Glenn Kenny @ MSN Movies :
“In the 2012 Summer Movie Battle of the Bankable but Possibly Callow and Performance-Untested Young Male Stars (Indie-Cred Division), Robert Pattinson, it would seem, has beaten Shia LaBeouf without breaking a sweat. As affectless and robotic as Pattinson’s smirk-laden performance in David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis” is, it’s purposefully so, and fits the character, whereas LaBeouf fulminates so fretfully “leading” a cast of top-flight actors in the Prohibition-era actioner “Lawless” that one fears he might wet the carpet in any given scene."
I’m curious about The Possession as well as The Apparition. Both seem to be competing for the PG-13 horror bracket, which The Ring actually made pretty scary.
The fall also has some sick looking movies coming out: Taken 2, Sinister, V/H/S (okay, that’s not technically wide release, but stoked to see it) and there’s this movie called Barracuda. Anyone heard of it? Looks like a pretty fun revenge/exploitation gem. www.barracudamovie.tv
For Dennis Brian:
Reviewing The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure from an adult perspective is essentially fruitless, as enduring this brainless kid’s film is akin to witnessing the end of the world, with the titular Goobie (Misty Miller), Toofie (Malerie Grady), and Zoozie (Stephanie Renz)—giant costumed monsters who look like a cross between the Muppets, the Teletubbies, and terrifyingly noseless sea creatures—as the boisterous, brightly colored Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Insufferable barely begins to describe the pain delivered by this family adventure, which concerns a search for magical balloons intended for the birthday party of slumbering pillow Schluufy (who strangely recalls South Park’s pot-smoking Towelie), and has been directed by Matthew Diamond with pitifully pedestrian visuals and PBS-grade special effects. Reaffirming Sesame Street’s kids-programming preeminence via its awful, cornball song-and-dance numbers (which come accompanied with demands that the audience stand up and participate), as well as its wholesale absence of substance, it’s a rainbow-hued nightmare of simpleminded cheese. And it’s one made all the more grating for grown-ups by the embarrassing “star” turns of its supporting cast (including Chazz Palminteri, Jaime Pressly, Toni Braxton, Christopher Lloyd, Cloris Leachman, and a wild-eyed Cary Elwes), whose hammy performances send the proceedings even further into a realm of ear-splitting, eye-gouging shrillness.
That said, if the sight of Palminteri crooning about milkshakes or Leachman droning on about circles is enough to make one pine for the end of cinema (or, at least, an immediate projector malfunction), The Oogieloves is still probably right up a three-year-old’s alley, simply due to its preying on the in-diapers crowd’s fondness for bright colors, balloons, bubbles, simplistic jingles, and linguistic gibberish. That kids may take to the boisterous attitude and dim dialogue encouraged by this saga, however, doesn’t alter the fact that, by avoiding any attempt to deliver a message of some sort—about friendship, say, or teamwork, or sharing, or anything—the film eschews enlightening and educating in favor of superficially stimulating, and in the most banal, obnoxious way imaginable. Haphazardly mixing and melding elements from the aforementioned properties as well as Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Dora the Explorer, The Oogieloves proves devoid of any intellectual or creative inspiration, and only ever-so-slightly redeems itself by refusing to indulge in fart jokes. Meanwhile, naming a vacuum cleaner J. Edgar, and having the camera momentarily linger on a young blond girl’s ass, are bizarre and pointless concessions to adult chaperones, who will no doubt relate only to Schluufy, who’s luckily allowed to spend almost the entire runtime asleep.
- Nick Schager’s half-star review for that Oogieloves movie
Yeah I am on the fence.
Surgery prep starts tonight and i have a meeting in the afternoon. I have a chance to catch a 4pm show, not sure if I will. If something bad goes down I don’t want Oogieloves to be the last film I see in a theater (:
Keep a close eye on what your children buy at yard sales, suggests “The Possession,” a ho-hum exorcism chiller that tries to spice up a formulaic screenplay by converting a predominantly Catholic-fixated horror subgenre to Judaism. Very loosely “based on” a 2004 Los Angeles Times article by journo Leslie Gornstein about the eBay auction of a “dybbuk box,” this latest production from Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures falls in line with the outfit’s most instantly forgettable PG-13 fright fare, following the sturdy bow (and immediate collapse) of demonic possession thriller “The Devil Inside” earlier this year.
For those unfamiliar with Jewish folklore — and too impatient to wait for the film’s explanation, which doesn’t arrive until halfway through the running time — a dybbuk is a spirit lingering in the land of the living, often with the malicious intent of seeking a human host to latch onto. The unlucky victim in this case is preteen Em (Natasha Calis), younger daughter of a recently divorced couple in upstate New York, workaholic basketball coach Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and worrisome jewelry designer Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick). It’s Dad who allows Em to buy the suspicious box without realizing the danger lurking inside and first notices the symptoms of possession, while Mom writes it off as adolescent angst brought on by parental separation.
Things are bad enough when Em stabs Clyde’s hand with a fork during breakfast and lays a beatdown on a bratty classmate at school. Once she devours raw meat from the refrigerator and then enacts toothy torture on Stephanie’s well-meaning dentist boyfriend (Grant Show), it becomes evident to all that help is seriously needed. Enter Tzadok (Hasidic rap and reggae artist Matisyahu making his acting debut), the devout but eccentric son of a rabbi who offers aid and a spiritual solution when no one else will.
