Film Friday #196

Carrie (1976)

Seventeen year-old Carrie (Sissy Spacek) is a total outcast at school. She lives with her abusive, fanatically religious mother (Piper Laurie)  and knows very little about the outside world. This is evidenced when she gets her period in the showers during gym class and is pelted with sanitary protection projects by her classmates, lead by uber-popular, Nancy (Chris Hargesen). Feeling guilty, Sue (Amy Irving) convinces her sweet, naive boyfriend, Tommy (William Katt) to take Carrie to the prom. At first Carrie is reluctant, suspecting a trick and terrified of how her mother will react but with some encouragement from her kindly gym teacher, Moss Collins (Betty Buckley), she starts to come around to the idea that she could actually enjoy a normal teenage experience. But unbeknownst to Sue, Nancy has a terrible prank planned, one that will unleash Carrie’s burgeoning telekinetic powers with devastating consequences. This entire film is taut with tension. As a viewer you constantly want Carrie to escape her horrible life and have a moment of happiness or a glimmer of a brighter future but there is never a moment where you aren’t aware that something bad is surely coming. Spacek gives a wonderfully haunting performance as timid, skittish Carrie, playing her wild-eyed and terrified but with a fighting spirit that is always fluttering just below the surface and Laurie is blisteringly tense and frightening as a woman so desperate for her daughter not to repeat her mistakes that she’s lost touch with reality. Paired up with Brian De Palma’s intense close-ups, strong religious symbolism and continuous tiny red hints of the carnage that is to come and you end up with a genuinely impressive horror classic. Blood imagery never looked so good. 4/5

You've got a little red on you...

You’ve got a little red on you…

Thanks for Sharing (2012)

Adam (Mark Ruffalo) is a recovering sex addict who has been on the wagon for five years, living a successful but monastic life in New York. He attends AA style group meetings with fellow addicts where he is sponsored by Mike (Tim Robbins), who is married and has had sex with no one but his wife (Joely Richardson) for fifteen years and in turn he acts as sponsor for Neil (Josh Gad) a doctor who has been court-ordered to attend meetings but is less than committed to his recovery. Mike encourages Adam to start dating again and when he meets charming cancer survivor, Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow) a party he decides he might be ready for a relationship. The only complication is that Phoebe is adamant that she doesn’t want to get involved with an addict. At the same time Mike’s estranged addict son, Danny (Patrick Fugit) has turned up claiming to have been clean for eight months and desperate to reconcile with his parents. Unfortunately Mike is skeptical and unwilling to cut Danny any slack. Neil continues to indulge his addiction until he meets fellow addict Dede (Alecia “Pink” Moore) who helps him to start to come to terms with his disease and what he’ll have to do to recover. As the lives of these three characters continue to collide it becomes obvious just how desperately close they all are to the edge  and how little it will take to throw even the most dedicated of survivors back into their old ways. I’m happy to come out and say I really enjoyed this film. It’s billed as a rom com but I really didn’t find it at all funny, which wasn’t a bad thing as addiction is a serious subject. Mike’s interactions with his son and his projection of his own guilt about his behaviour were fascinating and heartbreaking to watch and although Paltrow was as annoying as ever (playing a fitness fanatic obsessed with raw food – er, art imitating life much?) Phoebe and Adam’s relationship was really believable. I’m not sure why this film didn’t get more of a release, possibly the subject matter combined with attempting to market it as a comedy was a bad idea but if you’re at all interested in the psychology of addiction, recovery, relapse and how it affects relationships this is a good watch. 3.5/5

Snap out of it and eat a fucking burger!

Snap out of it and eat a fucking burger!

The Lost Future (2012)

In a post apocalyptic future humanity has all been wiped out by a virus that turns people into fast moving neanderthal zombies, leaving handfuls of survivors living a primitive existence. Savan (Corey Sevier) and Kaleb (Sam Clafin) are part of a tribe where Savan is the son of the chief and a great hunter and Kaleb is a bit of an outcast whose father disappeared while researching a cure for the virus. After Savan and Kaleb cross into the forbidden zone with some other hunters they bring the zombies to their doorstep threatening the tribe’s entire existence. The elders and most of the villagers board themselves up in a cave but Kaleb, Savan and Savan’s girlfriend, Dorel (Annabelle Wallis) are left outside and decide to head out and try to find Kaleb’s father. Instead they encounter, Amal (Sean Bean), who claims to have known Kaleb’s father and that he the discovered a “yellow powder” that cures the virus but that this was stolen by another group of survivors… but no one knows how to make more powder. Amal is convinced though that Kaleb will be able to figure this all out on the basis that he has read one book, which happens to be The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and that is how utterly ridiculous this film is. The dialogue is laughable, most of the story line makes little sense and it’s just lazy. I mean the the cure is just called “yellow powder”. It makes you think of something a bunch of teenage boys decided to film in their back garden over the summer. Clafin and Bean should both be ashamed. 0/5

