Custom Search




banner2

banner3

banner3

banner2


Annabelle &

Gone Girl

October 9, 2014

Annabelle (**) • R

The pre-credits sequence from last year’s surprise horror hit The Conjuring had all the earmarks of what looked to be a good feature film idea, should the filmmakers choose to expand it. That sequence, actually more chilling than anything else in The Conjuring, dealt with a terrorizing demonic doll going by the moniker of Annabelle. And now with the success of The Conjuring we finally have the feature film version of Annabelle, which certainly makes a textbook case for less being more.

If warmed over, half-baked horror clichés are your thing then the film is certain to be your cup of tea. When I say cliché, that should be with a capital C. It’s all over the film, all the way down to the fact that the film is set during the heady days following the Manson family murders in the summer of 1969, as if there’s some correlation between the purported connection of Manson to satanism and the ceramic doll known as Annabelle. Puhleeeezz!

The main character in this hum-drum horror mishmash is Mia (Annabelle Wallis, and you can bet that character name is a reference to Rosemary’s Baby actress Mia Farrow.

Annabelle

How Clever!). Mia has just given birth to a baby girl named Leah and is quickly diagnosed with postpartum depression in spite of the fact that I’m pretty sure that precise terminology was not known in 1969, but I digress.

At any rate, Mia is married to medical student John (Ward Horton). John’s idea of shaking Mia out of her postpartum baby blues is to purchase wide-grinning ceramic doll Annabelle, since Mia seems to have some sort of thing for creepy looking dolls. It isn’t long before the young couple’s elderly neighbors are murdered by what is apparently a satanic cult. Of course, those pesky home invaders with their inside connection to Satan make the mistake of leaving behind a demon of some sort, which eventually makes it way into the form of Annabelle. Or so we’re supposed to believe.

Mia eventually befriends the owner of a local occult bookstore, Evelyn (Alfre Woodard, who definitely makes one wonder what she’s doing in a film of this low caliber). Evelyn’s character is written into the script for one reason and that’s so she can educate Mia about what’s really going on since Mia seems to be so ridiculously clueless. You know it’s all going to be downhill from there and that’s exactly where it goes.

The basic problem with Annabelle is a simple one. It just isn’t scary enough, often enough. There are maybe a good three or four effective scenes and that’s about it. Though I had problems with The Conjuring, especially in its final section, it’s a more superior and effective film than Annabelle.

That’s really too bad because the framework for a good film was there for Annabelle. The trouble, however, is that somewhere between scripting and execution it was lost. A good example of what happens when studios rush to cash in on the latest craze: a film that’s likely to please few discerning horror fans.

Gone Girl (*** ½) • R

It must be said that on its own terms, director David Fincher’s rousing film Gone Girl is one of the best movies you’re likely to see this year. Forget about the source material it’s based on, as a movie of its own accord it’s an astoundingly entertaining film. It also doesn’t hurt matters that Fincher’s film is also a fine example of how to adapt a beloved novel without sacrificing any of the ingredients that made the novel so successful. I dare say that some of the elements that made Gillian Flynn’s novel so entrancing in their literary incarnation work even better in their cinematic context. The film is that good. It’s filmmaking of the highest order and a sure-fire movie high that so many of those who love film have been starving for far too long this calendar year. The wait is over and Gone Girl is the cure.

In case you haven’t heard, Gone Girl is a densely plotted piece of work with an unconventional twist making it extremely difficult to recap the film’s basic story without giving too much away.

Pike (postser) & Affleck in Gone Girl

Gillian Flynn adapted her own best-selling work for the screen and has done an extraordinary job of keeping the book’s delicate balance of twisty plot turns and razor sharp observations on the state of married life in the 21st century intact. Who would have known that Flynn’s novel had so much cinematic potential?

Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne. Nick is a former NYC writer who finds himself unemployed as a result of the downsizing of print journalism in the mid 2000s. He chances to meet Amy (Rosamund Pike) who as a child was the subject of a series of children’s books. Their fairy tale romance and five year marriage is recounted via Amy’s voiceover as we hear her reciting passages from her diary. This is intercut with a separate story involving Amy’s disappearance and presumed murder at the hands of her husband, Nick, although he steadfastly proclaims his innocence. And that’s not all folks, not even by a longshot. To reveal anymore would only spoil the film’s multiple surprises—and there are many.