Screenwriters Juliet Snowden and Stiles White (“Knowing”) and director Ole Bornedal (“Nightwatch”) save Tzadok’s flashy exorcism setpiece for the film’s climax, leaving the majority of the screen time to alternate between the tepid scares generated by Em’s antics and the thinly sketched drama of Clyde and Stephanie’s broken marriage. The couple’s older daughter, Hannah (Madison Davenport), spends half her time as a stereotypically sassy teen and the rest in hysterics over what’s happening to her little sister.
For Morgan and Sedgwick, there’s little either can do to invigorate characters designed strictly to serve the plot. In contrast with many possession films, there’s not even an attempt to explore the protagonists’ religious convictions, or lack thereof. They’re just understandably upset about their daughter. The showiest material falls to young Calis (a regular on the ill-fated TV adaptation of “The Firm”), who delivers the film’s creepiest moments as Em smoothly switches back-and-forth from demonic force to a child frightened by what’s inside her.
Tech credits are fine by genre standards, though special mention should be made of “moth wrangler” Brad MacDonald, the man responsible for handling 2,000 insects during a particularly skin-crawling sequence that starts with Hannah brushing her teeth. This also may be the rare horror film to boast a “Judaic Consultant” credit (Rabbi Shmuel Birnham has the honors, for the record).
“The Possession” was shot under the working title “Dybbuk Box” with a clear mission to expand that spirit’s pop-culture status (dybbuks previously factored into 2009’s forgettable “The Unborn” and a more enduring Yiddish stage play, “The Dybbuk”). But the more generic final title better suits a wan effort with nothing genuinely new to offer.
Camera (Technicolor), Dan Laustsen; editors, Eric L. Beason, Anders Villadsen; music, Anton Sanko; music supervisor, Linda Cohen; production designer, Rachel O’Toole; art director, Nigel Evans; set decorator, Louise Roper; costume designer, Carla Hetland; sound (Dolby Digital/Datasat/SDDS), Mark Noda; supervising sound editor, Jussi Tegelman; re-recording mixers, Marti D. Humphrey, Chris M. Jacobson; visual effects supervisor, Adam Stern; visual effects, Artifex Studios; stunt coordinators, Scott Ateah, Paul Wu; line producer, Shawn Williamson; assistant director, Gary Blair Smith; casting, Nancy Nayor, Maureen Webb. Reviewed at Arclight Cinemas, Hollywood, Aug. 28, 2012. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 91 MIN.
Yeah, I think “Dybbuk Box” would have been a much better title. I would like to see it, but chances are I won’t end up ever getting around to it. Normally, I would see this with my fiancee, but I’ll bet like a hundred bucks there’s gonna be vomit in this, and she can’t watch movies with vomit.
but Oogieloves that did under 150 grand (with an average of 47 dollars per screen, under a thousand for a wide release is disappointing).
I’m seeing “Branded” at my local multiplex tomorrow :).
Just came back from seeing “Branded”…..
Hardest review I’ll ever have to write. Stay tuned…..
I saw Lawless last night and For a Good Time, Call… earlier in the week at a free screening. Loved then both. I’ll be attending another free screening of For a Good Time, Call… next week, because I don’t see a reason not to and it beats paying ten bucks to see a movie I already saw.
I wish Branded would play in my town. It looks to be a truly massive clusterfuck of Battlefield Earth proportions.
One audience unfriendly film and a straight-to-DVD thrown up on screens for the hell of it a poor weekend make However this is the first BoxOfficeMojo where I really start to think about the conclusions being made, that since these movies did poorly, the content isn’t ‘worthwhile.’
I read a good review of The Words, but I notice on MUBI it has a 2 star rating. Perhaps people are assuming its bad because of the context, or perhaps its really bad. I don’t know (anyone who has seen it feel free to speak up). I’m actually interested in seeing it, in fact I think it would make an amusing double feature with Ruby Sparks (but I’m not sure that’s still playing here, natch).
Anyway that all may just be gut contrarianism still acting up inside me. “This week nobody liked the movies, OBVIOUSLY THEY’RE UNDERRATED!” Seen too many Weather Man like instances of shit that was rejected that turned out to be actually good.
A lot of mainstream filmgoers will defend their choices with
well, it made a lot of money.
If I were to say The Island is a better movie than any of the Transformers flicks
the response might be an incredulous “But The Island completely bombed.”
As someone who often sees films that fail at the box office, I suppose I may be sensitive to this issue
I went to a press screening of the Words and it felt too good to be a TV movie and not good enough to be a first-run feature. Not even close to being good, but somewhat watchable.
I agree with Dennis that people tend to look at box office as the determining factor in a film’s quality.
If that were the case, so many films that started slow in the past would be DOA, like Bonnie and Clyde.
Hopefully, there will be a way to break this cycle.
Margaret kind of bucked this trend after come critics kept the film in conversation. It was poorly reviewed and had bad word of mouth due to the production’s length and the fights over the editing process. The shortened version played badly to audiences and the studio disowned the project. The longer version is richer and, it may not be everyone’s idea of a great film, it still tries to accomplish something without the usual lectures.