This intriguing drama takes on some darkly resonant themes with such an oddly bright and cheerful tone that it forces the audience to pay attention. As it continues, the terrific Rosamund Pike uses conflicting emotions to explore the aftermath of a horrific assault. But while there's growing suspense in the plot, the bigger tension comes from the viewers themselves as they wonder whether it's going to unravel into melodramatic rubbish.
Pike plays Miranda, a cleanliness-obsessed nurse with ambition to get a better job and move to a bigger house, partly to stop her single dad (Nick Nolte) from worrying about her. Then a nurse colleague (Rumer Willis) sets her up on a blind date. William (Shiloh Fernandez) is flirty and sexy, but after he brutally attacks her he goes to prison, leaving Miranda to put her life back together. Surprisingly, she takes a proactive approach that includes contacting William and trying to achieve some sort of reconciliation. Miranda's father is horrified by this, especially when William is released on parole and turns up to help her fix up her house.
This insinuating set-up keeps the audience guessing whether this is a complex look at how people wrestle with the fall-out from a violent rape, or perhaps either Miranda or William are up to something more nefarious. So whether it's sparking hope or dread, it's relatively gripping. And Pike is superb as a quirky woman who continually faces her fears. This includes both connecting with William and trying to befriend her dad's scary dog Benny. "Hating him only hurts me," she says pointedly. Nolte is reliably solid as her wheezy, concerned dad. And Fernandez is utterly magnetic as the mercurial William. All of the characters are defined by rather simplistic filmmaking shorthand, but the actors give them plenty of weight.
Continue reading: Return to Sender Review
A young nurse training to work in surgery is encouraged to go on a blind date with her friend's single male friend Kevin. However, he doesn't seem at all how he was described when he shows up on her doorstep. Locking the door of her house once inside, he savagely assaults her before fleeing. It's only later, when a kind-faced man with a bunch of flowers arrives (the real Kevin), that she realises she had let a dangerous stranger into her home named William Finn. While being questioned by police, the nurse recalls seeing her attacker once before and he is soon rounded up and thrown behind bars. The attack has left her shellshocked, struggling to concentrate on her job and occasionally giving in to frenzy. She decides to start writing to William, but every letter is returned without being read. He eventually agrees to her visiting, and appears to show remorse just as the nurse appears to show forgiveness. She hasn't told anyone of her intentions, and her father is left terrified as she continues to speak to the brute as a free man.
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Flight 7500 is a plane flying from Los Angeles to Japan, a trip that should take approximately ten hours. Of the many people who board the flight, one is a cocky student who debunks the idea that electronic devices should be turned off during a flight; and one is a couple whose only hand luggage is a mysterious wooden box.
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At only 15, Cherie Currie (Fanning) is overwhelmed when Joan Jett (Stewart) asks her to front her band The Runaways. With the encouragement of music promoter Kim Fowley (Shannon), Cherie becomes an iconic presence on stage and off, propelling the group into previously uncharted territory as female rockers. And while Joan and the other bandmates (Maeve, Taylor-Compton and Shawkat) take the lifestyle in their stride, Cherie is continually drawn back to her big sister (Keough) and absent parents (O'Neal and Cullen).
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From the 90-minute Abercrombie and Fitch ad that was 2003's Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the abysmal The Hills Have Eyes in 2006, classic horror films have been turned into exploitive, empty filler for the benefit of the box office. Zombie, on the other hand, explores the mythology of the original Halloween by psychologically deconstructing Michael Myers, instead of exploiting the original idea of "The Shape" -- the personified evil of the original. Zombie's film opens with the Myers family; of course, this is a Zombie film, so they are a white trash, long haired clan whose cursing would put sailors to shame. In this Halloween outing, we see Myers' transformation into the infamous serial killer.
Continue reading: Halloween (2007) Review
The 'tweenybopper moviegoer is unlikely to be savvy to the rote, one-dimensional nature of clichés like catty in-crowd queen bees, cardboard cut-out dream boys admired from a distance, and underdog cliques of pretty, outcast Everygirls -- but that's no excuse for building a whole picture around such threadbare characters and the inevitable plots that go with them.
Yet that's exactly what happens in "Sleepover," the latest example of how Hollywood can strip a halfway decent idea of any originality by saddling it with tedious stereotypes and the false hope of easy, prepackaged solutions for young girls' adolescent problems.
It's a comedy in which four "average" junior high girls (Alexa Vega, Mika Boorem, Scout Taylor-Compton and Kallie Flynn Childress), typically nervous about being accepted, are challenged by four shallow, cruel, fashionista cheerleader types (Sara Paxton and three indistinguishable minions) to a one-night, sneak-out-of-the-house scavenger hunt. The winners get to eat lunch at the "cool" table when they go on to high school next year.
Continue reading: Sleepover Review