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I simply do not envy the filmmakers who feel inspired to make a haunted house flick in today's cynical age. What used to be so beautifully easy in The Haunting or House on Haunted Hill or The Innocents became a little bit tougher in The Amityville Horror and Poltergeist -- and nowadays you have to break out the video camera if you want to dazzle a young audience with your Paranormal Activity and your Grudge-inspired phantoms. But of course the haunted house movie is an essential sub-division of our beloved Horror genre, which means it's always good news when someone finds a fresh way to upgrade the essential cobwebs once in a while.
The whole world loves a folk hero. Britain has Robin Hood, America has Davy Crockett and Australia has Ned Kelly. The thing they all share is the blurred lines between fact and fiction. On screen any rough edges to their personalities are ironed out, evil deeds omitted and in an instant history is changed for ever.
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Once upon a time, Disney was the king of animation. Today, in the realm of CGI and 3D, they remain at the top only by virtue of a partnership with Pixar. Hand-drawn animation - the kind responsible for many of Disney's most beloved classics - is passe (although there are frequent rumors of re-invigorating it), giving all big-screen cartoons the degree of sameness that results from increased computer participation. With Enchanted, Disney is opening a new front in the ongoing animation war. Call it "live action animation." While this is certainly not the first motion picture to blend drawn creations with real life actors, no movie to date has approached it quite this way.
From the first scene, Eternal seems like a made-for-Cinemax soft porn vampire movie, with one crucial exception. It has the cheesy music. It has the wooden acting by thespians whose names are not destined to top many A-movie marquees. It has the requisite soft focus camera work and hardcore bloodletting. What it's missing is the nudity. Aside from a few fleeting appearances by breasts and buns, there's not much flesh to be found in Eternal. There's plenty of sex, but everyone appears to be fond of doing the deed while wearing as much clothing as possible.
First, let's establish why people watch an exploitation B-movie like this: it's for the guilty pleasure it offers. Lots of naked women are part of the package. By not delivering on this element of the genre, directors Wilhelm Liebenberg and Federico Sanchez dilute the experience, robbing us of part of the fun. They tease but don't deliver. There are unflattering names for people like this. And if you're going to cast second-tier actresses, why not hire ones who are willing to show a little? The logic behind the film's peekaboo attitude toward nudity baffles me.
When it comes to movies based on computer games, Silent Hill is not the Holy Grail, but it's a step in the right direction. The film is overlong, with too many unnecessary scenes (a lot of the movie seems like pointless running around), but it packs in a few scary moments and offers a nicely ambiguous conclusion. In Silent Hill, atmosphere trumps storyline. The movie is creepy throughout, but the plot seems designed primarily for those with "insider" knowledge of the game. It takes a lot of thought to decipher, and I'm not sure all the clues are there. Nevertheless, I understood enough of what was going on not to feel completely lost, although I don't know if I could explain everything in a convincing fashion.
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Consider this situation: two people approach an intersection from different vantage points. When an accident occurs, they both observe the same facts, yet afterwards their versions of events differ considerably. Neither is lying; rather, it is the subjective rather than the objective element of their account which is unique to each witness. This sort of difference of perspectives (albeit in other circumstances) is one theme explored by writer/director David Mamet in Oleanna.
While watching Liar Liar, it occurred to me that the chief problem with this film is that it has a script. If Jim Carrey had been unleashed without such silly, incidental constraints as plot and dialogue, who knows where things might have gone? As it is, however, Carrey is forced to confine his antics to the needs of Liar Liar's unimaginative screenplay, and the results are mixed. There are times when Carrey is excruciatingly funny, but, on those occasions when he's expected to do anything remotely approaching "real" acting, his limitations become abundantly clear.
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Wai-Tung (Winston Chao) has a problem. Living in New York with a well-paying job, a nice home, and a stable relationship (with Simon, played by Mitchell Lichtenstein), everything appears to be going his way. But his parents, unaware of his homosexual proclivities, are expecting a marriage and grandchildren, and Wai hasn't been able to get up the courage to tell them that he's gay. Meanwhile, Wei Wei (May Chin), a tenant in a building owned by Wai, has to find a way to obtain a green card or be deported. A solution to both problems is proposed: a marriage of convenience. Once agreed to by both parties, the arrangements are made, and everything seems to be working out well until Wai's parents arrive from China to plan the wedding banquet.
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While She Was Out
On Christmas Eve, suburban housewife Della Myers (Kim Basinger) gets into an argument with her husband Kenneth (Craig Sheffer). After putting her two children to bed, she drives to the mall to buy some wrapping paper. At the mall, she can't find a parking space and angrily leaves a note on the window of a car that is parked using up two parking spaces. By the time she finishes her purchase, the parking lot is nearly deserted, and the note is gone from the car. As she enters her own car, the car on which she had left the note pulls up behind her.
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The Mists of Avalon
Based on the bestseller by Marion Zimmer Bradley It tells the story of the women behind King Arthur including his mother, Igraine his half-sister, Morgaine his aunt Viviane, the Lady of the Lake and his wife, Gwenwyfar.
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As a favor to his longtime lover Dr. Susan Silverman, Spenser agrees to investigate the stalking of a theater company director, pro bono. But before he can get started, an actor is killed by an arrow in the middle of a play. Now that theres a real-life murder to investigate, Spenser and Hawk, get to do what they do best--even if it means death threats from the Chinese underworld, being ordered out of town by the tough local police chief, and dodging bullets and crossbows at every turn. By the time they leave the quaint ocean front community, the population has decreased by three, and live theater will never be the same.
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Crack in the World
Dr. Steven Sorenson plans to tap the geothermal energy of the Earths interior by means of a thermonuclear device detonated deep within the Earth...
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Tommy Fawkes wants to be a successful comedian but his Las Vegas debut is a failure. He goes back to Blackpool, UK, where his father, also a comedian started and where he spent the summers of his childhood. He starts to search for a partner, a comic relief, with whom he can be famous.
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In the Army Now
Two misguided youths join the reserves to make some money for their entrepreneurial dreams. No sooner than they finish basic training are they called up to do their part to save the free world.
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Journey to Promethea
A tyrannical king reigns over his kingdom with an iron fist, but there is hope. A prophecy foretold long ago states that a boy will rise up against the oppressive regime and lead his people to the promised land of Promethea. This is the action-packed journey of one boy that sparks a rebellion that ignites a vicious clash of wills between king and commoner, where only one group can emerge alive and victorious.
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A holiday fable that tells the story of an elderly man discovering love for the first time.
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