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Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012)
Stays with you after the credits role
Bias alert**This reviewer likes Rashida Jones, but does not like most romantic-comedies** Better late than ever I have just saw Celeste and Jesse Forever this week. I wish that I have gotten to this one sooner (You'll rarely hear me say that). Yes, I am a huge fan of Rashida and I liked most of the actors in this film. BUT here we have something different--a script that does not pander to the usually romantic comedy story lines and seems more realistic than its genre-mates. As Rashida Jones said on Celeste and Jesse's commentary, this is a breakup movie not a fall in love movie. That is the best point here besides the realistic performances from Jones, Andy Samberg, and Ari Gaynor (among others). To boot, Celeste and Jesse Forever packs a full story in an appropriate running time of 92 minutes without padding. Today we see too many 2 hour films where the audience might lose interest. Yes, there are drug/sexual references in this one, but I agree with Rashida that it is not portrayed in a favorable light yet serves its purpose. Highly recommended. Go see it if you haven't already. Will McCormack/Rashida Jones definitely bring a hit!
OMG The best show on television.
What can I say about The Haunting Hour that any other fan has not already said. Yes, the show draws from Canada's ginormous talent pool. fun fact: Our neighbor to the North has some of the best artists in the business. But, getting back to the business at hand. The Haunting Hour has great casting, adequate writers, and awesome production values. What's not to like? As in any anthology series, the hit-or-miss aspect is not forgone; even in Masters of Horror there were quite a few "misses." Some include "Scary Mary", "Walls", and especially "Pool Shark." Some of the biggest hits include "Wrong Number" (left me chilled-not easy to do-I'm jaded) and "The Dream Catcher." Stine should be proud that his product has become so ingrained in the popular culture. Kids love it, and Im not a kid, but I definitely love it.
All of the necessary pieces
While Scary Mary was a disappointing episode in The Haunting Hour canon, Dreamcatcher is a good watch. Kudos has to go to the young female cast for their success in being able to come off as realistic. Madeleine Arthur provides a "mean girl" turn that is both annoying and slightly creepy. Of course, we also have Kerris Dorsey as our heroine, Lisa. What's more, they actually get the monster right this time--Charles Heffeman's Dream Catcher comes across as part Stephen King's It, part Marilyn Manson where general creepiness meets definite scary. Brrr. All in all, this is my not my favorite episode of The Haunting Hour, but it is for sure in my top 5 I would recommend any fan of similar shows, like "Goosebumps" ( also related to "The Stephen King for young people") check out the series in general and this episode in particular. Good job everyone!
Identity Theft (2009)
James Ward's First Feature...Not bad
Identity Theft is James Ward's first full length feature film, and an admirable first effort. as a writer/director/actor Ward makes the most of what he has to work with in terms of production. However, he manages to get credible performances out of his actors. Laura Weintraub comes off well as a man trapped in a woman's body, and thankfully we don't see the other side of this equation. Of particular note is the ending, a shocking twist to be sure, but don't stop watching until after the credits to see the full conclusion. I'm a sucker for the body swap genre, but this is tastefully done as opposed to other entries in this genre. Keep bringing it, James.
The Takeover (2013)
Interesting Body Swap Short
Director/Writer Shequeta Smith delivers an interesting short clocking in at just under half an hour long. Yet, this piece brings it with a good combination of interesting writing, believable acting, and grounded humor. Lead actresses Lindsey Santefort and Chrystee Pharris give us a couple of contrasting characters with interesting quirks while giving just enough background in the opening to set up their characters' differences. This is about the differences in the dating world from a black girl and white girl's perspective. Stereotypes aside, this short gives its audience an enjoyable time thanks to a good supporting cast, including Ruben Vernier. Body switch movies are common, and are one of this reviewer's favorite genre's (hence how I came to find his project on the internet). Yet, while the genre is often played for laughs it has a little more substance here. I also recommend the soundtrack, which was gave more layers to the final product. I highly recommend The Takeover (2013).
