a young man and an old woman. We have seen countless wet dreams about young girls and older men and are made to feel this is acceptable if not desirable. But for some reason, the reverse is seen as stomach churning and sickening in the extreme.

Harold, played in a definitive career moment by Harold Budd, is an odd young man given to staging suicide attempts that cause endless indifference from his upper class family. Maude is an eccentric old woman who despite her age is perfectly in keeping with the hippy ethos of the time. This iconic role was taken on by an equally iconic actress, the remarkable Ruth Gordon. Apart from having acted in dozens of films in a career that began in 1915 and ended over 70 years later, Gordon was also a celebrated writer, penning the classic Hepburn/Tracy vehicle Adam’s Rib. Through her joy and incandescence, Harold sees himself in a new light and learns to love life and indeed learns to love Maude.

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The Year of Living Dangerously

Here is an odd thing. A film of considerable political integrity that is also one of the sexiest thrillers ever made.

Much of the sizzle comes from the onscreen chemistry between Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver. On their own each actor is a force of nature. Together they make are volcanic.

The setting for this film is rather rare as well. It traces the last moments of the Indonesian dictator Sukarno who was deposed in the 1965 revolution. This may be the only mainstream international film set in the region and it has been applauded for its authenticity and courage, thanks to astute direction from Australian Peter Weir.

In Living Dangerously, Guy Hamilton is a journalist on his first job as a foreign correspondent. The dull assignment soon hots up and Guy finds himself the best reporter on the job with the help of his photographer, half-Chinese dwarf Billy Kwan and his relationship with diplomat Jill Bryant. These relationships become a metaphor for the entangled political struggle itself that erupts into a shattering, unforgettable conclusion.

The truly standout performance is from the diminutive Linda Hunt who plays an Asian man, even though she is in fact a Caucasian woman. The transformation is spell-binding and never short of being utterly convincing. Far more than being an extraordinary act of illusion, it is a committed performance in an impassioned role that won her a much deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Available from www.totaldvd.com.au for only $35.95, click here.