(llll) - It's still unknown just how much of this is staged, and elements of it obviously are, but that doesn't take away from the fascinating story that unfolds. A young man in New York takes up an online correspondence with an eight-year-old girl and her family in Michigan, which leads to phone calls, but after several months he decides to stop by. There is genuine suspense as to what he might actually find when he does, and the movie's an interesting expose about what is real online.
I AM LOVE
(ll) - Every once in a while I'll see a movie that critics love and throw on their Top Ten lists, and then I see it, and I'm baffled. Seriously? Cinematography hides many narrative sins in this drama about a wealthy Italian family. Tilda Swinton is very good here, doing all her dialogue in Italian with a Russian accent, but it's the type of movie where the camera lingers on a staircase, or follows the butler as he takes the soup from the kitchen to the dining room, or watches the wind blow through some grass for a few seconds. It means a movie with about an hour of story is stretched to two hours so we can have atmosphere. It also means we're an hour in before I said to my wife, "I think this is where the plot begins." Then the plot goes through some clumsy machinations, and while the soundtrack said we're ending on a triumphant note, my head said "That's it?" Maybe this was supposed to be homage to the Italian soap-opera style. If so, then I know I'm not missing out on anything for having never watched an Italian soap-opera.
(l1/2) - This sat on the shelf for almost four years. It took marketers that long to figure out how to fool just enough moviegoers into giving it a chance. Renee Zellweger, who was doing better four years ago than she is now, plays a social worker who rescues a girl from her seemingly abusive parents. Jodelle Ferland, the go-to spooky girl of movies like Silent Hill, at first seems a victim haunted by otherworldly forces. Eventually though the "eerie" truth comes out, but there are no scares here. It does have the usual jump-scare jolt attempts (aah! the phone suddenly rang!) but none of them work. It's amusing to watch a pre-hangover Bradley Cooper act like bees are coming out of his ear, but really, there's nothing here worth remembering beyond its general stupidity.