Witchboard 2 runs the gamut of emotions
Pretty good little film here. Kevin S. Tenney is quite a decent writer and a better director. My favorites are the POV shots of the spirit traveling. We get the absolutely cute Ami Dolenz as a lead, and John Gattins who in my opinion gives the only other believable performance in this film. Yes, the story is frighteningly similar to Witchboard, but just different enough to stand on its own merits. Dolenz does not transform much here in the script as possessed individuals are wont to do. Yet, she gets the point across nonetheless. Gattins keeps you guessing if his character is one of the good guys or the villain here. Meanwhile, we get an interesting take on the landlady played by Laraine Newman. Here the spirit seems partially justified in her actions, which makes the plot all the better. This brings up a question: WHY doesn't this film get a DVD release with a commentary from Dolenz and Tenney? I would like to hear their take on this film. Again, I liked Witchboard 2 almost as much as I liked the original.
Wrong Turn (2003)
Good for Eliza Dushku...but not much else
Okay. the one star is for Eliza Dushku's performance, but we've seen her play the "tough chick role" before (DOLLHOUSE, JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK). From the DVD commentary it appeared that they had a good time making this one, but I just couldn't find anything different from other slasher fare here. I was actually kind of bored here for quite some time. The action scenes were nothing special either. How is running from a killer going to help when they are using archery sets and guns? Anyway, wasn't terribly impressed. I couldn't quite grasp Desmond Harrington's character since there wasn't a whole lot of character development here. As usual you have a physically attractive cast that tries to make up for the shortcomings in the story, but it doesn't quite work here.
Night of the Demons (2009)
Awesome Remake in a land of sub-par remakes
To put it in simple terms; I really liked this film. For once, the casting was spot on, and the filmmakers did NOT try to re-invent the original film. I could talk about how much I loved the main cast here, but that would seem like glad-handing. Too Late. Monica Keena is a genre favorite and makes a believable heroine. Eddie Furlong was great in his role seeming like he didn't want to be there, but joining in when the action called for it. Bobbi Sue Luther and Diora Baird were good eye candy along with Shannon Elizabeth (& its always interesting to watch her go wild here). Beach and Copon were good too, despite not having much to do in the way of plot. The plot seemed coherent, and if I didn't here the cast talk about it on the commentary I wouldn't have noticed the few goofs. Excellent make up work here as well. I appreciated that the ending hearkens back to the Final Girl formula. In short, All is well with Night of the Demons (2009). Happy Halloween, Mother******s.
Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008)
Not the Best but had the Best Villain
Lost Boys 2: The Tribe is a fun movie to watch when you have some time to kill (pun intended). As mentioned in the title here Shane Powers is a great villain (every bit as charismatic as any bad guy in Lost Boys. Corey Feldman is also good in this turn as Edgar Frog (tho his part is a smaller one). I will agree that I did not find the other lead characters as interesting (Chris Emerson), but Nicole scored the best dialogue w/ the "vegetarian" line. Yes, the climax left me wanting more, but I enjoyed the movie from start to finish. If only they did a better job of explaining Shane's background and some other topics. Oh well. I think The Tribe gets a bad rap. Still pretty good in my opinion. One thumb up (not 2 tho).
III Slices of Life (2010)
Two out of Three ain't bad
From what I can say about this film, the director/writer crafted a 2 good stories and one not-so-good story. The not-so-good story would be the Home Life segment (also titled Amber Alert). The better segments include Work Life: W.O.R.M. & Sex Life: Pink Snapper. The excellent performance by Deneen Melody in the Pink Snapper segment sets in apart from the other shorts. Honestly, I cannot say any of the other actors' performances really stood out. However, Judith Lesser did a passable job in her performance. The wraparound segment was not so great, since I expected quite a better twist ending. The W.O.R.M. segment had good enough special FX and was quite good once the zombie workers came in despite a slow build-up. So, 2 good segments and 2 not so good segments (if you count the wraparound as a segment). Nuff said