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05 September 2017

Who's your 'Mother!'

Jennifer Lawrence as the title character in "Mother!" (Courtesy: geektyrant.com)

Generally speaking, horror-thrillers come and go these days without much interest from this aisle seat.

Until now.

Mother!, written and directed by Oscar-nominated Darren Aronofsky, is the exception.  Simply put, Aronofsky, whose Academy Award nomination came for calling the shots and putting Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis on their toes as driven ballet dancers in  Black Swan (2010), knows how to creep us out.

He also knows how to cast a movie.  In this one, for instance, Jennifer Lawrence looks to be crowned "Scream Queen 2017" for a spirited turn out front in the title role.  Lawrence, perhaps the most gifted actress of her generation, won an Oscar  as a troubled woman who really wanted to dance in Silver Linings Playbook in 2013.  She was even better in Winter's Bone (2010), American Hustle (2013) and especially Joy (2016), for which she received Academy Award nominations.

Lawrence's Mother character is cohabiting and perhaps married to HIM.  Who, then is HIM? 

That would be Javier Bardem, the extremely gifted Spanish actor (and congenial, terrific interview, I must add) who terrified moviegoers as cold-blooded killer Anton Chigurh sporting a Three Stooges haircut in the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men (starring Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin) in 2007.  Bardem took home a well-deserved Oscar for his work in that one.

Throw in a strong supporting cast that includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris and Kristen Wiig and the stage is set for Mother! to either be a huge "hairs standing up on the back of your neck" thriller payoff, or a big letdown.

Aronofsky has given this critic both over the years.  Here's a quick scorecard:

Pi (1998) -- Gripping and a constant fascination

Requiem for a Dream (2000) -- An interesting and sometimes special druggy drama

The Fountain (2006) -- Saw it at the Toronto Film Festival and was bored, bored, bored

The Wrestler (2008) -- An amazing bounce-back wrestler-bio drama with grit

Black Swan (2010) -- Mesmerizing ballet drama

Noah (2014) -- Wasn't interested enough in Russell Crowe as the biblical character to see it; I read the book.

I don't know much about the plot of Mother! and that's the way I prefer to see a movie like Aronofsky's latest effort.  The trailer appears to be leaning at least a little bit in the Rosemary's Baby direction.  But who knows?

I just know I want to turn it loose on my psyche and see what happens.  And I know what it's not.  That would be the very funny 1996 mom-son comedy Mother that paired Albert Brooks and the late Debbie Reynolds.

If you're interested, this Mother! hits movie screens Sept. 15.



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