Ouija (White, 2014)

Scary opening albeit horror cliche extravaganza (like a 2 sec “ohhh” to remind us that she’s scared and the dusty old doll found in an attic). Movie has decent teen victim perfs esp the UK’s Ovilia Cooke.  Most of the death scenes are effective but completely derivative.  Horrible score.  Barely makes it above water after complete indulgence in said cliches. ** / ***** Continue reading Ouija (White, 2014)

Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967–2014)

A belated RIP to Philip Hoffman.  From 1991 to 1996,  Hoffmann made his way through stage and screen, completing roles in both Twister (Davis, 1996); and as Scotty in Boogie Nights (PT Anderson, 1997), in both as tension breaking teddy bears. It’s as “Allen” in Todd Solondz’ divisive Happiness (Solondz, 1998), one of the best films of the 1990s, when he lands on me and not for the faint of heart that. His death coincided with an important birthday of mine and I now realize he has a patch on the quilt (so to speak) of my conscience and on that … Continue reading Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967–2014)

Ray (Hackford, 2004)

Just re-watched the last half of this very popular 2004 Ray Charles biopic.  Jamie Foxx, as usual, delivers a good performance as Charles.  My problem with the film as with other Academy favorite biopics of recent years is that if you slap a big star on a popular figure you tend to devolve to basic convention in the film making, which happens here.  It’s a by the book bio (no pun intended) pic.  I would rather have seen it as an actual biography in this case.  The editing corrodes to an exact timeframe in the protagonist’s life.  Ray Charles had … Continue reading Ray (Hackford, 2004)