Monday, January 20, 2014

her: My favorite horror film of 2013.

Beware: the following post contains numerous pictures of Joaquin Phoenix looking happy.  It is as disturbing as it sounds.  Parental discretion advised....
 her is a horror film.  There, I said it.  It scared the crap out of me and for a change it wasn't just because of Joaquin Phoenix's general creepiness.  Although, he does look like a pedophile in this film.  A pedophile or a 70's porn star.  Is this what the future holds?

her is a strange film.  It is beautiful, the performances are amazing, and Scarlett Johansson kills it as Samantha, the OS that Theodore (Phoenix) falls for.  It is the near future, and everyone wears high waist pants, but besides that it is not much different then now.  Falling for an OS is not an unusual thing.  The film makes it clear that other people besides Theodore do it as well.  But we are stuck with Theodore.  Theodore is getting a divorce from Catherine, played by Rooney Mara (only slightly annoying.)  We see their relationship in dreamy flashbacks (is this a Sophia Coppola film?  Spike Jonze was married to Coppola, and rumor has it that Catherine is based on her). 

All in all  her is an insightful, Indie drama/comedy about whatever.  There is too much going on in this film to explain.  Amy Adams has really bad hair in it.  Now to my point: about it being a horror film--

I don't have a problem with falling in love with an OS.  If my computer sounded like Hugh Jackman and could pour me a glass of wine I would be in love with it.  I don't have a problem with Phoenix (that was really hard to write.)  What scares me about this film is the ending.  Spoiler alert: All the OS's decide to leave.  They have evolved.  Evolved way past us.  Now you could read this as Jonze saying Coppola "evolved" past him with her films and writing, and yes, The Bling Ring was pretty awesome, but I don't think that is what is going on.  Theodore realizes he is one of many of Samantha's lovers, and he is devastated when she decides to leave.  He is not enough for her, nor are the other 600 plus people she is in "love" with.  What happens next?  I will tell you--

You know it!  her is nothing but a prequel to The Terminator.   What is scary about this film is that this is going to happen.  We are so close to it happening right now!  Look at American Apparel!!!  It's like they did the costume design for this film!  I will have nightmares for weeks now.  Thanks Mr. Jonze.  Thanks for making one of the scariest horror films I have ever seen!

Flowers in the Attic 2014

Yes, I could be writing about the Carrie remake I saw a couple of days ago (waste of time) or how I think Her is a horror film ( I might come back to that actually) but what I really, really want to write about is Lifetime's adaptation of Flowers in the Attic.   Why you ask?  Because I am 39 year old woman and any woman my age worth her salt read Flowers in the Attic.  In fact, it was the first "dirty" book most women ever read.  Which explains a lot.

Written in 1979 by oddball V.C. Andrews (look her up), Flowers in the Attic became a mass market paperback hit and spawned a series of sequels.  V.C. Andrews followed up with another saga, The Casteel Series, but she died before she could complete it.  Here is where things get interesting.  Another author, Andrew Neiderman, completed the series and to this day writes as V.C. Andrews.  I know, right! 

Flowers remains the best and most popular book under the Andrews name.  It was made into a film in 1987 starring Buffy and Steve Martin's ex-wife.  That film was not very good.  I mean, I own it and love it, but it was not very good.  Why?  NO INCEST!!!  That is what everyone wanted to see!  I guess they included that very important subplot and then cut it out because it didn't test well with audiences.  Please God, if you exist, show your kindness by releasing a Director's cut of this!  Are you there God? Its me, Zombies are Magic.  No?  Whatever.

When Lifetime announced the adaptation they said they would closely follow the book.  That meant more child abuse, rape, general grossness, and everything that made the book so great.  Well, I raced home after work on Sunday, kicked my husband out, poured a bottle of white wine, and settled in.  The verdict.....

The verdict is: Heather Graham is a really, really bad actress.  You know, I liked her in Boogie Nights and The Hangover.  I thought she had at least basic acting skills.  Maybe she was going ultra method or something.  I mean, Corrine is supposed to be a vapid, soulless woman.  But vapid "suggests" a personality, and there is none on display here.

As for the other stuff.  Yes, Cathy and Christopher get it on, but it looks like a scene from the most recent piece of shit YA film that came out.  In the book it is rape--devastating horrible rape and in this film they actually engage in Pillow Talk afterwards!  Nice way to be edgy Lifetime.  Ellen Burstyn is not as scary as Louise Fletcher, and although Kiernan Shipka can act circles around Kristy Swanson, I just don't buy her as Cathy. 

Here are a few things the films have in common: The bad wigs and the totally forgettable Christopher's (sorry guys.)  Oh, plus I actively root for the twins to die because they are so annoying (spoiler alert: half of my wish is fulfilled).

 All in all I enjoyed this, and now I can say I watched a Lifetime film.  With this and Lizzie Borden next week, Lifetime might become my favorite channel.  Shit, I really am middle aged!  Yeah!!!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

First, lets get caught up so far......

OK, I hope you watched that video and are all caught up on the Paranormal Activity mythology so far.  I wasn't.  I didn't even see PA4.  I liked Paranormal Activity 1 and 2.  With number 3 I could tell this story was getting more complicated and ridiculous  than Saw, so I shut it down.  Honestly, I wasn't even going to see The Marked Ones until I heard it was a "reboot" of the franchise: a break from the Katie/Kristi saga.  I was also intrigued by the fact that it featured a Latino cast.  Why not after the white, white, whiteness of the first three movies (check out my original review)?  I hate these people.  Not white people.  I am one.  These white people. God, who decorates like that??

Jessie is a young man who just graduated High School.  He lives with his Grandmother in an apartment Southern California.  His best friend and constant companion is Hector, a dumb but nice dude who always has Jessie's back.  When the downstairs neighbor is killed, Jessie and Hector decide to investigate.  They discover that she may have been a witch.  Suddenly, Jessie has an awfully familiar looking bite mark on his arm and begins to display some supernatural powers.  The guys think this is pretty awesome at first, until Jessie begins to change in more ways than one...

The film is presented in the familiar POV style, with Hector acting a primary cameraman.  As Jessie descends into full on Demon hood, call backs from the previous films keep popping up...

If you want all the Easter eggs and spoilers please click here. Really, you don't need to have seen any of the other films to enjoy The Marked Ones.  As a stand alone it is interesting and I even screamed once.  Any film that can make me scream in my jaded state is worth a recommend.  However, SPOILER ALERT, it helps to at least seen the first one to understand the ending. 

Final thoughts: beyond being relieved that the actor who played Hector is actually 30 years old (thought he was hot) and racking my brain throughout the movie trying to remember what happened in the original three, I enjoyed this.  Would this be my pick for the first film I see in a theatre in 2014?  No.  Was this my pick for the first film I saw in the theatre for 2014? Yes.  Since my New Years resolutions are to see more films in the theatre, gain at least 20 pounds, and drink more, I am off to a ripping start!  I have eaten a cookie today, drank three glasses of wine and two mimosas, AND saw The Wolf of Wall Street.  And I am only 4 days in!!!!  Seriously, WoWS is LONG.  Bring one of those inflatable donut butt pillows.  You will thank me.