Archive for bullies

Let Me In

Posted in Drama, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on September 17, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1983 Los Alamos, New Mexico, a police detective (Elias Koteas) enters the hospital room of a disfigured man and tries to question him about a recent murder for which he is a suspect. The detective concludes by telling the suspect that he will catch whoever else he is in league with; the detective is then called to take a phone call outside the room by the desk nurse and is told that the man’s daughter is downstairs. While he is on the phone, a scream is heard, and the detective finds the suspect has fallen out of the window to his death.

Flashback two weeks earlier, Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is an unhappy and lonely 12-year-old boy, who is neglected by his divorcing parents, and continually harassed at school by bullies. One evening, when Owen is alone in the courtyard of his apartment complex he is approached by a girl who has moved into the apartment next door name Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz). Abby tells Owen that they cannot be friends, but regardless Abby and Owen grow closer, seeing each other at night in the courtyard, and start communicating by Morse code through the walls of their apartments. At school the main bully, Kenny (Dylan Minnette), scars Owen with an antenna rod; when Abby finds out about this she tells him to defend himself and she will help him if needed.

Meanwhile, Abby’s “father”, Thomas (Richard Jenkins), occasionally goes out to kill local residents in order to acquire blood for the vampiric Abby. During his first murder, he accidentally spills the blood and returns home empty handed; a furious Abby leaves the apartment and then kills and feeds on a jogger who lives in their neighborhood. Abby continues developing her relationship with Owen. One night, Thomas hides in the back of a high school student’s car in order to later subdue him, but the student picks up a passenger, completely altering Thomas’s plans. While the driver stops at a gas station, Thomas subdues the passenger, and tries to flee. He crashes the car in a nearby ditch and becomes trapped inside. Thomas douses his face with acid so that his connection to Abby will not be discovered. He is taken to the hospital; when Abby learns of this from a radio broadcast, she climbs up outside his window to see him. Thomas leans forward to offer his throat to Abby, who drinks his blood. Thomas passes out and falls to his death. The detective later gradually learns of Thomas’s connection to Abby.

The next day on a school outing to a local frozen pond in a park Kenny threatens to push Owen into an ice hole. Owen defends himself with a metal pole splitting Kenny’s ear. Also while at the park, a body is discovered under the ice. Later, Owen takes Abby to an abandoned area of their apartment complex where he cuts his finger to make a blood pact with her. Abby is drawn to the blood falling to the ground; she licks it up and Owen sees her vampiric form for the first time, but instead of attacking Owen, Abby runs away and attacks Virginia (Sasha Barrese), a woman in the complex park. Owen then confronts Abby at her apartment where Abby admits that she is a vampire. Owen also discovers that Thomas was not her father, but a man she has known since he was a boy. Meanwhile at the hospital, Virginia transforms into a vampire, but when a nurse draws the curtains, the daylight causes her to burst into flames, killing them both.

Abby visits one night while Owen’s mother (Cara Buono) is away. Owen opens the door for her and she tells him he needs to invite her in. He asks her why, so she enters without an invitation, which causes her to bleed heavily until he verbally acquiesces. The next morning, the detective finds Abby asleep in the bathtub, but Owen startles him, allowing Abby to grab him from behind. Abby kills the detective and starts to feed off him. Later, she is seen leaving in a taxi.

During an evening gym class, Kenny, his older brother Jimmy (Brett DelBuono), and their friends start a fire outside to distract authorities and clear out the swimming pool. Jimmy tells Owen that if he can hold his breath underwater for three minutes, then he will cut Owen’s cheek; if Owen cannot, Jimmy will poke out one of Owen’s eyes. As Owen is held underwater, chaos ensues as Abby slaughters the four bullies. Abby and Owen then make their escape.

Later, Owen travels on a train with Abby in a trunk beside him. They tap out brief messages to each other in Morse code as the film ends.

REVIEW:

It is not a secret that I hate remakes, but I do give a bit of a pass to those that are rehashing of a foreign film…still doesn’t mean I’m a fan of people not coming up with their own ideas, though.

This is where Let Me In comes along. Apparently, many critics nearly had this up for the major awards thanks to the strong performances of its young stars, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Grace Moertz.

I would be hard pressed to disagree with them. These two turn in performances rivaling many of today’s most talented thespians. In the day and age when it seems as if all the young talent goes to crappy movies *cough* Twilight franchise *cough*, it is nice to see that not all are brainwashed.

Hell, we’ve seen these two before. Moertz is no stranger to impressing audiences. You’ve seen her as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass. Smit-McPhee isn’t as well known, but he has had some time on the big screen. Next time you watch X-Men Origins: Wolverine, check him out in the beginning as young Logan.

It seems as if I just can’t get away from watching horror flicks involving vampires. I had no idea that this would involve them, but lo and behold, not too far into the flick, there is the vampire scene.

Strangely enough, though, it seems as if this film wants to downplay the vampiric activity and focus more on the relationship between the young leads as well as the whole bullying angle.

If this were a drama, I’d have no problem with that, but seeing as how this is supposedly a horror flick, I think they should have fond some way to give us more bloodshed.

