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Posts Tagged ‘twins’

Kristin Archibald, Lucas Neff, Doug Archibals

“I LOVE YOU BOTH” My rating: C+

90 minutes | No MPAA rating

It sounds pretty kinky,  like it should be playing at a gay film festival:  A brother and sister — twins, no less — both find themselves falling romantically for a charming hipster.

Except that the comedy “I Love You Both” isn’t actually about sex or romance.

No, this home-grown effort by real-life twins Doug and Kristin Archibald — they co-wrote the script, play siblings onscreen, and Doug directed (plus, they cast their own mother as their characters’ mom) — is about something trickier, something that maybe only twins would truly understand.

As they approach their 28th birthdays, Krystal and Donny are crazily co-dependent. They still live together in a tiny apartment. They share a dog. Both are a bit antisocial — or at least socially inept. Small wonder that they’ve always been each other’s best friend.

Oh, they make a stab at a life outside their little insular world. Krystal works for a software company and recently broke up with a co-worker.  Donny is a keyboardist dreaming of a concert career and marking time by teaching piano to tone-deaf kids.

But basically neither can imagine a life independent of the other.

Enter Andy (Lucas Neff), a laid-back, genuinely nice elementary school teacher who has a history with both men and women.

Initially Krystal and Donny accept Andy’s friendship at face value…except that both are nurturing  a flame for their new bud.

Eventually that tension will force them to begin carving out individual lives.

The film’s oddball sense of humor — filled with eye rolling at the relationship minefield — sometimes pushes too hard. But Kristin Archibald, making her acting debut, proves adept at selling an infectious blend of dweeb sexiness and sardonic glumness.  She might have an acting career ahead of her.

Brother Doug is less photogenic and not quite so compelling a screen presence, but his behind-the-scenes work is top notch.

| Robert W. Butler

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Elias and Lukas Schwarz

Elias and Lukas Schwarz

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY” My rating: B-

99 minutes | MPAA rating: R

In horror movies, twins mean trouble.

There’s something about the intimate relations between these womb sharers that freaks out the folk who make and attend horror films, something creepy and secret that the rest of us can barely perceive and certainly cannot understand.

In Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s “Goodnight Mommy” (the women co-wrote and co-directed) little Lukas and Elias (Lukas and Elias Schwarz) are first seen playing in a field of towering corn. Then they move on to a mystical looking woods. They make crude creepy masks out of cardboard, paint and assorted objects.

The boys seem fairly normal — they wrestle, taunt each other, exchange slaps. And then Mom comes home.

Mother (Susanne Wuest) is first seen in a prologue. Apparently she’s an actress, for we see her in a film clip playing a mother surrounded by a large brood of children in traditional German dress (the Von Trapps, maybe?). She sings to them as the scene ends.

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Susanne Wuest

Now, however, she appears at the family’s country home with her head wrapped in bandages, looking disturbingly like the skull-headed Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”  Apparently she’s had some plastic surgery (or maybe she had a medical issue…it’s not very clear), but the boys are clearly freaked and a bit dubious about this wraithlike presence who demands total silence.

In fact, little Lukas suggests that this isn’t their mother at all, but some replacement.

Dad is a no-show — the marriage is on the rocks — and the boys seek assistant and comfort from a local priest. But who’s going to believe their paranoid fantasy?

With no help forthcoming from the adult world, the grim little guys take things into their own hands, and this is where the film becomes astonishingly disturbing and violent.

What is it about German filmmakers? “Goodnight Mother” seems inspired by  Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games,” in which a pair of creeps imprison and torment a suburban family vacationing at their lake home. That the nastiness here is being dished out by two angelic-looking but demonically unforgiving little boys makes things even more unsettling.

“Goodnight Mother” pulls a switcheroo by first having us side with Elias and Lukas and then, as things turn ugly, shifting our sympathies to Mother. Ultimately the film delivers a “Sixth Sense-ish” twist that explains all, but not before establishing a nerve-gnawing atmosphere of quiet desperation and paranoia.

| Robert W. Butler

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The-Notebook-Hungary“THE NOTEBOOK”  My rating: B (Opening Oct. 10 at the Glenwood at Red Bridge)

112 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The varied parts of “The Notebook” don’t add up, but even taken individually some of those parts are amazing.

This Hungarian release from director Janos Szasz (it has absolutely nothing in common with the 2004 Ryan Gosling/Rachel McAdams weeper based on the Nicholas Sparks novel) falls into the children-warped-by-war genre. It is cousin to classics like the French “Forbidden Games” (1952) and the Soviet “Come and See” (1985).

The twist here is that instead of a single young protagonist through whom we experience war’s devastating effects, we are given a pair of identical twins, two young Hungarian boys who in the waning days of World War II are sent to live in the relative safety of the countryside.

In the opening moments we meet the unnamed youngsters (played by twins Laszlo Gyemant and Andras Gyemant) in their parents’ plush Budapest apartment.  Mother (Gyongyver Bognar) is beautiful and sophisticated and dotes terribly on her two little angels.  The father (Ulrich Matthes) is an officer whose access to military intelligence has convinced him that the Nazis with whom he has been collaborating for several years are on their way to defeat. When that happens he’ll be a marked man, as will his children.

Before sending his sons away, Father instructs them to keep a notebook of everything they encounter so that, when the family is finally reunited, he can see how they have educated themselves.

Mother takes the boys on a train ride to the sticks, where she deposits them at the farmhouse door of her mother (Piroska Molnar), a fat, bellicose, thoroughly unlikeable woman so antisocial she’s rumored to be a witch. We see no sign of occult activitiy, but just in her everyday life Grandmother is hell on wheels. She’s bitter have not having seen her daughter for years and contemptuously refers to the twins as “the bastards.”  She’s prepared to make them earn their keep by toiling around the farm. She parcels out food like it was gold. At night in the privacy of her room she obsesses over her small collection of jewelry and other valuables.

(more…)

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