|Index||8 reviews in total|
Meet Robert. An amazingly complex and lonely man, he's married to Hallie
who, really, he can't stand. She controls him, and if he doesn't like it,
she does it anyway.
Meet Zack. He's friend of a friend, who, along with his girlfriend Sophie, come over to Robert's to house-sit while Robert and Hallie go on vacation.
Here's the setup, and the payoff is one of the creepiest, darkest movies I've ever seen. As far as disturbing, Dancer in the Dark is nothing compared to this. As far as creepiness, Misery's got nothing on this one.
Benjamin Franklin once said, `House guests are like fish. After three days, they begin to spoil.' You'll see why in this plunge into darkness. Something's just not right the entire 92 minutes, and there's nothing you can do to change it. You can only watch as someone gets run over time and again, and the revenge is so raw, so amazing, you wonder exactly what can stop it. You wonder, can it be stopped? Some things are like runaway locomotives: you only hope you can lay enough track down in time for it not to derail.
Some reviews of this strange movie think of it as without payoff. And I for one think the payoff is in the effect it leaves with you. The stark sadness to the utter creepiness of the ending, it's not a surprise that this movie is like cancer: it eats away at you, and when you least expect it, you look around and see that everything's changed. You can't look at anything the same anymore. Who switched everything around? It's like those situations you find yourself in where you go, `How did this all get started?' and you find yourself without an answer.
To recommend this film I think would take an act of real nerve. It's not something you can tell your best friends who thought Mission: Impossible 2 was great about. It's not something you can even tell the friends who like off-the-wall or foreign films. You just have to experience the slow build-up of this intricate (and edge-of-your-seat) plot that makes you wonder, `Is it over? Isn't this enough? Can't you just lay off?' but when it doesn't, when it keeps barreling ahead, towards the end of the track that leads to the bottomless canyon, the train is movie, you are a reluctant passenger on it, and before you know it, the movie has brought you over the edge.
Don't let the modicum of modest praise this movie received fool you. If you simply check the outside of the box you'll see the caliber of people who enjoyed this film; trust me, it's not company that you want to keep. This film is hindered by several flaws: a lack of interesting script, poor cinematography, dreadfully underdeveloped and ultimately hateful characters, uninteresting plot, poor pacing, and a miserable score. If none of these features are important to you then Cleopatra's Second Husband might be appealing; however, if you have any respect whatsoever for the UCLA film school (where director Jon Reiss earned, somehow, his MFA), I would strongly suggest that you skip this one.
there are a lot of reasons I like this film. here are some of them...
a) its beautifully shot. maybe this just appeals to me because I'm a filmmaker but the composition of every shot is near perfect. its sexy
b) it makes fun of yuppies. Hallie freaks out when Sophie uses her bath salt. not just any bath salt but her GARDENIA bath salt.
c) the music is great. The opening shot with the fish and that French song...hot.
d) do you like sex? of course you do. do you like voyeurism and S&M? even better! Cleopatra's caters to all your subversive erotic needs.
e) in the end you're basically going "what the f***." not because you don't get it, just because its an uncomfortable resolution. maybe you like to feel good at the end of movies. too bad. this isn't a "feel good" movie.
films are supposed to seduce you and this film does. Its not for everyone. If you think Legally Blonde is the pinnacle of film-making, you probably wont like it. But if you can appreciate a movie like Mulholland Drive, then I'd say go for it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Watching this film was a delight. I felt like I too have been in a situation where my roommate wouldn't leave and I was a pushover and let it happen. My place was destroyed and in the end I had to repair a lot of the house. This is exactly what Robert goes through. He has this house sitter that just kind of stays and ruins Roberts already ruined life. But the twist in this film is that he takes his house back in a very dramatic fashion. I don't want to get into the details, you should really see the film. It is nice to see a small budget film not feel like a small budget film. I have seen a lot of the director Jon Reiss's work and I think this one might be his most personal film. It's worth renting!
jon reiss gained some notoriety when he directed nine inch nail's
controversial 'happiness is slavery' video. as a nin fan, i managed to
track down a copy of that film back in the mid 90s. it struck me, and
much of the imagery really hit a nerve. i made a note of reiss' name,
and noticed when his videos would hit mtv. he always had an eye for
powerful, visceral imagery.
when i saw his name on this film, i eagerly checked it out. reiss brings that same eye, plus a very solid understanding of human relationships, to bear on this, his non documentary feature debut. this film really hits the mark in a lot of ways, telling an unusual, if altogether human story, about completely real and deeply developed characters. its the kind of film critics are always clamoring for, but that we rarely see. it takes a rare talent, and a brave soul, to sail these uncharted waters. thank goodness reiss had the courage to take the ride. we have one exceptional film from that experience.
keep an eye out for jon reiss. he has a unique POV, and one that many people would connect with if they make the effort to seek him out.
usually a movie that starts bad stays bad in a monotonically descending pattern. This bad movie started to seem to get better before going into a steep dive. The acting, save for the male antagonist, was awful. The plot was essentially a set up for the final main scene, which is probably good as performance art, but it was wasted in this movie. Not sure why this movie was made.
I recently saw this movie and I actually watched it because I've always liked Boyd Kestner. I was terribly disappointed. The movie is just one of the worst I've ever seen. I think this is the script Boyd should have buried under the coffee grounds in the garbage and left it there. It is just strange and bizarre.
"Cleo's Second Husband" is an amateurish attempt at psychodrama with more to fault than to praise. The plot is hacked, the story monotonous, the acting poor, the execution second rate, etc. Not worth the time unless maybe your a relative of one of the actors. PU! (D)
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