Sunday, August 29, 2010

Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Christine (Alison Lohman) is a loan officer who refuses to give an old gypsy woman an extension on her mortgage payment. The old lady doesn't take this too well and curses Christine.

Okay, so this movie was CAMPY. But it worked. It kept my attention and was actually pretty decent. The director, Sam Raimi is known for his campy horror films (the Evil Dead series), so it kind of fit with his aesthetic, while still appealing to a new audience. The even used the old 1980 Universal logo at the beginning. It really sets the atmosphere for what you're about to see.

I like Alison Lohman. I loved her in Matchstick Men and White Oleander, and thought she did a pretty good job in this movie even though it was a different type of role than I'm used to seeing her in. I thought Justin Long was a little miscast though...he's more of a comedy guy to me. But he didn't do too bad a job, it was just an odd role for him.

I loved the ending. I love it when movies don't use the typical "happily ever after" ending. I'll admit I had no idea where this movie was going for most of it, which I liked. I wasn't sure if she could even FIND a way to get rid of the curse, which kept the suspense up.

4/5 stars. I was thoroughly entertained!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Haunting in Connecticut

Matt has cancer. So his family rents a house closer to the hospital that he receives his treatments at. Unfortunately, the house used to be a funeral home where some shady stuff went down.

This movie kinda freaked me out because my parents moved into the old farmhouse that my mom grew up in back when I was in college. So when I go home to visit, I have to sleep in this enormous brick house that was built in 1876. And yes, they used to have funerals in the parlor, although it fortunately was not a funeral home. Apparently, they had funerals in your own house back then. And we did find pictures. Consequently, I do not like the parlor.

But, this movie wasn't that great. It was pretty predictable for the most part. Family moves into a possessed/haunted house, they see weird things, they find a weird guy to help them get rid of said weird things, then they live happily ever after...blah blah blah. There were a few twists in there that kept it from being completely terrible. I was thinking that the ending was going to go somewhere else (i.e. not predictable), but alas, I was wrong.

I did like the idea that Matt was on an experimental treatment for his cancer, with a possible side effect of hallucinations. So when he saw something weird, his family (and even himself) didn't know if it was the drugs or if something actually strange was going on in the house. That was more original than the usual "kid sees/hears weird stuff, parents think they're making it up and/or crazy". His hallucinations had a fairly reasonable explanation, so no one was really concerned at first.

But you know, some parts were really stupid. Did no one really smell any dead bodies in that house? Why on earth would Matt sleep in that basement room after he finds the adjacent autopsy room? Why did they stay in that house as long as they did? Etc. Etc. Etc.

Side note: Did anyone else think that the guy who played the reverend was that guy from Law and Order: SVU? I looked it up and it's a totally different guy...but they look identical.

2/5 stars. Probably wouldn't ever watch again.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Back to the Future

Some of the first DVDs I ever owned was the Back to the Future Trilogy. I love these movies. I can't think of anyone who DOESN'T like these movies. It's hard to do the time travel thing successfully, but Back to the Future is one of the best.

Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd MADE this movie. I don't think it would have had near the success without those two in the lead roles. However, I did want to know a little back story as to why this high school kid was friends with this old, eccentric scientist. Marty didn't exactly seem like he'd be the science geek type.

This movie can appeal to just about anyone. I loved it as a kid and I love it as an adult. It's pretty universally appealing. There's also so many amazing lines in this movie. You could seriously just about quote the whole thing.

5/5 stars.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

An American Crime

An American Crime is a horrific story. It's made all the more disturbing because it's based on the true story of the Sylvia Likens murder in 1960s Indiana. I first heard of the Likens murder when I read "The Girl Next Door" by Jack Ketchum. It's a fiction book, but he used the real life murder as a basis. The true story is bad enough. An American Crime is very factual and uses actual crime photos and court testimonies.

Sylvia Likens (Ellen Page) and her sister Jenny are sent to live with Gertie (Catherine Keener) and her six children after their parents join a traveling carnival. After a rumor (that actually turns out to be true) in school about Paula, Gertie's daughter, they blame Sylvia. Gertie and the rest of the kids, including kids from around the neighborhood, horrifically abuse and torture Sylvia until her death.

At times, this movie almost seems over the top. If you didn't know it really happened, it would almost be unbelievable. Why were all these neighborhood kids so quick to join in on the abuse? Why did Jenny (Sylvia's sister) not tell anyone? Why did Sylvia never really fight back? But that's what really happened.

Although the subject matter is brutal, this film wasn't overly graphic with the material. Most of the violence is shown through reaction shots or inter cut with scenes from the trial.

I don't know why this movie isn't more known. I'm assuming it's an independent film and didn't have much funding, but it also stars some fairly big names - Ellen Page and Catherine Keener as well as Scout Taylor-Compton, James Franco, and Jeremy Sumpter. IMDb says that it was a made-for-tv film, but it has a theatrical rating, so who knows?

4.5/5 stars. This is definitely not a movie to watch over and over again though. Twice is enough for me.


Next in line to watch was actually A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, but I can't find the disc. Eric likes to use my DVDs to test out his various DVD players then forgets to take the disc back out. One of those players is a 400 disc yeah, good luck ever getting those back. Lucky for me, I remember it being super long and didn't really want to watch it anyways.

So, I got to watch Alien. I have seen Alien a total of once, on television. Then I bought the DVD and haven't watched it yet. This seems to be a pattern with me. Anyways, I loved Alien when I saw it on tv and was pretty excited to watch it again. It did not disappoint. It's really hard to believe that this movie is over 30 years old. It's definitely a classic.

Oh and there are probably some spoilers below, but I'm assuming that most of earth has seen or at least knows what happens in Alien.

I liked:

-Ripley. I loved that the sole survivor was a female, and a smart one at that.

-The final scene with the alien. Even though the movie is pretty old and it's not really a surprise for anyone anymore, it's still pretty intense when you find out the alien followed Ripley onto the shuttle.

-The effects were pretty great. They can hold up pretty well to even more current movies. That alien is creepy.

-Speaking of the alien, I liked how you don't get a ton of shots of it. It leaves it more to the imagination.

I didn't like:

-The facehugger alien thing...yuck. That seriously creeped me out to think of having that thing attached to my face.

-After the chest bursting scene, when the alien runs off the table and out of the room. I thought I was watching a cartoon. It was really ridiculous looking.

5/5 stars. I love this movie.

Monday, August 2, 2010


So, I finally saw Inception yesterday. I have to admit, it's not something I probably would have watched based on the trailer. But after EVERYONE kept talking about how amazing it was, I had to see it for myself.

I was afraid it was going to be a lot of complex crap that I probably didn't care enough about to figure it out. It WAS complex, but enjoyably so. I actually cared enough about the characters and the plot to not mind that it was insanely hard to follow at times.

It also did not feel overly long, even though it runs for over 2.5 hours. It moved really quickly despite having to explain almost everything that was going on to the audience so our brains wouldn't explode.

I'm still pretty surprised this movie is doing as well as it is at the box office. It just doesn't seem like it would appeal to a mass audience. Maybe people are finally getting tired of all the brain dead romantic comedies that seem to come out every week.

But...Things I Didn't Like:

-What was with the excessive greasy, used car salesman hair styles? Especially Leo. It was bad. He has enough money to get a decent haircut.

-The very last scene. It kind of made me felt like one of those cheap tricks they use to set up a sequel (which I hope they don't do). But then again, I kinda liked how ambiguous it was.

4.5/5 stars. A highly enjoyable thriller.