Tag Archives: adaptation

Vanishing on 7th Street

I had a strong desire to see this movie when it came out, but if I saw every movie I wanted to when it came out, I would be poor. Thank you, Netflix. Anways, Vanishing on 7th Street had its ups and downs for me as I was watching it. To classify it as a thriller over a horror movie would be accurate, as it didn’t have too many bumps or jumps.

Something’s wrong… is it my acting?

There is one scene that may frighten you (I was wearing headphones and sitting too close to my computer), but overall there really only is one. Supernaturally it’s interesting, but the plot left something to be desired.

Let me explain. When I watch a horror movie, by the end, 9 times out of 10, I want the horror to be delved into or explained. To leave it open ended leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I want the origin story of the evil force at least. Where did these beings come from? Why are they here? Why do they need to frighten and kill? What will they do?

Little Ani, you did your job.

This movie didn’t give any of that. In a series of postulations, Vanishing on 7th Street entered in with this ungodly being/s that took away probably 99% of the world’s population. Paul (John Leguizamo) is just chilling up in his projection room, minding his own business, with his head-lamp on. Everyone in the mall disappears and nobody knows why. Cue Chris Bosh the actor and the scariest moment in the film. We head over to Rosemary (Thandie Newton) and her search for her baby, Manny. Then hit up Luke (Hayden Christensen), the lead actor in this horror shin-dig and you have yourself 3 of the last 4 people remaining in… Detroit? I have no idea…

After three days of darkness and people being taken away, you already knew after the first scene that anyone with a

That rave was a bit too redonk…

portable light was going to survive. It was self evident. What you didn’t realize is how fast Hayden Christensen would adapt and become a hardened badass about the whole thing. None of them know what the hell is going on, but they will for damn sure survive longer than I’ve seen anyone in a supernatural thriller. Go get ’em.

The acting wasn’t bad overall. I usually rag on Hayden Christensen for his ruining Star Wars, but he did his job well in this one. He was the brutal survivor everyone needs on their team in this one, and rightly

Probably shouldn’t crouch by all that gas…

so. Thandie Newton was the beautifully tragic character that has to, of course, hold onto her religion in order to survive. (There’s always one in every bunch…) And then there’s John Leguizamo. He needs to stick to just doing Sid in Ice Age, because his acting wasn’t contributing anything in this live action. Jacob Latimore, he was a pretty damn good child actor in this one. Bravo.

So without much explanation of delving into the topic, Brad Anderson skirts around the issue that every horror film should explain/explore at the end. Sure everyone in a movie can die, but you have to then have some sort of closing argument for why it all happened. In the

That plane be tankin’.

world of Hollywood, people don’t feel comfortable with unexplained evil for evil’s sake. There has to be a motive, a reason. If all you can come up with is Roanoke Island, you are sorely mistaken. And Brad Andersen directed The Machinist for Sweet Baby Ray’s sake! A hit and a miss, this movie holds the middle of the road for all the promise it held, and not giving away anything in the end. 6.2 out of 10.

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Leaves of Grass (The Film)

I was pleasantly surprised by this film I had never heard anything about. The second I saw Edward Norton playing twins, my mind jumped to Nicholas Cage in Adaptation. And I love that film because of him and everything about it. So I got a little bit excited once I saw both of them interacting together onscreen. A film that centers around the lifestyle of weed and academia, I know one half of. But that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the film. It enhanced it with how intelligently represented both sides are.

I think it was best said by whoever put it on Wikipedia when they said this film has everything of the great tragedies. Mistaken identity, betrayal, violence, loss, and all that good shizz. I was hooked the second Ed Norton stepped on camera as his

Two brothers, one person.

intelligent half, Bill Kincaid. He gives such a convincing performance as the well-to-do, goody-goody brother of the family that went off to college to become a thinker. And that scene is completely contrasted by his portrayal as Brady Kincaid, the equally intelligent marijuana grower. Both sides have an intelligent way of speaking (despite the Oklahoma “Southern” accent) and it comes off as very entertaining to hear their rapport.

A great little cast.

So the movie’s about Bill and Brady, the Kincaid twins. One has aspirations of Harvard and the other aspirations of a lucrative weed business. They parted ways long ago after differences in family experience and got on fine. But things haven’t been going so well for Brady. Brady tricks Bill into flying out by faking his own death and meeting up with Brady’s associate, Rick Bolger (Tim Blake Nelson). After everything gets figured out, Bill finds out that Blake needs him to pose as himself while he goes out on some business. All he has to do is visit their mother, Daisy (Susan Sarandon) and everything will be fine. But, of course, that’s not how things turn out.

