PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION || October 23rd, 2015

JemAndTheHolograms-poster JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS || Originally an animated series in 1980s, Universal thought it would drum up some nostalgia by releasing a live action version of “Jem and the Holograms” some three decades later. Spoiler alert, it did not. Jem starts out as Jerrica (Aubrey Peeples) and when her musical talent goes viral, she becomes the next singing sensation with her three sisters, but fame aims to rip them apart. What feels like a made-for-TV movie, it is no surprise that this became one of the biggest flops of all-time.
PASS
TheLastWitchHunter-poster THE LAST WITCH HUNTER || Truth be told, Vin Diesel probably doesn’t belong in any film that doesn’t have the words “Fast” or “Furious” in the title. However, he takes on the role of the title character in “The Last Witch Hunter,” where he must save the world from the evil witches. What saves this in the slightest for me is the presence of Rose Leslie (“Game Of Thrones”) who is a welcome sight following her stunning performance on the HBO series.
STREAM
ParanormalActivityTheGhostDimension-poster PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION || This is the sixth installment in the found-footage “Paranormal Activity” series which started in 2007. In “The Ghost Dimension,” a young girl is plagued by seeing ghosts that no one else can see until her father finds an old camera in the basement that can pick up things not seen by the human eye. What follows is supposed to be terrifying. Except it looks rather dull. Leaning into the 3D aspect, this will probably be much less enjoyable without it, but since I’ve seen the films in the series thus far, what’s one more?
RENT
Suffragette-poster SUFFRAGETTE || Carey Mulligan is a powerhouse of an actress, with one Oscar nomination under her belt already (“An Education”). This year could mark her second as she plays Maud, a working wife and mother that gets involved with a secret organization that is fighting for women’s rights in early-20th-century. Alongside other great actresses like Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter, to stand out in this group of women is not easy, but Mulligan does so with ease.
THEATER

Asthma-poster ASTHMA || With every passing television series and film, I wish Krysten Ritter all the success in the world, because she truly is a great actress. And although she shows some of that here in “Asthma” about her and Benedict Samuel (“The Walking Dead”) hitting the road in a stolen Rolls Royce, she still isn’t at the peak of her potential. That being said, she still willing to roll around in her underwear and take acting chances, which can always lead to great things. So despite not wanting to see this movie, I still want Ritter to keep moving forward.
PASS
AttackOnTitanPart2-poster ATTACK ON TITAN: END OF THE WORLD || A Japanese science fiction action film, “Attack On Titan: End Of The World” is a sequel to a film also released this year, titled “Attack On Titan”. It is loosely based on a manga series of the same title. In it, the hero, Eren Yeager, must use his power to turn into a giant Titan to save mankind when an army of Titans comes to attack. Mixing animation with live action, this film feels very big and epic, but also feels disjointed and uninteresting at the same time.
PASS
BackInTime-poster BACK IN TIME || Just in time for all the celebration of the “Back To The Future 2” and finally passing the date to which they visit in the film, the documentary “Back In Time” interviews the cast and crew involved in the film, as well as people the film has effected, and the lineage it has spawned through its history including the craze of the Delorean. If you’re interested in this film, it was actually released on Netflix Instant and is available over there. For me, sitting down to re-enjoy the trilogy would be a much better use of my time.
PASS
BoneTomahawk-poster BONE TOMAHAWK || Westerns hold a special place in my heart and even with Kurt Russell giving a glimpse at what his character could be like in “The Hateful Eight,” the much too on-point “Bone Tomahawk” does not quite reach out to me. Co-starring Richard Jenkins, Patrick Wilson, and Matthew Fox, these four men venture across the desert landscape looking for Wilson’s captive wife (Lili Simmons). Unfortunately, none of these men quite pull off the real deal gunslingers and this starts to feel a little anti-climatic in all regards.
PASS
Clinger-poster CLINGER || Apparently the fad of mixing the supernatural craze with teenagers is not going away. Much in the way “Twilight” captured the science fiction love story fans, “Clinger” comes in with more jokes and a much lower budget. Fern (first-timer Jennifer Laporte) and Robert (Vincent Martella) are a perfect high school couple, until they’re not. But when an accident takes Robert’s life, he returns has a vampire of sorts, wanting to rekindle the relationship. This has way too low production value to be taken seriously despite the newcomers doing an alright job of keeping things somewhat afloat.
PASS
Difret-poster2 DIFRET || In Ethiopia, it is apparently a tradition in some parts for women to be abducted in order to be taken as a man’s wife. In “Difret,” from executive producer Angelina Jolie Pitt, a young Ethiopian girl named Hirut kills her captor in what could be argued is self-defense, which is what the lawyer who takes the case must use as a defense, but as a fellow lawyer in the trailer states, no female has ever won a self-defense case in Ethiopia. What makes this doubly sad is the fact that it’s based in so much truth.
