Monthly Archives: May 2013

Yes sir, I liked it: InSight

I really don’t like ghosts or ghost stories. Ghostbusters left me traumatized for weeks.  I was convinced that Slimer was going to ooze out of the faucet in the bathroom. I kid you not. Lady in White? Freaked me out. Poltergeist? Viewed the one and only time.

I think my thing about ghosts is that they can’t be killed. You can kill a vampire. You can kill a werewolf. Zombies? Them too. Ghosts? Nope. All you can do is move and hope they don’t follow. For this reason, there are many movies in the ghost/horror genre that I have avoided over the years. I rarely even read ghost stories.

But….

Oddly enough, I recently watched a ghostie-type movie that I enjoyed enough to pause so I could take notes and also to suggest to a couple of people.  This rare gem is titled InSight and stars Sean Patrick Flanery and Natalie Zea.

Zea plays an ER nurse named Kaitlyn. One night a stabbing victim is brought into the hospital. As she flatlines on the stretcher, the victim suddenly opens her eyes and speaks to Kaitlyn, saying “he loved me”—just as the defibrillator is applied. The electrical current zaps Kaitlyn too. Both die, but Kaitlyn is revived after a minute. Also, no one else remembers the girl regaining consciousness.

Pretty much from that point on, Kaitlyn starts seeing visions of the dead girl’s final moments. It’s almost like she’s experiencing memories that aren’t her own. Honestly, the way the spirit of the girl (or her memories at least) keep haunting, Kaitlyn, I was reminded of  Prince Hamlet being led on by the ghost of his father. That sort of all-encompassing thing. You know… That said, Kaitlyn takes it upon herself to solve the murder even if that means getting in the way of Flanery’s police detective who is also investigating. The two eventually team up, and away we go. [Special Note: I love finding ways to work Hamlet into a conversation. This one practically fell into my lap. You’re welcome.]

I’ve had a sweet spot in my heart for Sean Patrick Flanery ever since he appeared on the scene as Young Indiana Jones. I had several episodes of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles recorded on VHS once upon a time. About a year ago, I decided to rewatch some of these episodes from my adolescent years thinking they’d be just as awesome. Um…no. They are all fairly cheesy. But whatever. I had a great time watching them back in the day, and that’s all that matters. The point is that I’m always happy to see Mr. Flanery working.

I guess the best way to describe the movie is to call it a psychological ghost story. There were a few scary moments, but like Kaitlyn, I was all about finding out who the killer was. From early on, I was sucked into the story and held on for the ride. The movie had a cool noirish feel to it in places. For the most part this seemed to work.

InSight surprised me. I was expecting to watch a procedural murder mystery, and it turned out to be so much more. Just when I thought I had things figured out, another twist would come along, and I’d be back to square one. For that and other reasons, the movie was most enjoyable. I’d suggest it for a nice evening in. Also, Christopher Lloyd has a small role. That’s a bonus on its own.

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Fun Fact:  According to IMDB.com, the movie was shot in 15 days. That’s pretty groovy.

“I didn’t know he was in this!”

You know what I love? Wait. Don’t answer that. There is a really long list that is always in flux.  Let me start over.  Ahem…

Do you know what I love when I watch an older movie (by older, I mean it has been around for longer than 5 years)? I love seeing a now-popular actor/actress who at the time of said movie only played a small or supporting role. It’s like seeing them before they were them!

Case in point: Cellular. Though this movie came out in 2004, I had yet to see it until this past weekend. What can I say? I just kept putting it off. Anyways, there I was watching Chris Evans (yum) driving all over town trying to stay on the phone with and save a kidnapped Kim Basinger (where is she these days?). And who was the bad guy in the movie? Jason Statham.

I had no idea he was in this film. None at all. He tends to play sort of an antihero role in his films for the most part. He’s the bad boy you just love cause you know he’s not all that bad. Well in this film, he’s a total baddie. His character also had little to no personality. Really, he just looked threatening and used a passable American accent. Kudos for the accent work, btw!

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe everyone else who saw Cellular back almost 10 years ago already knew who Statham was. By 2004, he had a number of movie hits already under his belt. Whatever. I enjoyed the surprise casting (well surprise for me apparently).

How about you, fearless readers? Have you ever “discovered” a familiar face in a movie from several years back? If so, who/what?

Beardless Vikings and Other Strange Tales

I’m going to just come out with it. Blood of Beasts was meh. Actually, it was more like bleh.  I know that’s harsh, but yeah.  Originally, I had decided to give Jane March a second chance seeing as I was very critical of her performance in Grimm’s Snow White.  For her part in BoB, she was okay. The rest of the movie however…

BoB is a rather bland retelling of Beauty and the Beast only it’s set during the good old Viking times of olde. I think it’s Vikings.  None of the men have facial hair(!!!!), but almost all of them have on bad wigs. Baaaad wigs, I tell you!  Also, their waterfront Viking village looks like it may have been plundered from the Ewoks.

The “Beauty” of this story is played by Jane March. She is Freya, the Viking king’s daughter. It’s a tough world for Freya. She’s mourning the loss of her true love Agnar and at the same time, she’s having to deal with being promised to the village’s resident bully, Sven.

The “Beast” would be this bear/wolf man who lives on this distant land that the village men keep trying to reclaim. The costume for this guy does work. It’s like he’s wearing a bear head hoodie of sorts. This gives the appearance that his actual face is coming out of the mouth of a bear. Also, he’s got Darth Maul makeup on, so it’s kind of disturbing—which I gather is what the filmmakers were going for. Kudos!

So at one point, the Viking men do battle with the Beast (or as they refer to him, Odin’s Beast). Sven being the all-around groovy guy that he is, flees in fear and leaves the king to the mercy of the Beast.  Of course Freya bravely travels to the Beast’s lair to beg her father’s release. She strikes a deal with the beast man to take her father’s place, and he accepts. You know the rest of the story.

While I’m glad the filmmakers tried to empower Freya by making her a Viking princess who has her own armor and can totally wield a sword, they failed to take into account one key point. Jane March is a really skinny chick. The armor sort of swallows her, and I have no idea how she’s seeing out of her helmet.

One nice thing in this movie is that the story is split between the goings on at Chez Beast and Viking Village.  Justin Whalin (I know!) plays Eric. He was injured during the initial Beast fight, and feels a lot of guilt for leaving the king behind. He’s also one of the first people to start to stand up to Sven (who has appointed himself mayor of the village people).

Plot pacing, however, does not save this film. Most of the costumes look like they were picked up from Party City. Also,pretty much all the characters are one-dimensional. The king, is a well-meaning idiot. Sven has one setting: tool. March, while way better than she was in Grimm’s Snow White, wasn’t exactly wowing me here. Her character just seemed blah. Also, I think it’s now a proven fact that March cannot conjure up real tears. Whalin’s the best thing in this so….yeah.

The story was so-so. Honestly, I was bored through most of the viewing. It’s a different take on the fairy tale—particularly the ending, so I give the movie points for that. However, I wasn’t a fan of the ending. Points rescinded. It’s worth a watch if you enjoy love stories without the chemistry or if you are a fan of strawberry jam being used for fake blood. Most of the action sequences use the shakey-cam effect. I’ve come to realize from my numerous B-movie viewings, that the shakey-cam is used when the budget won’t allow for well-choreographed action sequences. Enough already! I didn’t enjoy it, but maybe someone else will.

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Oh and sidenote: Justin Whalin!  Last I saw you was in Dungeons and Dragons (yeesh). Ye of the promising acting career post TV’s Lois & Clark; where hath you been? Cause you shouldn’t have been here.