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An American Haunting (2005)
High action scares deflated by poor storytelling
I had high hopes for this movie in the first hour because of its fairly authentic feeling environment, good acting performed by legends and some forced but effective jump out of you seat moments. However, for a tale that tries to say that this is based on a true story it goes over the top with trying to scare people with props and cheap scares than allowing the viewer to fill in their own spooky conclusion. The Exorcism of Audrey Rose I felt was able to gracefully dance between truth and scare and this movie should have tried to follow Audrey's lead. Instead, it falls over its own feet rushing through a possible scenario of what could have caused an angry spirit to terrorize the Bell family. The cinematography and direction is well realized with lots of special effects but its the storytelling that falls flat in the end which is a shame given the A+++ cast.
Its a good movie if you are looking for just a fun, scary flick but nothing that you can take too seriously.
Benny & Joon (1993)
The movie is just a joy to watch each time because it is so simple but with just dash of odd that you cannot help but smile. The movie does nothing out of the ordinary but what it does it does very well. Depp is very much like his Edward Scissorhands role acting as if he is seeing the world from a different perspective than the rest of us. Adian Quinn is very convincing of struggling with the desire to have a new life but also fulfill his the commitment he has made to care for his sister. Mary Stuart Masterson does a fine job of performing as a stuggling mentally ill woman. Some may say she goes from one extreme to another by seeming perfectly normal and than going into a fit of madness but it can be that way for borderline cases and Materson makes you feel sympathetic for Joon's plight in a very classy fashion. Juliane Moore, is fine in her role of as the focus of Benny's "complicated" romantic interest but her personality pales in the comparison of these other strong actors who playing even stronger characters. I cannot help but wonder what someone like Fran Drescher of "The Nanny" would have provided in this role. One could argue that Moore provides an anchor of normality to the whole thing but almost every other actor in this movie was a bit over the top so why not complete the set. Oh well, guess that's why I am not casting movies, right?
Thanks for reading my review.