4 items from 2014
“The Comeback” has ended its comeback on HBO, completing what amounted to a victory lap for a show that was ahead of its time, yes, but despite cultish devotion, never really victorious.
Perhaps that’s why the finale came as such a surprise, exhibiting a sentimentality that provided a sense of closure but which simply felt incongruous with much of what transpired within the show’s fictional world, much less the realities of Hollywood that it sought to lampoon.
Several movies came to mind while viewing the final hour (and Spoiler Alert if you haven’t watched), in which Lisa Kudrow’s character, Valerie Cherish, completed what amounted to a “Shawshank”-like redemption, crawling through a torrent of excrement (literally, in an unnecessary twist) to come out cleansed on the other side.
Like “The Paper Chase” – in which the protagonist, having chased law-school grades the entire movie, finally decides that »
- Brian Lowry
The scares are cheap but periodically effective in “Annabelle,” a cut-rate spinoff from James Wan’s superlative haunted-house hit “The Conjuring” that (partly) makes up in crude shock effects what it lacks in craft, atmosphere and just about every other department. Designed mainly as a starring vehicle for the eponymous, creepy-as-hell doll (who easily outclasses her human co-stars), this WB/New Line quickie will slake the thirst of die-hard genre fans put out by the abysmal “Dracula Untold.” Mere casual fright fans are advised to wait for the proper sequel, “The Conjuring 2,” due in 2015.
Among the many objects from paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren’s cabinet of demonically possessed curiosities that got their closeups in “The Conjuring,” the indisputable scene-stealer was Annabelle, a pigtailed, rosy-cheeked wooden moppet who looked like Howdy Doody in drag, or Raggedy Ann after a long night in the wrong part of town. Now, in “Annabelle, »
- Scott Foundas
Inanimate objects are deployed to endless would-be-scary effect in Annabelle, and it’s not just the supremely creepy doll that is its star. In this prequel to last year's hit The Conjuring — one of the most effective haunted-house movies of recent years — cheap jolts are provided by an errant sewing machine, a record player spinning The Association’s hit "Cherish," heavy books, a malfunctioning elevator and even an unattended Jiffy Pop popcorn pan. The filmmakers literally throw in everything but the kitchen sink. Usually, movie spinoffs attempt to up the ante — witness this summer’s The Purge:
- Frank Scheck
We don’t go to the cinema much, because we hate people. We also don’t go because there’s always the risk of accidentally going to see the wrong film. It's not helped by the fact that there's no way of telling until it’s too late, because there are no bloody opening credits on lots of modern films. And by the time you do realise, you’ve eaten all your popcorn and you can’t be bothered to move.
The movies on this list won’t give you that problem. These opening credits are perfect scene setters for the movies that follow, so you won’t have to worry about awkward popcorn wasting moments. It's not a top 50, rather a selection of 50 interesting credits sequences, »
4 items from 2014
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