The casting here is impeccable, from lead actors Affleck and Pike all the way down to the casting of Tyler Perry in the role of Nick’s attorney and everyone in between. The film is also aided immeasurably by Fincher’s usual choice of technical co-conspirators that he chooses to employ steadily in the production of his films. These include Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (music), Kirk Baxter (editing) and Jeff Cronenweth (cinematography).  Their contributions only serve to heighten what is certain to be one of the seminal moviegoing experiences this year. See it and you’ll know whatI mean.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.

 

 

ARCHIVES:

The Equalizer & Happy 75th, GWTW!

The Drop • A Walk Among & The Tombstones

No Good Deed

The Identical

As Above, So Below & November Man

If I Stay & Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

The Giver • Code Black & The Expendables 3

Boyhood • Into The Storm & Magic In The Moonlight

Get On Up & Guardians Of The Galaxy

Lucy

Begin Again & The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Chef & Tammy

Transformers: Age Of Extinction

Jersey Boys

22 Jump Street & How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Fault Is In Our Stars & Edge Of Tomorrow

A Million Ways To Die In The West

X-Men: Days Of Future Past Maleficent

Godzilla • Summer Preview

Neighbors • Godzilla

The Amazing Spiderman 2 & Belle

The Other Woman & Brick Mansions

A Haunted House 2 & Heaven Is For Real

Oculus & Rio 2

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Noah

Divergent

The Grand Budapest Hotel & Veronica Mars

300: Rise of the Empire

Non-Stop & Son Of God

Three Days To Kill

Robocop & The Past • About Last Night

The Monuments Men

Labor Day

I, Frankenstein

Inside Llewyn Davis & Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Lone Survivor & August: Osage County

Her • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, Anchorman 2

The Hobbit: The Desolation & Of Smaug • Nebraska

Dallas Buyers Club & Oldboy & Out Of The Furnace

Philomena & The Book Thief

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Delivery Man

About Time & All Is Lost

Thor: The Dark World & 12 Years A Slave

Ender’s Game & Last Vegas

Bad Grandpa &The Counselor

Carrie & The Fifth Estate

Captain Phillips, Enough Said & Machete Kills

Gravity & Runner Runner

Metallica: Through The Never , Rush & Don Jon

Prisoners & Rush

Insidious: Chapter 2 • The Family & The Spectacular Now

Riddick

Getaway

The World’s End You’re Next

Lee Daniels’ The Butler • Jobs • Blue Jasmine

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters & Elysium

2 Guns

Blue Jasmine • The Wolverine & Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station • The Conjuring & The Way Way Back

Pacific Rim & Grown Ups 2

The Lone Ranger & Despicable Me 2

The Heat & White House Down

Monsters University, World War Z, Before Midnight & The East

Man of Steel & This Is The End

The Internship & The Purge

After Earth, Now You See Me & Frances Ha

The Hangover Part III Before Midnight

Star Trek: Into Darkness & Fast and Furious 6

The Great Gatsby & Frances Ha

Iron Man & Peeples

Pain and Gain & Mud

Oblivion & Lords of Salem

42 and Scary Movie 5

Evil Dead & Jurassic Park 3-D

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Tyler Perry’s Temptation

Spring Breakers Admission

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone • The Call

Oz: The Great And Powerful West Of Memphis

Jack the Giant Slayer The Last Exorcism, Part II

Dark Skies & Snitch

A Good Day to Die Hard & Safe Haven

Side Effects & Identity Thief

Bullet To The Head Warm Bodies


 

 

 

RenFaire2017.jpg   fanjoylabrenz.jpg

PO Box 1721 | Hickory, NC 28603 | 828.322.1036 | Office Hours: Mon. - Fri. 9am - 5pm | focusnews@centurylink.net

Home • Reviews: MoviesAdam Long • Editorials: FocusHave Chainsaw Will TravelSid On SportsBobbi GSara MawyerPeople PicturesPlaces/PeopleExtra Events Listing
Out Of Focus • News: Local NewsNational NewsHoroscopes • Info/Links: Staff/ContributorsList Of AdvertisersOnline AdvertisingOnline ClassifiedsContact UsFocus BLOGStoreLinks

© 1978 - 2017 Tucker Productions, Inc.