Monday, May 28, 2012

The Caller: Phone Terror Returns

You may not know this about me, but I used to have a very, very strong phobia. No, not a phobia about sharks. Or clowns. Or....old ladies. Or spiders. OK OK I know I have a lot of phobias. I'm scared of several things, it's what makes me stronger.. anyways no this is a phobia that I don't believe I've ever talked about before.

I used to be very afraid of the phone. Dun dun dun! It's true. I used to completely shut down when I needed to make a phone call. I'm better now although there's still a small part of me that clams up when I hear that ring back tone. The anticipation, the not knowing what to say. Why was I so afraid of it? Probably because I had a strange feeling that someday, a crazy old lady from the 60s was going to be calling me and completely screwing up my life. Lucky for me, The Caller is exactly about my deepest and darkest fear.

I was dubious about The Caller when I received a press release email from such and such PR Company. It was one of those, "Hi Andre, hope you're doing well! Here's something I think you might be interested in!" Because you know...Jancy Willingham or whatever her name is totally knows me. But that's not why I was dubious. I was dubious because the plot sounded very predictable. A woman receives strange phone calls, yadda yadda yadda her psyche slowly begins unraveling until she discovers a startling truth.
I mean if that doesn't spell out..."She's calling herself from the future" or "She's dead!" then I don't know what does.

As it so happens, that is not the case with The Caller. As I alluded to earlier, this crazy woman caller is actually calling from circa 1960 and with every phone conversation our heroine Mary has with this crazy lady, we realize that the present as Mary knows it, slowly starts to change. Think of it as a completely nightmarish version of Back to the Future that isn't funny. Not that realizing your mother married Biff Tannen isn't a nightmare but you get the picture.

In a complete twist of events, I actually came away quite enjoying The Caller. It was surprisingly griping and creepy--not to mention that it showcases one of the creepiest things ever...lurking old women.

 Like Insidious, The Caller uses one of the all time creepiest techniques which is bringing out the old family photos and realizing that such and such scary old woman has been stalking you your entire life. Stuff like that is unbelievably terrifying for some reason. I think it's because that moment in their life has already happened. It's that feeling of realizing how close you had come to terror without even knowing it. Plus old ladies are really terrifying sometimes.

I suppose I would classify The Caller as one of those slow burn type of movies. It's not like there's this constant threat of terror all up in your face but there is a growing sense of dread which I oftentimes find much more terrifying. I also LOVE stuff about time travel, alternate realities etc. And The Caller is all about that. Sure, it may hurt your head at times but it's just enough to really keep you invested and curious as to what the outcome may be.

If there's one major gripe I have it's the very ending. There's not some bullshit twist or anything like that so don't worry. And I suppose I can't really talk about it without completely ruining the movie. So hmmmmmmmmmmm ok we'll do a SPOILER ALERT. LOOK AWAY NOW.

Throughout the whole movie there is the threat of both the crazy lady, and Mary's abusive ex-husband. Once the climax happens and Mary as a small child kills the crazy lady you would think there would be some huge life changing revelation. Like in Back to the Future where George finally stands up to Biff which completely changes his life for the better. I figured that once the crazy lady was dead, Mary's ex-husband would disappear. I figured that because she conquered such a demon early on in life, she would be strong enough and smart enough not to even get involved with a psycho wife beater. Apparently that is not the case though, and Mary's husband comes back at the end just to knock her around a bit. That just bothered me! She killed an old lady with a piece of glass when she was little. Can't we give her and our audience some piece of mind that says--yes ladies, things are better? Mary's life is better now?! I guess not.


Yes, there are some things that don't altogether make sense when you really dissect them. But I think for the most part I am able to glance past those and able to enjoy the movie as a whole. It's a solid entry in unpleasantness and creeping dread. A solid entry in creepy old ladies. And a super solid entry in phone terror.
Check it out if you're into those kinds of things, I think you may be pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yeah, I Watched Drive.

Yeah, I watched Drive. Finally. If I waited any longer the fanboys and girls would have yelled things at me. Things like:  WHY HAVEN'T YOU WATCHED DRIVE IT'S THE BEST MOVIE EVER OH MY GOD SO GOOD. In all caps because their pants would probably have been on fire.

Seriously though. This movie is big. People are obsessed with it and want to have its baby. Or Ryan Gosling's..I'm still not sure which. Anyways. I watched it. And I was just kind of like yeah okay. He's quiet. There are weird 80s-like montages. He drives a little. (Really it's not that much driving okay?) There's blood. Stab stab. The end. I don't know, I'm confused maybe I should watch it again?

1 hour and 40 minutes later

Yeah, so I watched Drive. Again. It's pretty good you guys. Although it's also not at all what I expected. I expected big flashes of awesome all up in my face....and..... I don't know....zestiness....? I'm not sure what I expected actually, but it definitely wasn't this. 

