Sunday, March 29, 2015

Movie Review: It Follows

Rarely do I come across a horror movie I don’t want to see.  This was hyped as a sleeper Indie movie and I was intrigued.  The last few Indie’s that blew me away include Paranormal Activity or the Orphanage, both of which stopped me from sleeping for days after seeing it.  Actually, with Paranormal Activity, I think I didn’t sleep for a week.  Yeah, I’m a scaredy cat.  Also, in a side-note, there was a trailer with Thomas Jane in it and the sister of KStew from Still Alice who’s name escapes me and there were butterflies and I leaned over and told my friend I straight-up couldn’t see that movie.  Butterflies, nature’s silent killers.  Mark my words.

The premise of the movie doesn’t truly reveal itself until about twenty minutes into the picture.  The story sets up as a random girl goes running from her father and ends up being found dead on a beach. The movie picks up to a girl getting into a pool and seeing two neighborhood kids watching her.  I made the mistake of thinking these were the same girl, but they weren’t, as my friend pointed out.  My eyes were covered at some points, for those of you wondering.  It is safer to watch horror movies that way.  The story continues with a girl going on a date with her new boyfriend and he does something slightly odd, but covers it up well.  The next date they have, they sleep together and that’s when the story begins to truly unfold.

My friend stated it best, I think, it is basically an STD curse.  The idea is that the curse can be passed from one person to the next by sleeping with them.  There is an X-files episode similar called gender bender, but not quite the same.  The guy gave her a fake name and romanced her for a little while before sleeping with her and then she begins to see a person that no one else can see.  He warns her that she can’t let the person, or whatever she sees, touch her.  The first time she sees it she is with the guy and it appears as a naked woman.  Why naked?  I don’t know.  I didn’t do anything for me and made it seem that much more confusing when it was seen with clothes on.  Regardless, the thing keeps coming and she confides to her sister and friends and while they don’t disbelieve her, they can’t see anything.  The cool neighbor sleeps with her, in an attempt to pass the curse, and while it works for a short period of time, he ends up getting killed and it continues after her.

The suspense in the movie continues to build and the girl and her friends try varying activities to kill the thing, but they don’t really know what they’re dealing with and thus all of their attempts fail.  I found it curious that none of them thought to do any research to see if they could figure it out.  The movie was dated for sure, set in the 80’s or 90’s just based on the clothes and the TVs they had.  I didn’t get quite as scared as I thought I would, but the story held my attention and kept me engaged, even if I kind of wanted the main girl to die because I found her kind of annoying.  The movie did get me thinking what someone would do given the same circumstances.  I mean, the message of the movie might have been as simple as no sleeping around, but I might be over-thinking it.  As horror movies goes, this one held true to the teaser and I think most horror fans would enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Movie Review: Still Alice

When an actor receives an academy award nomination, let alone a win, it sticks out in my mind and I feel like I need to take the time to see the movie.  Lucky for me, AMC was still showing this movie and I got the chance to drag my seventeen year old cousin to it.  I don’t know that I was in the right state of mind while watching this movie and while the entire 6-person audience, minus me, was brought to tears, including the aforementioned cousin, I found myself laughing at sequences that probably were meant to be gut-wrenching, which made my cousin imply I was cold-hearted.  Being a huge fan of Charmander, I find this hard to believe, but let us not digress.

The premise of this movie is based off of a book where a woman suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s and how her family deals with it.  The hints are quite subtle, Alice forgets little things, words or locations of things, but the panic starts to set in at a rapid pace and it is quite clear that something is seriously wrong with her.  The story isn’t a new one, per say, but it was one that was compelling and terrifying.  The depiction of the fall into lost memory is horrific to watch.  The very idea of not being able to rely on your mind, your memory, is one I don’t want to imagine.  It is a literal case of not being able to trust anything.  At one point, Alice goes inside to go to the bathroom and can’t find it and goes in her pants.  I didn’t laugh here, but it was a sad state of affairs for any adult and I can’t imagine watching a loved one suffering from this.

The performances from the entire cast were on point throughout.  The somewhat supportive husband was just as frustrating to watch as the children who didn’t want to be inconvenienced greatly save for the youngest daughter, played by Kristen Stewart.  At this point I have to admit that part of my curiosity for this movie was the always amazing Julianne Moore and the unending praise I kept hearing about for Stewart.  I try to give all the kids of Hollywood (Twilight, Potter, etc.) the benefit of the doubt and Stewart has, by and large, been the best of the entire bunch.  A lot of criticism for her comes from her seeming to play the same role again and again.  I’d argue she doesn’t do that at all, but I need to see more of her work, which there is a lot to choose from.  She was in about 25% of the movie and the parts she was in had excellent foreshadowing and chemistry between her and the rest of the cast.  I continue to be impressed by Stewart and I want to see what more she can do as she gets more comfortable in her own skin.  I wish that Emma Watson or Jennifer Lawrence could execute these types of performances, but I have yet to see it from either, let alone any of the boys, like Dan Rad, who has a lot of growing up to do.

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what had me so distracted throughout the movie that while others were brought to tears, I was amused, laughing.  Early on, the audience’s first view of Stewart, she is wearing a t-shirt with Snoopy on it.  Again, if you’re reading this, you know I’m a Snoopy fan too.  Yeah, I like a lot of cartoon characters.  I was just so amused.  After the movie was over, I realised there was more to the tee than just Snoopy and Woodstock.

Stewart in a Snoopy t-shirt

I’ve included a pic, but the text, I believe is: “Sometimes the donut dunks the bird” and the image is Woodstock in a coffee mug and the donut not in the coffee.  It is a really cute shirt, one I might need to find/acquire.  The movie is about life getting the better of a person, and in many ways, I’d argue that the t-shirt is foreshadowing what is about to happen to Alice as well as her daughter Lydia (Stewart).  Alice is overcome by life, just as Woodstock is overcome by the donut in the t-shirt.  My cousin thinks I’m over-thinking this, but I really think I’m onto something and hope that someone from the movie stumbles upon this humble blog and the wardrobe person realises that at least one person noticed the attention to detail.

Movie Review: The Lazarus Effect

I can’t believe it has been two months since I’ve seen a movie.  I often go into horror movies with unrealistic expectations that there will be a cohesive story from beginning to end and I often wonder if the audience could ever hear the original pitch we would be able to make sense of what the movie was trying to get across.  This movie is based around defying death, as many horror movies venture.  The scientists in question are trying to find a way to lengthen the time emergency medical technicians can work on a patient before they flat-line, or so the story goes.  The idea stays the course until an outside group decides to steal the research and of course, the scientists decide to do something brash.

This movie had pretty much every horror movie trope you can imagine.  I try to avoid SPOILERS, but the basics are all covered.  Bad things happen, the black guys dies first, there are fake deaths and fake-outs of every sort.  The movie is composed mostly of jump scares and tired gory sequences and I still found myself looking away to avoid seeing the inevitable.

Given the lack of horror movies to choose from, this movie is one you may not want to miss, but Olivia Wilde was barely passable in this weak storied movie.  I can’t say it was a bad movie, but it wasn’t a good movie either.  The ending was just as weak as the story was and it makes you feel unsatisfied as you get to the credits.  I long for some good horror movies and the trailers didn’t hold much promise either.