There’s a great quality of culture clash in this movie when North meets South, East meets West. Although both characters started out in the OK, they have drifted apart and need to reconnect. There’s a great subtle love/seducing interest between Bill and a small town girl, Janet (Keri Russell). She noodles and ropes them broncos and all that shit, and its strange for Bill to find a girl just as knowledgeable when it comes to poetry. There’s a clash between the greater Christian community and the Jews in this movie as well. Big props for Richard Dreyfuss pulling off the kinky role of Jewish mob boss in this film. And never forget about the little guy, a great job by John Pais.

What a great Jewish badass.

People had a problem with the move from the comedic to the dark and tragic, but it didn’t bother me as much. Moving from quirky to murky isn’t as hard as people take it to be in films. This movie leans in that direction from the beginning with the drug running and gang violence and can’t end well because movies have to have that element of loss or gain. If Bill came down and visited his mother and nothing bad happened and things went off without a hitch, this movie would be about 45 minutes shorter. So I give the benefit of the doubt to this film for tiptoeing around that issue.

I was pleasantly surprised how well Tim Blake Nelson directed and wrote this movie, as well as starred in. He pulled off the trifecta well and made a compelling story all at once. From only knowing him as

That’s some great work you’re doing there, Mr. Pendanski.

Mr. Pendanski in Holes, he made one hell of a movie. There’s not a lot of focus on the life Bill had (obviously this movie is meant to change him towards family) and it’s a lot about going back to your roots. I thought Edward Norton did an amazing job in both roles and made me think (if I didn’t know it was Edward Norton) that it was two different people. Let’s jump back 50 years when filming two people at once was more of an amazing thing and blow some minds. Maybe roll up a joint (this movie is really not about weed at all…) and enjoy some Leaves of Grass. Its limited release and Sundance Premier really secured this as a not well known good movie. I’ll give it a 7.7 out of 10.


Silent Hill: The Movie of the Video Game that Freaked Me Out

This little gem of a horror movie scared me a bit the first time, but watching it again, I find it to be a worthwhile watch. Never having played the video games, I can appreciate the adaptation this game portrayed onscreen, and can understand if anyone was offended by this adaptation. But it really is up to those who see the film and have played the games to decide for themselves.

From what I gather from the films plot line, this is a story about a mother Rose De Silva (Radha Mitchell) searching for her adopted daughter, Sharon (Jodelle Ferland). She comes upon Silent Hill, the run down West Virginia coal town that has become a ghost town. While there, Rose comes upon some disturbing encounters that leads her to discovering the past behind her daughter. Along the way, Rose encounters undead coal miners, pyramid heads (popular cosplays, if I may add), and dead nurses. All of this leads to some comment on religion and you can decide what the end of this movie means to you.

I gotta say though, this movie did freak me out a bit the first time I watched it. The whole idea of the demonic children in Rose’s first encounter was a bit ridiculous. And I do admit that I watched this at 2 in the morning, a poor choice if I ever made one. But this movie really delivers when it comes to the effects. It may be 5 years old, but this movie is a true testament to how special effects and a digitally graphic environment hasn’t really changed all that much over the years. The guts and gore remain about the same in horror movies, if only the slightest bit more real. Otherwise I give this movie based on a video game (hint to where it gets its effects from) a rather solid grade when it comes to its effects.

And, from what I’ve heard from game players, the game experience itself is like a horror movie. Except its gameplay. And you can run away or *scoff* fight. In its similarity to Condemned, this game probably brings it pretty hard in the fright department. I will probably not be playing this game if it delivers the way that Condemned did. That was a fright and a half. Not to mention how, in the game world, you’re experiencing these frights firsthand, with no musical cues. Forget that.

Acting. Not too bad. Radha Mitchell was quite decent in the film as Rose De Silva, Sharon’s mother. I found it quite notable that she has had experience before

Radha Mitchell. Decent

in the horror movie department and I think that lended to an overall great heroine/woman in distress hybrid performance. Sean Bean was a classic Dad on a Mission character as Rose’s husband Christopher. Although he never entered Silent Hill, he provided the back story from beyond the white veil. Deborah Kara Unger was great and quite beautiful as Alessa’s mother, and I think the only problem was attempting to hide her good looks under some sort of old witch outfit in this movie. Another more notable actress was Alice Krige, the South African actress who usually (so far as I know) brings a dramatic performance to her films. And you definitely hate her guts in this film, trust me.

The ending came as a bit of a surprise, so far as how the religion and “survivors” of Silent Hill ties in. But a decent cast and good effects ties together what makes a good, at least one time watch of this film. And then hey, you can go play the video games if the movie sparks your interest to have the poop scared out of you as you play. But who knows what this movie will do for you. I commend five time French director Christophe Gans on his work. It seems this film was right up his alley. So if you want to have a demonic experience (apparently a demonic experience that’s being re-released? in 3-D) check this out. It’s worth at least a cringe. 7.3 out of 10.

Pyramid Heads run train.