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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dying To Belong

Okay the sticker on this cover makes me giggle. She did this movie about two years before winning her first Oscar. How many poor actors/actresses get big only to find their less than stellar films being re-released in order to make a quick buck.

Hilary Swank plays Lisa, a journalist urged by her mother to join a sorority. The sorority she joins is cruel and abusive to the pledges and Lisa begins to grow disgusted with the whole thing. Her roommate, Shelby (Jenna Von Oy) is desperate to get in and unfortunately that leads to her accidental death.

Lisa begins to investigate the sorority and learns that they have had other problems with hazing in the previous years. The sorority is determined to shut her up and the school and her mother refuse to believe in her.

Sadly, Dying to Belong is a typically mediocre teen film saved only by a roster of fairly talented actors. It has long boring moments that I presume are supposed to drum up suspense. The ending is just lame, there is not an ounce of tension or even a coherent explanation.

One of the things in the film that drove me nuts was the continued use of the song "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover." Don't get me wrong, it's one of my favorite Sophie B Hawkins song. But whoever covered for this films was just awful. To make things worse, everytime the main character has a love scene, this song shows up like an unwelcome guest.

The film also stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Sarah Chalke, and Tracy Middendorf.

A Cry For Help: The Tracey Thurman Story

This film is probably one of the more honest cinema portrayals of domestic violence I have ever seen. It is based off the true life story of Tracey Thurman, a woman who has was harrassed and stalked by her estranged ex husband, Buck Thurman. The police were no help in protecting her and her son, eventually she was stabbed by Buck in plain view of cops and neighbors. Buck only got 14 years in prison.

For further information on the case go to

Now back to the film, Nancy McKeon is amazing as Tracey. She is intense in the beating scenes and heartbreaking in the post stabbing scenes. She doesn't come off as some weak little woman afraid of life, but rather a fighter intent on survival.

Dale Midkiff is a shock in this, the only thing I can remember seeing him in was Pet Semartary. He's is truly scary as Buck Thurman. With another actor some of his lines could have come off as over the top. But in Midkiff's case, he gives viewers an honest look on how hard it can be to extradite yourself from a toxic relationship.

Warning the beating scenes are intense. Even I who have seen a lot of violent films was disturbed by the stabbing scenes. However I encourage people, especially women to see this film. Maybe Tracey's story can save other women from what happened to her.

The film also stars Bruce Weitz who currently plays Anthony on General Hospital.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th

His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th is hands down a must see for any Friday the 13th fan.

This documentary hosted by horror great Tom Savini, takes you behind the blood and gore of the series. It shows you how Jason was originated and how the series morphed into the legacy that it is today.

The film interviews nearly everyone involved in the series. You get to hear how each of the Jason actors made the role their own. You get to see former stars who haven't been on screen since their Friday the 13th roles. It was awesome to see how they aged and hear the reflections about being in the film series. However don't expect visits from Corey Feldman, Kevin Bacon, and Crispin Glover who declined to be a part of the documentary.

With the awesome interviews, you also get to see movie clips, and even a behind the scenes peek at the Halloween Horror Nights exhibit at Universal Studios. Which is definitely at the top of my vacation wish list for next year.

Whether you just recently became interested in Jason or have been a long time viewer of the series, watch this documentary. Stay tuned during the credits and you will get to see the actors reenacting bits from their roles, which is hysterical.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I Saw What You Did

And frankly it could not have been more boring. This weak '80s television remake of the much superior '65 William Castle film does not deliver.

The film stars Shawnee Smith and Tammy Lauren as Kim and Lisa, two recent friends who are spending the evening together. As with every '80s teen or horror film, Kim's dad is conveniently out of town.

Faced with the horrifying idea of a boy less and cable less the girl do what any normal teenage girls would do. Yes, call random people with the ominous phrase "I saw what you did, I know who you are."

Harmless fun, what are the odds that they will actually call someone with something to hide, oops. Yes former Revenge of The Nerds star, Robert Carradine has just offed his girlfriend and is none too pleased to hear that he had a witness.

Sadly Kim gets are warm and giggly for this stranger and continues calling and taunting him. In true '80s fashion, she, her friend, and her little sister (played by Candace Cameron) take her dad's car and drive to his house. This lame little part is simply a plot device to get the killer to the unsuspecting teens house.

Then there are the most boring, drawn-out, stalker scenes where nothing happens. The ending is anti-climatic and contrived to say the least. To top if off there's some stupid tacked on ending promising a sequel that thankfully never came to fruition.

This film was doomed from the start. I love Shawnee Smith but character was too annoying to really root for. Robert Carradine did his best, but was all and all too darn dull to inspire terror in even the most easily frightened viewer.

Skip this film and head for the original version, Joan Crawford is simply divine in it.