Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Samuel Frye has a schizophrenic (I think?) patient who he has to make leave the hospital he's trying to no longer work at ... or something. You know, the first fifteen or so minutes of this movie aren't really important. Plot devices happen so Doctor Frye and Veronica will end up at Doctor Langston's insane asylum.
What appears to simply be a weirdass asylum where the patients are allowed to run amok turns out to be far weirder and more fucked up than that. You see, Langston has decided the world would be a better place if everybody had one mind and he's setting out to accomplish just that.
Because Doctor Langston was played by Patrick McGoohan, I couldn't help but see Hysteria as a royally screwed up successor to The Prisoner.
I almost began my review like this:
"Hysteria stars Patrick McGoohan and is about a man who seems to be held captive in a bizarre society where everyone thinks alike and tries to bring that man around to their way of thinking."
Except this time McGoohan's the new Number Two (he's also not truly the star of the movie so I couldn't go with that description). He's come up with a crazyass scheme to get all the Villagers conformed and, to be honest, I was pretty disturbed by the whole movie.
Disturbed and intrigued.
Amanda Plummer plays one of the inmates, a bewheelchaired teacher's pet named Myrna who loves to dance. I've always liked Amanda Plummer and, between her and Patrick McGoohan, it was pretty much a guarantee I'd enjoy Hysteria on some very basic level ("The presence of these actors makes me smile"). The subject matter was interesting enough, disturbing enough and handled well enough, though, that I'm pretty sure Hysteria is going to be one of those movies that sticks with me for a very long time.

End of line.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2

Hmmm. I don't know.
I mean, Voldemort isn't scary. At least, the one in the movies isn't. The one in the book might be. I wouldn't mess with the Voldemort in the book. The one in the movie, though, I'd mock him to his face 'cause, what's he gonna do, shake his jazz hands at me?
Much like in the book, I wish Neville Longbottom were in it more. He's grown up to be a badass and I want to watch a movie about him. Just like I want J.K. Rowling to write the book of what was going on at Hogwarts during most of the seventh book when Harry is wandering the planet being ineffective.
Once again I realize these movies aren't made for people who haven't read the books. If I hadn't know what happens in the last book going in, I would have been royally confused. (My brother's girlfriend left the movie thinking Snape was Harry's real father because the movie did a really poor job of explaining what was actually up with him. I've decided to adopt that as my own personal interpretation. I don't care that it's inaccurate; I like it.)
Most of the movie is a giant battle interspersed with Harry doing whiny Harry stuff. There's a part where he jumps off a cliff with Voldemort (what?), there are orcs (what?), I felt like things were a bit disjointed and presented in a different order than how they happened in the book (although I haven't read the book in a while so I could just be remembering wrong).
And then, in spite of the fact that I wasn't really emotionally invested (seeing as I don't really like the Harry Potter movies), one scene made me cry. It's a scene that completely destroyed me in the book and it didn't get quite that same reaction from me in the movie, but I did cry. It's a sad, sad scene.
I'd also like to point out that, while I don't like Helena Bonham Carter's portrayal of Bellatrix Lestrange (much like the girl who plays Luna, her portrayal is simply incorrect), she did a great job playing Hermione-disguised-as-Bellatrix, all slumpy and wide-eyed and terrified-looking. I always forget that, other than these movies (and Sweeney Todd, but the less said about that, the better), I rather like Helena Bonham Carter.
Also, for the first time in the movies they let Professor McGonagall be the badass she is in the books, and you can tell Maggie Smith was loving it. "Finally! I get to be the kickass character that I signed up to be in the first place!" She was the one adult actor who really brought her A-game. (I guess I should point out it's the grown-up cast I have the problem with.)
Overall, it's pretty much on par with all the Harry Potter movies. It's a great big "meh." If you like the other ones, you'll probably like this one. If you don't, maybe you won't. If you hated the fifth movie so much you just gave up on all the other ones and only went to see them 'cause your best friend kind of made you, you'll probably think it was pretty okayish. I guess.
I wish I'd been given the chance to cast the movies. The adult characters, anyway. All of the kids are fine with me but so many of the adult actors, many of whom I like, did lousy jobs on these movies. It was like they knew they'd sell eleventy bajillion tickets either way so they didn't bother trying, which is really sad. I want to go back, start all over, make the movies right; fix up the cast a bit, explain important plot points a bit better, that kind of thing.

