Friday, September 13, 2013

Insidious: Chapter 2

My View:  Insidious: Chapter 2  (2013)  PG-13   The Lambert family is back together after Josh (Patrick Wilson) went into an astral dimension called, the Further, and saved his son from a demon.  The family’s happiness is short lived, though, as paranormal events start to occur again, and the family notices that Josh is acting strangely.  Did Josh really come back from the Further, or is he possessed by a demon? The first film, Insidious (2010), was a scary, imaginative film that didn't go for the cheap scare and had a well thought-out plot.  Unfortunately, the second film is just a rehash of the first film with a plot that is too easy to figure out and too few scary moments.  This film does try to use the first film as a springboard by showing us scenes from the first, but this one comes off tired and unimaginative as the other world, "The Further," isn't as scary the second time around.   My Rating:  Cable  Insidious: Chapter 2 Website 

Indiefest:  Short Term 12 (2013)    Grace (Brie Larson) works as a supervisor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers.  Her boyfriend, Mason (John Gallagher Jr.), works with her at the home.  Grace’s world is changed when Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), a troubled teenaged girl, enters the facility, and Grace sees herself in Jayden.  Brie Larson gives one of the best performances of the year as the tough, but kind-hearted Grace.  She is able to show, just in her eyes, all the pain and empathy that her character has.  I also loved the scenes between Grace and Mason, as both actors bring a nice, comfortable chemistry that two people who have been together for awhile should exhibit.  The supporting cast of kids are good, and Larson plays off of them with an ability to show us she has dealt with their problems before, possibly in her own life.  This is a film that gives you hope for kids who are troubled, and there are people out there trying to help them and give them some sort of feeling of family, even if that family is not ordinary.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Short Term 12 Website

Indiefest:  Jayne Mansfield's Car (2012)  R  The Caldwell’s are a proud family with deep southern roots, but the family has never recovered from Jim’s (Robert Duvall) wife, Naomi, divorcing him for an Englishman whom she married and with whom she moved to England. Jim is then forced to raise a large family on his own. The family doesn’t see their mother for years.  Then, almost thirty years later, the Caldwell’s learn that their mother died, and her final wish was to buried in Alabama. The body will be accompanied by her British family, including Kingsley (John Hurt), the Englishman she married. Both families are full of interesting characters including Skip Caldwell (Billy Bob Thornton), who has never recovered from his stint in the Navy during World War II, and his brother, Carroll Caldwell (Kevin Bacon), also a WWII vet who now has long hair and protests the Vietnam War.  The film, set in Alabama in 1969, is a large ensemble piece that has Tennessee Williams overtones.  Thornton has made each character just a little too out there, including his own, who has a thing for fast cars and British accents so much that they almost come off too one dimensional.  I would have liked Kevin Bacon’s part as the Vietnam vet who is now an anti-war protester, bigger as it seemed that there was a much deeper story than what we got to see. I loved the look of the film as cinematographer Barry Markowitz did an outstanding job showing the back roads and old plantations of the South. The film’s soundtrack uses music from garage bands of that era, to great effect, which gives the movie a down to earth feel. As you would expect, the best parts of the film are when Duvall and Hurt are on-screen, but the film seems to lose its way with such a large cast and never quite figures out how to propel the plot along or even how to finish it.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Jayne Mansfield's Car Facebook page

Indiefest:  In A World (2013)  R  Carol (Lake Bell) is a not too successful voice-over coach where she makes sure that TV and Film stars get their accents right on-screen. She lives at her dad’s house, a legendary voice-over artist named, Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed), who constantly reminds Carol that he is the best. Carol’s luck changes when she makes the final cut to be the voice on a huge movie trailer franchise, a job that could change her life. Her only problem - her main competition is a guy she used to date, named Gustav (Ken Marino), and worse yet, her father.  This is a pleasant little comedy that, while the plot can be a little clunky, is fun to watch because of the performance of Lake Bell.  Bell shines on the screen, and we instantly like her from the start when she is shown working with Eva Longoria, trying to get her to do a Cockney accent for a film.  The film shows a world that we know little about but are exposed to on a daily basis, the job of the voice over artist.  This film is filled with characters that are behind the scenes in the entertainment industry but are full of egos that are as large as the latest box office winning actor, and these characters are willing to double-cross even family to get that next job.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  In A World Website

Forgotten Film:  La Femme Nikita (1990)  R  In the French film, Nikita (Anna Parillaud) is a drug addict whose only concern is her next fix.  She gets in on a robbery of a pharmacy with some of her friends and in the botched attempt, she kills a cop.  While in jail,  she is drugged and kidnapped by a secret government organization.  She is given the choice of dying (her captors have already faked her death in prison) or becoming an assassin for this secret organization.  Now, Nikita is cleaned up and goes from a degenerate drug addict to a femme fatale, a trained assassin, given only the toughest jobs, jobs that she may not come back alive from.  This is a tough, gritty film where it seems that we and Nikita are always kept slightly in the dark.  Parillaud, as Nikita, gives a complex performance that dazzles you with her ability to make you like her character, a character who doesn't have a lot of redeeming qualities.  The plot keeps you guessing, and the action sequences are extremely well done.  If you like action films with a female that can kick butt, this film is for you.  My Rating: Full Price   La Femme Nikita info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blue-ray):  Star Trek Into Darkness  (2013)  I loved the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek (2009) but feel this was a weak sequel.  The story has plot holes the size of the Enterprise, and it tries too hard with the one-liners that Kirk and the rest of the gang seem to spit out at an alarming pace. Overall, the film is a fun adventure that just doesn’t have a lot of heart to it.  It’s a  film that could have been so much more, but just never lived up to its pedigree.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Star Trek Into Darkness  

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Jayne Mansfield's Car:  eBook Producer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Captain Phillips (2013)  I am hearing great things about this Tom Hanks performance as the true-life Captain Richard Phillips, who, in 2009, was in charge of the first U.S. flagged ship to be hijacked by pirates in more than two hundred years.   Captain Phillips Website

Until Next Time!

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