I am so bored by my own performance I have decided to lie down and die

I am so bored by my own performance I have decided to lie down and die

The Motel Life (2012) 

Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff play Frank and Jerry Lee, two brothers who have had to fend for themselves since the death of their mother. When Jerry Lee, who lost his leg during an accident in his teens, comes home one evening in a state and confesses that he has killed a child in a hit and run. Frank decides they should make a run for it. Jerry Lee can’t cope with the pressure though and takes off, shooting himself in the leg. He ends up in hospital but when the cops come calling he begs Frank to make a plan to hit the road against his better judgement and with terrible consequences. This is a dark and gritty little indie film that takes you down a dark road. Although Frank is in some ways the more sensible of the brothers he is still a hard drinker who can’t hold down a job and hasn’t gotten over his occasional prostitute ex-girlfriend (Dakota Fanning). Jerry Lee on the other hand is just awash with frankly ridiculous decisions. While I liked the way they brothers communicated with Frank telling Jerry stories, which he illustrated and there were great performances from both leads and Jeff Bridges, who plays a kind of father figure the whole thing seemed to kind of go nowhere. I just couldn’t figure out quite what it wanted to say. I think the extremely brief running time really got in the way of a complete understanding of the characters and their motivations and that’s a real shame because there could have been so much more. 2.5/5

Where are we driving? Meh... I dunno.

Where are we driving? Meh… I dunno.

16 Comments

  1. Nice post, Abbi. Yes, to Sissie Spacek. Her white bony body looks great with the cherry juice, yes? It was fun to watch back in the day on the movie screen. The ‘Thanks for Sharing’ flick seems interesting enough. I think Mark R. is a sound actor.

    1. Abbi

      It’s such a haunting enduring image. I agree on Mark Ruffalo. I always enjoy watching him.

  2. theipc

    Emile Hirsch, eh…..? I’m not a fan….

    Emil Muzz on the other hand….

  3. 0/5 for The Lost Future sounds generous haha. Shame Thanks for Sharing seems to have been badly marketed.

    1. Abbi

      Let’s just say it would have made an excellent Shitfest entry.

  4. I haven’t heard of any of these films except for Carrie, and I hated that one :-p I know lots of people loved it, but I found it just sooo boring!

    1. Abbi

      It’s slow moving so I can see why it might not have been your cup of tea. I often end up with really random movies. It’s all the Netflix trawling.

  5. Despite being a horror fan I have never watched Carrie, the Exorcist or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I think I blame them for wiping out gothic horrors so I avoid ever giving them a chance.

    1. Abbi

      I’m generally not a horror fan so I can’t really weigh on on their impact on the genre but I respect you for standing by your principles.

  6. ABBI!! I am FINALLY here to catch up on all of the wonderful things I’ve missed!! Prepare for a notification storm!! Lol. The only one of these that I’ve seen is Carrie, which I am quite fond of. Glad you’re a fan, too! Nice reviews, lady! 🙂

    1. Abbi

      The best kind of storm is a notification storm! Especially from you! I really enjoyed Carrie although this week I watched the new one and my feelings are rather different.

      1. Ehhh the new one. Not terrible, just completely pointless. Classic Carrie will always win. 🙂

  7. Looks like a lot of bland viewing here! I must say, I am not a fan of the original Carrie. I watched the remake a week ago. While not fabulous, it was much better than I had expected after the flurry of awful reviews!

    1. Abbi

      I really didn’t love the new Carrie. I’m a big fan of Chloe Moretz but I think she was miscast. Review coming Friday.

  8. Wow! Another zero!

    All I’ve seen here is Carrie, which I love. : )

    Ugh! Gwyneth! *barf* : )

    1. Abbi

      Gwyneth is mega annoying but she actually doesn’t manage to ruin the whole film… which is nice.

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