End of line.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The House Of The Devil

"Are you not the babysitter?"
The House Of The Devil is possibly the most slow-moving horror movie I've ever sat through. I generally have absolutely no patience for movies that move this slowly. If it had been any other movie I might have turned it off after nothing happened for nearly an hour.
(Okay, like, two things happened. Not really enough to hold a person's attention. Usually.)
The thing is, there was something about The House Of The Devil that kept me watching. There was enough in the first half hour or so to grab my attention enough that I wanted to know what happened. The lead character (Samantha) and her best friend were likeable enough and the couple Samantha was 'sitting for were odd enough that I was intrigued.
Most of the movie consists of Samantha wandering alone around the couple's old house and, really, nothing happening at all. And I don't know why, because ordinarily movies like this don't get this kind of reaction out of me, but it was insanely creepy. I spent most of the movie trying to burrow into my mattress, keeping my eyes mainly on the edges of the screen, in case something suddenly jumped out. I never do that! Ordinarily if I think something's going to leap out suddenly, I keep my eyes glued to the screen. Watching the edges of the screen is something that sissies do (albeit sissies who still want to seem brave and therefore don't cover their eyes and watch between their fingers).
Okay, so I'm a sissy.
What was kind of disappointing about The House Of The Devil was when stuff started happening. Eventually the action picks up and at first it's even worse than the slow, creeping dread of nothingness. For about a minute and a half I felt jolty and a little sick to my stomach.
Then I felt nothing.
It's not that the movie didn't live up to the slow, creeping dread of nothingness. It was still a fine and disturbing ending. It just ... wasn't as upsetting as it could have been. All that buildup that doesn't ordinarily work on me for a sufficiently messed up (and messy!) ending, but I guess I was expecting something more.
Oh well, I still highly recommend The House Of The Devil. Any movie that can make me that afraid of nothing must be doing something right.
(Oh, I also have to tip my hat to the fact that the movie looked and felt genuinely like an '80s movie. I never would have known it wasn't if the end credits hadn't said 2008.)

End of line.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Horrible Bosses

The previews for Horrible Bosses were pretty bad. They made it look, at best, unfunny and, at worst, upsetting. And, to the previews' credit, parts of the movie were kinda upsetting.
Luckily, the unfunny part was entirely false. I can't remember the last time a movie made me laugh that hard.
Admittedly, I'm biased toward the Charlie Day. Not only is he incredibly pleasant to look at, but he's got great comedic delivery. There's a reason he's my favorite person on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (two reasons, actually: the two I mentioned. Great delivery and extreme good-lookingness). He was, in fact, the only reason I agreed to see the movie at all.
In the end, though, the whole cast was spot on. Even Jennifer Aniston, who I ordinarily do not like, did a great job. I still didn't like her but that was the point. She is a Horrible Boss.
The premise: Three guys have horrible bosses. Jason Bateman's boss is Kevin Spacey, who is ... I believe the onscreen description of him was "Total Fucking Asshole." He psychologically tortures Jason Bateman because he's Kevin Spacey and he's good at playing that kind of character. (In Swimming With Sharks he played pretty much the same character and got paper cut tortured as a result. I never did finish that movie.)
Charlie Day's boss is Jennifer Aniston, who sexually harasses the hell out of him. And, sure, I think the man is beautiful but this bitch crosses, like, every line. Just because he's pretty doesn't make it justifiable.
Jason Sudekis starts out with an awesome Donald Sutherland boss, but he doesn't last and is replaced by a disgusting Colin Farrell with a combover and a cocaine addiction. (Right before the movie they showed a preview for the Fright Night remake (which looks fantastic) wherein Colin Farrell plays a vampire who looks like the opposite of his Horrible Bosses character. It was a nice juxtaposition.)
None of the three protagonists can get out of their jobs for one reason or another (career sabotage, love of the company, criminal record, that kind of thing) and finally decide their bosses need to die.
The rest of the movie is your typical comedy of errors. Except not typical because I ordinarily don't like that kind of movie and I loved this one. I don't know why or how Horrible Bosses succeeded where other movies of the genre fail, but I know it isn't entirely the Charlie Day factor because I was laughing just as hard at moments that didn't concern him at all as I was at his scenes.
I also liked seeing my uncle's name in the end credits. (If you'd like to see it, too, it's the last one listed under Set Dressers. Yay, Uncle Ricky!)

End of line.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2

Po deals with the fact that he was adopted while he helps the Furious Five save the world and kung fu from an evil peacock.
I liked Kung Fu Panda 2, but it didn't feel entirely cohesive as a movie. I spent most of the movie feeling like it was very close to the beginning. Then, in the last five minutes, it felt like the end. Kung Fu Panda 2 has no middle. At least, that's how it feels.
And it has a lot of really funny moments but overall I remember it as a crying movie. All the scenes with Po's dad, for instance, especially the scene where he explains how he adopted Po. (Thing that didn't help: The filmmakers used actual sounds of a human baby crying for the sound of baby Po crying.)
It was good, though. I liked it. Gary Oldman was, of course, wonderful as the evil peacock and, unlike the first movie, I didn't despise Tigeress this time around, so that's an improvement. And the funny moments were very, very funny.

End of line.