The hype-monster can be a very dangerous beast. In fact, it's probably the main reason I didn't necessarily love this movie. Yes, it's good. There are several really, really, good things about it. But I expected so much more out of it--and that's the problem with the hype-monster. It does mean things to you. It becomes in essence a critique of the film even though it has nothing to do with it. It's not the movie's fault that a lot of people talked about how it was the 2nd coming of Christ. And yet---people say it was good--BUT then they say... 'I expected it to be better because a lot of people's pants were on fire.' 

See? That stinks. If I saw this blindly, without any serious hype attached to it, then I would have been like wow, that was pretty damn good. And right okay, I am still saying that but I'm also saying, 'is that all you got?'

I'm not even sure what I'm trying to say here because I did enjoy this. It kind of sneaks up on you in a way you certainly don't expect. Ryan Gosling's character is this gigantic enigma that fills you with frustration and intrigue and sadness and fear all at the same time. WHO IS HE?! 

We'll never know. And you want to know but at the same time--you don't want to know. That is pretty neat. It's like never knowing what is beyond the closet in Poltergeist. You want to know so badly but you know that it's probably best if you don't know. 

Drive is like that in its entirety. There's this whole underlying secret tucked away somewhere but we're really never let in on it are we? Yes, it is awesome but we'll never know really how awesome it is. Interesting. I'm interested. And now I will continue to ponder this while I pet my cat and eat raspberries. 


You should be. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Woman in Black: Cat Approved

Last night I made chicken wings and decided that it was high time for a me to watch a horror movie that made me actually want to watch more horror movies. So Monkey and I got cozy, turned off the lights and paid $15 bucks to watch The Woman in Black. Why pay $15 bucks you ask? Why not? Yes, I suppose I could have waited until the Amazon video rental was available on May 22nd, but that was like.... a week away. Who knows what could happen between then and now?

I've always wanted to watch the original Woman in Black, as I've heard countless stories about how creepy and atmospheric it is.

Unfortunately the original Woman in Black is banished to only people with VHS players can watch it land and so I  had to live vicariously through other people's experiences.

That all changed when it was announced that they would be remaking the Woman in Black and that Harry Potter would be taking the main role. Remakes for many are a sore subject. I get it, I really do. But in some instances---especially this one they can oftentimes be extremely beneficial. Movies that didn't get fairly treated their first time out, movies that are in no man's land as far as availability go, movies with great stories but maybe not so great execution--those are candidates for remakes that I can get behind. Which is why, I was all for a remake of The Woman in Black. Plus also I might have a crush on Daniel Radcliffe.

The Woman in Black follows Arthur Kipps, a solicitor who is given the task of handling the estate of a deceased woman named Alice Drablow. Upon arriving in the creepy town, Arthur finds Alice's estate to be in a secluded and scary island marsh. Once there, he starts uncovering some truly creepy and unnerving things about both Alice, her sister, and the town itself.

Let me just begin by saying that... god damn this is pretty scary. Right so I'm a scaredy-cat whatever and yes there are plenty of jumps and unfair scares like that but if you look past all that, you should eventually realize that this movie is straight up creepy period. A woman in black who just stands and watches people? Creepy. Children who for no explicable reason decide to kill themselves? Creepy. Children with red hair? Creepy.

I just can't get over how unnerving that damn woman in black was! Especially the scene where Arthur is outside the manor then looks up at the window and sees her in the window!

Fuck that shit man. There were several moments during this where I almost opted for the hands over the eyes method of keeping my cool. However, I switched at the last minute to the petting my cat method instead in favor of preserving my dignity. Needless to say--Monkey was also very scared and welcomed this decision.

This movie has about every single horror convention that drives me up the wall in terms of losing my cool. Characters looking at a creepy figure in the distance. Check. Suddenly inserting said creepy figure now behind our character. Check. Scary dolls that have no place being in a child's room. Check. Rocking chairs that rock by themselves. Check. Hanging people. Check. God damn it Woman in Black, you really spooked me. Also big props to Arthur Kipps for keeping HIS cool. If that was me I would be dead of fright in about .2 seconds.

Sure, there are a few things here in there that rub me the wrong way. For one--I still can't get used to the idea of Daniel Radcliffe being a believable father figure. The dreaded epilogue of Harry Potter pretty much was laugh out loud hilarious in terms of un-believability. This is a little better although by not much.

Right, people got married young and had kids young back then. But I don't know...there's just something about Harry Potter being a dad that makes me giggle.Maybe it's because I would rather him being in a movie about having sex with me. Too much information? I apologize... blame it on the chicken wings.

The film also is a bit slow in the beginning but again, the atmosphere is so nice that I really didn't mind this all too much.

What I really, REALLY enjoyed however was that the appeal of the ghost story never waivers. I kept waiting for that point in the movie where the ghost stops being scary and we realize that they are our friend. Well guess what? Woman in black ain't our friend man, nor will she ever be because she is one scary bitch.

I love that about this movie. I love how there isn't some crazy, ill-conceived plot twist or an AHA GOTCHA moment at the film's conclusion. Just straight up creepiness and god damn, squeeze your cat, moments of surprise.

