Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wasting Time on DVD Duds

Last night was a DVD Double Feature for my hubby and me as we took a look at "The Woman in Black" and "This Means War", both new releases on loan from the library. 
"The Woman in Black" is a supposedly scary movie starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) as a widower and father of a young boy who is sent by his law firm to a creepy old mansion on a piece of land that is inaccessible when the tide is in (but could be by boat? Not sure... they didn't really use that piece of the story like they could have). The grounds around the place are marshy, damp, foggy and very eerie. The town is haunted by a ghost (a woman in black, no less) who kills their children. Yet they all still live there. Knowing their children could die at any time, they all still live there. Go figure.

I got a little mixed up with the story of the ghost and her motivation, probably because I don't really "do" scary movies and I was busying myself with other things while watching. (A little peek into my psyche: normally I put on a scary movie and don't make it through the first half-hour. Or I put it on for other people to watch and then I leave after the first little bit, later asking them to tell me what happened. This time I stuck it out, but since my son and husband kept commenting throughout, it wasn't as intense as it could have been.)

I did figure it out, though, later, when I sat down to scream every time something appeared where it shouldn't. I screamed quite a few times. It's what I do. My son kept saying "Mother!" in an exasperated voice. Which made me laugh. I tried to hold it in, but I startle easily. Even my husband startles me regularly without trying, so this movie? Yep. Brought out the screams.

It's not really as creepy, spooky or scary a movie as it tries to be, but it does have a lot of startle moments. By the end, though, at the climactic scene where Radcliffe is trying to help the ghost leave and she freaks out and flies at him a couple of times screaming (oh, sorry, was that a spoiler?), I wasn't screaming anymore. I was just curious about him and why he looked more like Kristen Stewart than a man who was being attacked by a ghost! 
Radcliffe is only an okay actor. I never really felt sold on him as Harry Potter, though by the last two of those films I felt he was improving. However, in this movie he just looks serious. And tiny. The man is very small, and unfortunately his facial expressions aren't very convincing. When he has any. We kept saying how this man must not have any fear! He was in this house, alone, all night, and scary things kept happening and he kept seeing things (a hand on a window pane, a rocking chair moving by itself, etc.) and he would go investigate and then just go on with looking through the owners' papers. It was odd. He hardly said a word. Maybe that was done in an effort to create a certain atmosphere. It didn't work. 

Oh, but the creepy dolls? Totally freaky. especially the clown one. *shudder* 

The second movie, "This Means War" is a completely different story. It's the story of two lifelong best friends who just happen to be business partners. Their business? Assasins. Yep. Just like that we've entered a fantasy land. They both just happen to meet and fall for the same girl, played by Reese Witherspoon. She shines, as always, onscreen. She's funny, adorable and authentic, mostly. Her one bad bad bad character choice? Having Chelsea Handler as her best friend. Really. A girl this cute and likeable has a best friend who is trashy, rude, crude, vulgar and... wait. I'm just describing Chelsea Handler. She was (obviously) typecast as a version of herself, and she is just plain awful. She can't act, and her character was so over the top as to be completely unbelievable. Again, why Witherspoon's character would even spend time with her is beyond me. 

Chris Pine is fine as FDR (stupid choice of name, though) and Tom Hardy is okay as the other guy vying for her interest, Tuck. I had high hopes for this movie, as I like Pine a lot (Star Trek, anyone?) and I thought it could be funny. It wasn't. I did laugh about 4 times at various things, but overall it was just stupid. The side story about a Russian spy coming to kill the boys? Utterly predictable. For that matter, the entire last 40 minutes was utterly predictable. Every single thing. Annoyingly, utterly predictable. No surprises and the end wasn't even fulfilling, because by then, who cares? 

I also was disappointed that there was so much sexuality-- I mean, not that it was unexpected, but I really hoped they wouldn't go there-- especially after the guys promised each other not to. So, no one's word means anything anymore? Yep. 

The real question is why I sat through it and didn't walk away. I don't have a good answer. We all make bad decisions, sometimes. Watching "This Means War" was one of mine.

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