Case 39: been there, seen that

When overworked case-manager, Emily Jenkins (Renée Zellweger) decides to get personally involved in the life of one of her clients, she gets more than she bargained for.  Any social worker worth his or her salt knows that the primary rule is to NEVER take your work home with you.  What a shame nobody told Emily this.

In a nutshell, Case 39 is a predictable thriller with some surprisingly good scares, and mostly decent acting.  However that does not take away from the fact that so much of this movie feels like so many other films of a similar ilk.  Suffice to say, if you've seen Orphan, or The Bad Seed, you'll probably have the plot figured out after the first twenty minutes.  Also, you will note blatant ripoffs from films like The Haunting, Candyman, The Omen, and The Ring.

I did like the actress who played uber brat, Lilith (Jodelle Ferland), this dark haired moppet seemed to  transition from waif to she-beast with mercurial ease.
It was also a lot of fun to watch Bradley Cooper play a psychologist who strips his clothes off whilst battling phantom hornets.
Finally, as a real life social worker, I had to laugh when Zellweger's character bitches to her boss about being buried in cases when he hands her the 39th file.  HA! I'll match that caseload and raise her an additional 350 files.  Amateur!


Saturday Night Horror Porn Fever

From the 1980's, when The Phantom of the Opera was the hottest ticket on The Great White Way, comes Panting at the Opera ... hey, is that Mackenzie Phillips in the red teddy?
Oh sweet mystery of life at last I've found thee ... Hung Wankenstien - I wonder if Mel Brooks gets any residuals from this one?
Not sure what the connection is here, but this gay porn vid is entitled Frankenstein.  And I don't know about you, but I love it when the mad scientist has a tattoo! 
So apparently the monster catches these two gals going at it and tosses them both into a lake ... guess which one floats? 
I guess the monster spends her days at the beach working on her tan.
I've read that you don't have to have seen Cathula I to enjoy this film.
Subtle vampire porn starring the late, great Jon Vincent.
More subtlety.
Classic porn stars playing dress up - twas a dark and stormy night! 
Obviously inspired by the Frank Langella Dracula.
Is she using the woman's head so she can keep her balance in those heels?
The back of the box reads, "They were scared pant-less!"
Probably the best poster of the bunch, at least the production department spent a few moments paying homage to the original  ... and remember, "In the woods, no one can hear you cream."


Dancing in the Dark: Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan is a bleak and disturbing meditation on mental illness, show business-back stabbing, mother / daughter relationships, suppressed sexuality and self image.  Considering that director Aronofsky's last film was the equally bleak and disturbing, The WrestlerBlack Swan could easily be the former's companion piece  (note how both movies end with the main character leaping out into the abyss in slow motion).

Natalie Portman is Nina, a painfully thin, gifted dancer who has been asked to play The Swan Queen in a production of Swan Lake since the company's star, Beth  (Winona Ryder) has been forced into retirement.  Nina's joy at this news is soon dampened when it becomes evident that she may not be playing with a full deck.  Suddenly the bony ballerina is seeing things, hearing things, sprouting feathers and generally going bonkers.

As the story progresses and things go from bad to worse, it may become more and more difficult for the viewer to discern what is reality and what is going on in Nina's carb starved brain.  Indeed, during the much ballyhooed sex scene between Nina and fellow ballerina, Lily (Mila Kunis), it becomes evident that not only is our gal hallucinating physical changes to her body, but also sexual congress with someone she considers a threat.

As was mentioned earlier,  Black Swan seems to mirror some of what we saw in The Wrestler.  One of the easiest comparisons would be the physical abuse that the bodies of  both brawlers and ballerinas endure to satisfy the public.  True, one crowd might be calling for blood and broken bones, while the other wants to see dance executed perfectly, but in the end it's all the same; both would sacrifice their very life to give the people what they want.

Probably one of the most fascinating aspects of  Black Swan is the way it's being embraced by fans of horror.  Aronofsky was wise to include blood-letting, special effects and creepy interludes - anything to get people into the theater to watch a film about ballet (quick, name the last film about ballet that was a box office hit. Anyone?). 

With terrific performances by all (major kudos to Barbara Hershey who plays Nina's mother), a gorgeous soundtrack of Tchaikovsky's music, and a compelling story,  Black Swan might be the one to beat this year at the Academy Awards ... well, unless that little movie about Facebook screws it all up.


Horror Movie DILF: Rosemary's Baby

Name: Guy Woodhouse

Location: New York City, New York.

Occupation: Actor

Family: Wife, Rosemary Woodhouse - Step Son, Adrian (Andy) Woodhouse

Why Is  He a DILF?: Love him or hate him, Guy Woodhouse is an undeniably charismatic little snake.  He's also the kind of guy who would sacrifice anything (or anyone) to get to the top of the show biz ladder.  In the early days of his career he showed much promise in the plays, "Luthor" and "Nobody Loves an Albatross"  as well as numerous television dramas and commercials.   Many have made mention of the gestures he made with his arms in "Luthor".
Guy's  big break came at the expense of fellow actor, Donald Baumgart, who suddenly went blind allowing Guy to take over the role Baumgart had.  Insider's claimed that Woodhouse "Made a deal with the devil", as his career seemed to go on the fast track since that point.
And, in fact, he did make a deal (if not with the devil firsthand, then with one of Old Scratch's associates); selling his wife's womb to a bunch of elderly Satanists so that she could carry the spawn of The Antichrist.   What a dog!
Still though, there is something undeniably hot about a bastard who'd stoop to such levels to get what he wants - if not acting, Guy Woodhouse could have made an equally big name for himself in business or politics, the sleazy bastard!
Played By: John Cassavetes


What I Enjoyed in 2010

Don't worry this is not one of those "best of" lists that everyone and their brother churns out at year's end.  This is just a look back at what I personally enjoyed in the realm of horror (or near horror) .

The first thing that comes to  my mind was that dream sequence in True Blood...the one that found Sam the shape-shifter and Bill the vampire eye to eye, chest to chest...
... good lord that scene gave me a case of the vapors...the only thing that would have made it better was if Alcide, the hunky werewolf,  showed up and joined the party!

Speaking of True Blood.  How about that nasty Rolling Stone Cover that featured Anna Paquin (Sookie) sandwiched between Stephen Moyer (Bill) and Alexander Skarsgård (Eric) ? 

Meanwhile, while the horny, magically inclined folk of Bon Temps were having wild times, AMC rocked my world when it presented The Walking Dead, an intelligent and terrifying miniseries that suddenly made zombies scary again.
And I'd like to give the producers of this magnificent show a round of applause for giving me Jon Bernthal (Shane Walsh) as  someone else I can stalk admire.

Oh yeah, I did see a few films this year...maybe they all were not released in 2010, but I enjoyed 'em.  Some of my faves included...
...The Last Exorcism ( review here)...

 ... Monsters (review here)
 Mother (review here)...
 The Fourth Kind (review here)...
 The Eclipse (review here)...
The Possession of David O'Reilly (review here)...
Pornography (review here) ...

This past October, I saw a brilliant, comedic, live adaptation of Carrie presented at Underground Arts at the Wolf Building in Philadelphia.  This high camp, low budget production had to be one of the most creative things I've experienced in a quite some time.  Sheer brilliance, sez I !
Carrie, The Play (review here)

And finally, I'd like to thank Nate Yapp of Cinema Geek for kindly inviting me to join the fun by becoming a contributor to his excellent blog.   Finally, I find myself in respectable company. About time!