This one comes highly recommended from me folks. So get ready to rent it on Amazon May 22nd and be excited about it. Although I do not recommend watching it in the dark when you have a menacing looking towel hanging on your door. Your cat may get scared. ....Especially if by chance your cat is not wearing their glasses. Terrible, terrible idea.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Where in the World?

Okay, okay I know. I can only use that "I'm lazy and addicted to the X-files" excuse only so many times. The fact is I'm just really in a slump. And also I've been doing things. Sort of. Mostly it's just a blur. I sleep, wake up, go to work, go home, get annoyed by some crazy bag lady wearing loud clunky wooden platforms who refuses to hold onto something on the train so she just keeps falling and clumping around all over the place, eat dinner, sleep. Rinse. Repeat. Seriously that lady was the worst. JUST HOLD ON TO SOMETHING.

Anyways, since I clearly have no time to do things like watch movies, I obviously don't have a ton to blog about. Which is sad because this blog is about watching movies. It was hard to say: was I not blogging because I didn't want to? Or was I not blogging because I didn't have time? A mix of both I suppose. Although I can't deny that I didn't start having all these crazy ideas about starting a new blog that's just about everything where everyone can be happy and drink wine and kiss cats and stuff. Pipe dream I guess. Or is it?!

I'm hoping that I'll get back into the swing of things but before we jump right into normalcy, I thought I'd give you a quick and awesome rundown of really where in the world I have been. Mostly this is to prove to myself that I didn't just waste an entire month of my life sleeping and eating.

1. The X-FILES

As you know I've become slightly addicted to the X-files. I'm somewhere in season 4 so things are getting confusing. Like all of a sudden Mulder doesn't believe in shit and Scully does? It's crazy man. My obsession led me to start writing a post about all the fantastic horror movies references and inspirations behind a few of the episodes. So far I only wrote down one, although I have a list about 10 episodes long. Oh well, accomplishing tasks is overrated anyways. Maybe someday if I'm lucky I'll start that one again.

Also look at this awesome new poster I bought for my cube at work.

I'm fairly certain that the 80% of people that pass by who do not watch the X-files think I'm some loony who has a boner for aliens. Mission accomplished.

2. Books

Remember when I rediscovered books after 2 straight of years of crazy, incessant movie watching? Well now let's just say that it is time for me now to rediscover movies. Books are my life and obviously my Kindle and I are still a fantastic couple. The most notable book as of late?

Seriously, I've gone on record maybe one too many times about how I don't love Stephen King as a writer (GASP I know) (I might as well just say I don't like the Evil Dead II.... oh wait). But whatever I think it's true. Amazing storyteller yes. Amazing writer? Eh. I guess... if you like that whole 1,000 million characters, raging boner for Maine, who needs an editor? type deal. This book though... this book is really, really quite brilliant.

I'm serious. If you have not read this pick it up right now. It's huge, but it's worth it, and it goes by incredibly fast. It's gripping, sad, romantic, creepy and even has cameos from your favorite characters in IT. Do it. seriously read this right now.


I took a vacation! I think it had been about 3 years since my last full blown vacation--and no my "stay-cation" last year didn't count. Last week, Emmy Doomas and I hopped on a plane to Pompano Beach, Florida and basked in the sun. Or that's what I told the voice inside my head while it was raining for 4 days straight.

But you know what? It did eventually get sunny and I got a little sunned. Emphasis on little. It was extremely relaxing and also a little bit creepy. Can any of you Floridians tell me why there is such a thing as a drive thru adult book store?

 I'm still confused about it.

4. Sneakers

Do you know what one of the best movies of all time is? Sneakers.

Not only does it have an extremely star studded and crazy cast (Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Ben Kingsley, Dan Aykroyd, James Earl Jones, River Phoenix, David Strathairn) but it's just plain awesome. I can't stand how good this movie is. And no, it's not a horror movie okay? I took a break and watched other movies for a change alright?

God damn this movie makes me want to quit my job and pretend to rob banks and large corporations run by Ben Kingsley. It's one of those movies where no matter how many times you watch it (and I can attest to that as I've seen it about 103 times) you will always figure something new out. You'll always be excited even though you know what's going to happen. And you'll always be giddy when they reveal something neat using Scrabble letters.

Seriously I cannot wait till something cryptic happens in my life and then I have to take out Scrabble pieces to figure it out.

It's going to be the most magical moment ever.

5. The Celebrity Apprentice

I'd like to pretend that I didn't just write that but I can't. This show is my crack. I had never even watched it until this season but man is this shit entertaining or what? Who would have known how frickin annoying Lou Ferrigno could be?

I swear I can hear him say how he gives a "110% percent" in my nightmares. Every. Single. Night.

P.S. What the eff, "The fake" The Donald? You fire Lisa Lampanelli for crying too much and being too emotional in the board room? I'll have you know that some of the most manliest and tough men in the world cry and don't care...for instance...

Yeah so take that okay?

Well....I guess that was all I really did. I guess I did really waste my life after all. Oh well. Life is too short to..... do things...........

I promise that soon I'll watch a movie and then talk about it.