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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Face On The Milk Carton

I've been searching for this film for years. Lifetime failed me, ditto Amazon and Netflix. I begin to wonder if I would ever be able see the movie version of one of my favorite books. Be careful what you wish for. There's a very good reason this film still languishes in the VHS hell in our modern age of DVD.

Let's start with the movie's length. The producers of the film inexplicably crammed both Face On The Milk Carton and Whatever Happened To Janie into a two hour format. Not even two hours, it originally aired on national television, so a half hour consisted of commercials.

Can a film be too rushed and overly drawn out at once? This film can. Barely a minute after the film starts Janie finds her picture on the milk carton. In less than half an hour, Janie learns about Hannah and the cult and then the film grinds to a halt. Reading about Janie agonizing over whether to contact the people looking for her is better than having to watch it.

The second part where she returns to her family is considerably better. Richard Masur plays her biological father. I have an unexplainable crush on him dating back to My Girl in '91. I'll watch anything with him in it. The movie has some awesome casting including Sharon Lawrence and Richard Herrman.

You probably noticed that I did not include Kellie Martin who plays Janie. The reason: As good as an actress she is, she just isn't who I pictured as Janie. Janie struck me a normal, average girl next door type. Kellie unfortunately brings to Janie the same nervous, precocious, energy she brings to all her roles. If Juno had been released ten years earlier, she would have been a shoo-in for the role. But Juno is no Janie.

Also, Janie looks nothing like her siblings. A big deal in both the book and movie is how she looks so much like her other siblings.
This is not how I pictured Janie when I read the book.

Awesome casting, the actors actually look like brother and sister. But Janie looks nothing like them no matter what the film wants you to believe. She doesn't even have the same shade of red as her mother and siblings do.

The story would have been better off as a four hour miniseries. It would've given the film more time for plot and character development, both missing from the movie version. I am both glad to have finally seen the film but disappointed in how it was handled.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jessica Simpson: Blond and Ridiculous

The sad thing is that Jessica Simpson can act, she has a great sense of comedic timing. Given a strong supporting role and a decent cast, she could be wonderful. But these endless stream of ditz out-of-water films have got to stop.

Jessica Simpson plays Megan Valentine. An actress and singer with a string of bad films on her resume (Sound familiar). Of course, when her fairy tale life comes crashing down she hightails it to the army.

This film is strictly movie by numbers. She's the worst soldier ever. She gets her groove back and impresses everyone. Learns a larger lesson in life. Gets a hunky love interest. Need I say more? Even Simpson seems to have checked out during the film, she seems to be phoning it in waiting for the check to clear.

I was briefly in Air Force boot camp. I cannot speak for the Army Boot Camp but I assume the rules and regulations are the same. Privates do not get warm pep talks and pats on the head from their Drill Sergeants. Privates do not give attitude to Drill Sergeants and First Sergeants and have nothing happen to them. I understand that it's a fantasy movie but try a little harder for realism.

Simpson is not the only one suffering through this film. Cheri Oteri, Steve Guttenberg, and Vivica A. Fox also appear in the movie. Congratulations, Steve Miner, you've finally directed a movie worse than Friday The 13th Part 3. Bravo!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy

If you are a Nightmare On Elm Street fan, you simply must watch this documentary. Narrated by Heather Langenkemp this film explored the legacy of the Elm Street series and it's impact in horror cinema.
Something rare happened when I watched this, I simply watched it. Usually I am too restless to simply sit in front of a movie. I may work out, I may thumb through a magazine, or putter around the house cleaning. Not with this, I sat on the couch pleased as punch for four hours.
Yes, the film is four hours long but worth it. It covers every film from Nightmare 1 to the much lamented Freddy VS Jason. You learn everything, from the film inception, special effects, earlier script drafts, the casting of the actors, everything you wanted to know about Freddy but were afraid to ask.

Former actors return to share their memories of their times on the film. It seems everyone, cast and crew turn out to celebrate the series. Conspicuously absent however are some of the bigger name actors that starred in the series. Johnny Depp, Patricia Arquette, Jason Ritter, Breckin Myer, and Kelly Rowland make no appearance. I hope that time constraints kept them away, it would be a shame to see them dissing the franchise that started their career.

Since Nightmare On Elm Street 4 was my personal favorite, I looked forward to that installment. It was wonderful see my favorite film delved into with such detail. Seeing the actors 20 years later was fun as well.

I always considered Lisa Wilcox to be a beauty, she still is. 1988

But, what the hell happened to Tuesday Knight?

Circa '80s


Attention Hollywood actresses: Growing old is not the end of the world. We all age. Don't ruin a beautiful face just to appear sexy. Wrinkles are attractive, plastic is not.

Okay, rant over. Like I said, all Nightmare fans must check this out. It's a real cinematic treat.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Deception by Leigh Nichols

This awesome books came to me via giveaway hosted by the The Unprofessional Critic. If you haven't checked out the blog, it's awesome. And it was also the first giveaway that I actually won.

The book is Deception by Lee Nichols. It centers around a teen named Emma whose parents disappear. She is whisked off to another school by a family friend and starts to see dead people. She learns that she is a ghost keeper and finds herself being menaced by a evil force.

I liked the book. It's fun, mostly fast paced, and not too predictable. There are too many books that I end up figuring out the ending long before getting there. I have learned to appreciate books that I can't figure out.

I especially liked Emma's relationship with some of the ghosts. Usually ghosts are portrayed as menacing or saints that can do no wrong. These ghosts are given a more human perspective. Having Emma develop a familial bond with the house ghosts was sweet.

I wasn't too thrilled with the romantic subplot. I understand that it's a young adult novel and romance is required. However, a lot of the scenes were unnecessary and slowed the plot down some.

Still, all in all, great book. I actually look forward to reading the rest of the series in the near future.