Kathryn Bigelow Movies

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 6:50 pm

While the number of Kathryn Bigelow movies wouldn’t qualify as prolific (8 films in 27 years), the content would certainly be regarded as unique and brimming with artistic merit. It’s only fitting, then, that she would become the first female to win an Academy Award for Best Director, even managing to beat out ex-husband James Cameron in the process. And while The Hurt Locker was certainly a fine film, it’s hardly the first quality motion picture she‘s made. In the following list, I’ve included every movie helmed by Bigelow to this point, although many others are sure to follow.

In addition to being a director and screenwriter, Bigelow has also taught art, modeled, and even done a bit of acting. Fans of television can see her directorial work on shows such as Karen Sisco, Homicide: Life on the Street, and Wild Palms. Truly a multi-talented woman, she’s also incredibly foxy for a woman approaching 60 years of age.

To enjoy all these Kathryn Bigelow movies, be sure to become a Netflix subscriber.

The Loveless (1982) – The list of Kathryn Bigelow movies begins with The Loveless, a film she co-directed with Monty Montgomery. A retelling of Brando’s The Wild One, it concerns a group of outlaw bikers who roll into a small town in the southern United States and cause trouble. Willem Dafoe has the starring role (his first), and rockabilly artist Robert Gordon also makes an appearance.

Near Dark (1987) – For her sophomore effort (which she also co-wrote with Eric Red), Bigelow received a nomination from the Saturn Awards for Best Direction. Melding the Western genre with vampire movies, Near Dark tells the story of a small-town Oklahoma cowboy (Adrian Pasdar) who falls for a mysterious female drifter (Jenny Wright). Bitten by the lovely lady, our hero soon finds his skin boiling with the rising of the sun, and that’s when he learns her secret: she’s a vampire. Adopted into her patchwork family of immortals (which includes Lance Henriksen as the leader and Bill Paxton as a psychotic bloodsucker), he’s given one week to show that he’s got what it takes to lead the lifestyle of the undead. Jenette Goldstein co-stars as another member of the “family,” and Tim Thomerson is the hero’s concerned father. The film failed to generate much buzz upon its initial release, but it went on to gain a respectable cult following thanks to the home video market.

Blue Steel (1989) – Once again teaming with Eric Red for the screenplay, Kathryn Bigelow helmed this action thriller about Megan Turner, a rookie cop (the lovely Jamie Lee Curtis) who runs afoul of Eugene Hunt (Ron Silver), a psychotic commodities trader, while stopping an armed robber (Tom Sizemore) at a grocery store. Hunt steals the dead man’s gun, leading the police to think that Megan shot an unarmed suspect. As she struggles to prove her innocence and keep her job, Hunt begins to stalk her and pursue a romantic relationship. Co-starring Clancy Brown, Elizabeth Pena, and the Oscar-winning Louise Fletcher.

Point Break (1991) – Of all the Kathryn Bigelow movies, this one has generated the biggest box-office totals and the most passionate cult following. Keanu Reeves stars as Johnny Utah, a former college quarterback and current FBI agent who’s investigating a series of bank robberies with his washed-up partner (Gary Busey). The men he’s trailing are known as the Ex-Presidents, because they disguise themselves with masks of Presidents Regan, Carter, Nixon, and Johnson. Following the theory that the robbers are actually surfers, Utah goes undercover and soon infiltrates the clique of a philosophical surfer named Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). But as he gets closer to discovering the identities of the Ex-Presidents, Utah finds himself drawn to the Zen-like qualities of Bodhi and the hot lovin’ of surfer gal Tyler Endicott (Lori Petty). Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers has a cameo, and the whole film is filled with enjoyable, over-the-top action.

Strange Days (1995) – Working from a screenplay co-written by ex-husband James Cameron, Bigelow turned out a cyberpunk classic that bombed at the box office but has since gained a sizable cult following. Set in a volatile Los Angeles on the eve of the new millennium, Strange Days focuses on Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes), a former police detective who now makes a living selling “SQUID” recordings. These high-tech discs allow experiences to be downloaded from the cerebral cortex of one person and then uploaded into another individual. But when Lenny begins receiving SQUID recordings of brutal murders, it touches off a chain of events that involve Lenny’s ex-girlfriend (Juliette Lewis), his hardbody bodyguard (Angela Bassett), a private investigator (Tom Sizemore), a bigshot in the music biz (Michael Wincott), and a pair of crooked cops (William Fichtner and Vincent D’Onofrio). Bassett’s performance was hailed by critics, and Bigelow would pick up a Saturn Award for her directorial efforts.

The Weight of Water (2000) – Based on the novel by Anita Shreve, The Weight of Water stars Catherine McCormack as Jean Janes, a newspaper reporter writing a piece on the axe murder of two women in 1873. As this tragic story is told through flashbacks, Jean must also deal with suspicions that her husband (Sean Penn) is cheating on her in the present. This generation-spanning thriller co-stars Elizabeth Hurley, Josh Lucas, and Sarah Polley.

K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) – Besides directing, Bigelow also added a producer’s title to her resume with this film starring Harrison Ford as the commander of the Russian fleet’s first nuclear submarine. Heading to sea for her maiden voyage, the K-19 is immediately plagued by problems, and things only get worse as time goes by. A tense, claustrophobic tale of courage and sacrifice, the film co-stars Liam Neeson, Joss Ackland, and Peter Sarsgaard. One of the most expensive independent movies ever made, it wound up being a massive disappointment at the box office.

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The Hurt Locker (2009) – Bigelow hit the critical mother lode with this film about an American bomb disposal team serving during the Iraq War. Nominated for nine Academy Awards, it would win six Oscars (including Best Picture and Best Director, the first-ever for a female). Jeremy Renner is magnificent as Sergeant First Class William James, a top-notch bomb expert whose time in the military has left him emotionally incapable of doing anything else. Co-starring Anthony Mackie, Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly, and Brian Geraghty. If you enjoy modern war movies, you’ll definitely want to add this one to your list of must-see films.

See also:

  1. Top 10 Movies of 2009
  2. List of 2010 Oscar Winners
  3. Best Movies of 2009
  4. Korean DVDs
  5. Top 10 DVD Rentals
  6. Fox 75th Anniversary Collection
  7. Wrestling DVDs

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 at 6:50 pm and is filed under Good Movies, Movie Babes, Thoughts on Film. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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