Yes, I know that some of you don’t agree with me on that, but you’ll get over it. Also, I am aware that the only vampire we see is a 12-year-old girl (not counting the woman in the hosital that apparently got trned). Need I remind you of some of the things Kirsten Dunst did when she became a vampire in Interview with a Vampire or even the violent acts Hit Girl pulled off in Kick-Ass. I think she’s more than capable of handling herself in that department. It is the squeamish audiences who want to bitch and complain about everything that probably kept her from doing more.

I mentioned earlier that this is a remake of a foreign film, which it is, but that isn’t the source material. It appears that this is a book. So, perhaps the violence isn’t there. Even so, personally, I would have liked to have seen more killing and less random talking. If I wanted to see that, I’d watch some crap on the CW, but that’s just my opinion.

Let Me In impressed me with how well made it was, but for every point in won for the surprise factor, it lost because of this uninteresting plot or pacing or whatever it was that just could not keep my attention. Having said that, I know there are more than a few of you out there that would eat this kind of film up, and more power to you. While this wasn’t for me, I’d recommend it to anyone that wanted to give it a shot.

3 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

Bridge to Terabithia

Posted in Family, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

10-year-old Jesse “Jess” Aarons is an aspiring artist living in a financially struggling family. 10-year-old Leslie Burke has just moved to Lark Creek and is the new girl at Jess’s school who has had trouble making friends at school and yet is full of joy and wonder with a vast imagination. She enters a running event which she wins, despite her classmates calling it a “boys-only” race. At first, Jess is quite sour about this and wants nothing to do with Leslie, but Leslie’s persistence in meeting him soon pays off, and the two become very close friends. Their friendship starts when Leslie offers Jess a piece of Juicy Fruit gum on the bus, and he accepts. Jess shares his secret love of drawing with Leslie. Together they venture into the woods, where they swing across a creek on a rope and find an abandoned tree house on the other side. Here, the two friends invent a new world they call Terabithia, and it comes to life through their eyes as they explore together. Reflections of their world abound in Terabithia: in particular, the gigantic ogre bears a face that mysteriously resembles that of feared bully Janice, who even charges younger children “admission” to the ladies’ room. Leslie gives Jess an unexpected birthday present, an art kit, and he gives Leslie an adorable, scruffy terrier puppy, Prince Terrien, in return, much to both of the children’s happiness. Leslie thanks Jess by hugging him, revealing her secret affections towards him. Jess is a bright but not too verbal youngster, and his new-found friendship is a critical step in helping him blossom as a young man, also improving and renewing his strained relationship with his overworked mother and aloof, nuts-and-bolts father.

On the next trip to Terabithia later that day, it is noted that the river beneath the rope has begun to swell and there is increasing tension as Leslie and Jess swing across the creek, their feet brushing the water. Indistinct images of foreboding begin to occur to the viewer.

At the end of a particular visit to Terabithia, Jess watches Leslie run back to her house (the same way he would watch his music teacher, Ms. Edmunds) realizing he has fallen in love with her. Early the next morning, Ms. Edmunds, who has noticed Jess’s artistic interests, calls to invite him on a field trip to an art museum. He makes an effort to ask his mother’s permission; she is half-asleep and doesn’t actually say anything, but he is so eager to go that he assumes she has agreed. He has a crush on the beautiful and personable teacher and does not want to share the trip with Leslie; he merely looks at her home as they drive by.

When he returns, his father and mother are worried sick, not knowing where he has been all day. He hears the horrifying news that Leslie has died trying to swing across the rain-swollen creek. He learns that the rope broke and Leslie fell in, hit her head on something – possibly a rock – which knocked her unconscious, and drowned. Jess is deeply grieved. He and his parents visit the Burke family home to “pay their respects.” There Bill Burke tells him of her being in love with him as well as thanking him for being a very good friend to her since she had trouble making friends at her own school. At school Gary and Scott insult Leslie’s death with Jess beating them up as a result from fighting their monster selves at Terabithia.

Jess feels overwhelming guilt for Leslie’s death, but his father consoles him to keep their intense friendship alive for her sake.—even considering giving him the dog, Prince Terrien, which Jess refuses to accept. So Jess re-imagines Terabithia and builds a bridge across the river to welcome a new ruler. He invites his sister, Maybelle Aarons to enter Terabithia; she is delighted because she was previously denied any opportunity to enter. She and Jess bring back Terabithia in even greater splendor, Jess as king and his sister as princess.

REVIEW:

This is a great family film, although it does have a bit sad turn, remnant of My Girl, near the end.

The imaginary land of Terabithia and its various characters is stunning. It is just a shame that we don’t really get a good look at the land until the very end of the film.

The acting by the young actors in this film may be better than their adult co-stars. Outside of the kids, the only acting highlight would be Zooey Deschanel as the music teacher, but then again, Zooey always lights up the screen, no matter what her role.

Apparently, this was based on a book. I had never heard/read it, so I can’t tell you the differences, but I’m sure there are some.

I’m sure we all remember getting bullied at some point when we were younger. This film takes it to an extreme level, but it does capture the bullying without sugar coating it.

This is a good family movie and I give it a high recommendation.

4 out of 5 stars