PASS
ExtraordinaryTales-poster EXTRAORDINARY TALES || Bringing to life five stories from Edgar Allan Poe, this animated anthology features the voices of Roger Corman, Guillermo Del Toro, Christopher Lee, and archival footage of Bela Lugosi. The stories that are included are “The Fall Of The House Of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar,” “The Masque Of The Red Death” and “The Pit And The Pendulum” which all take different animation approaches in telling their stories. As creepy as this feels, I’m sure Poe would be proud.
PASS
HeartOfADog-poster HEART OF A DOG || One could call this a documentary, but really it feels like a meditation from director and writer Laurie Anderson on the ideas of love and death, as it pertains to her deceased dog Lolabelle. Using family archival 8mm footage, animation, and her own composition, Laurie delivers a lucid, dream-like film titled “Heart Of A Dog” that takes a look at her past, while ruminating on the future and what happens after we pass. As inventive as it may be, it feels a bit too artsy for my particular enjoyment.
PASS
ISmileBack-poster2 I SMILE BACK || Every actor out there is secretly hoping for the term “career-changing” to be used in relation to their performance in a film, and with “I Smile Back,” the super talented Sarah Silverman is described as such. Playing a wife and mother of two, who seems to have the perfect life, underneath swims around depression and recklessness that could easily tear her family apart. Silverman leaves her dry comedy in the dust, taking on this extremely dramatic role with an openness that is refreshing and makes this a must-see.
RENT
Julia-poster JULIA || Ashley C. Williams becomes the latest female to embark on the revenge fantasy route with her thriller “Julia,” in which she plays a female that finds her self at the wrong end of a brutal rape. In taking back control, she is mentored by a fellow bad ass women that helps her to seduce the men that took advantage of her as to find revenge with a knife. Where this is separated from the similar films that have come before it, I do not know, as Williams does not quite fully take the reigns as the leading lady.
PASS
NastyBaby-poster NASTY BABY || Kristen Wiig continues her independent drama foray playing the best friend of a gay couple who she is helping have a baby through artificial insemination. “Nasty Baby” suffers from a lack of tone, or at least any particular tone, as it starts off feeling like a straight up drama, but with odd inter-cutting of the title with heavy metal beats, and images of blood on the floor and some dark tones, I am not sure where this film leads. The reason for this is at least explained to me when I see that it is written, directed, and starring Sebastián Silva, who is known for his dark-toned dramas (“Magic Magic”).
PASS
ThePearlButton-poster THE PEARL BUTTON || All that I could gather from the trailer for “The Pearl Button” is that it is a documentary focusing on water in relation to some sort of genocide. Here’s what iTunes offers as a synopsis: “The ocean contains the history of all humanity. The sea holds the voices of the Earth and those that come from outer space. Water receives impetus from the stars and transmits it to living creatures. Water, the longest border in Chile, also holds the secret of a mysterious button that was discovered in its seabed. Chile, with its 2,670 miles of coastline, the largest archipelago in the world, presents a supernatural landscape. In it are volcanoes, mountains and glaciers. In it are the voices of the Patagonian indigenous people, of the first English sailors and also those of its political prisoners. Some say that water has memory. This film shows that it also has a voice.”
PASS
RockTheKasbah-poster ROCK THE KASBAH || Hollywood can be tough. One day you’re winning an Academy Award for this film “Rain Man,” the next you’re making an independent film titled “Rock The Kasbah” that hardly anyone will see. Barry Levinson directs, bringing Bill Murray to Afghanistan as part of the USO tour. But when his star (played by Zooey Deschanel) leaves him in the dust, he discovers a young local girl with an extraordinary voice and takes a chance on making her the next big thing. Also starring Danny McBride, Bruce Willis, and Kate Hudson, this probably rides the line of odd directorial choices like “Aloha,” but with the ensemble cast in place, still should probably at least be seen.
STREAM
ThisChangesEverything-poster THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING || It’s staggering to realize most people still do not believe in global warming. The documentary “This Changes Everything” focuses on the groups trying to bring enlightenment about the topic to the public through marches and rallies, even using some facts, like the global North being responsible for over 70% of the emissions, which greatly effects the smaller countries that do not contribute to the killing of our planet. Sadly, it’s going to take more than this documentary to make people realize the impact they’re having.
PASS
TokyoTribe-poster TOKYO TRIBE || “The world’s first battle rap musical” is the tagline that sets up the film “Tokyo Tribe,” a Japanese martial arts film based on a manga series. When a hero is killed, all the tribes united to take on those responsible, fighting and singing their way into battles.  Not much can be said about this foreign film, despite being unique, might be a little too unique for most people’s tastes, including mine. I just pray that the songs in the trailer don’t get stuck in my head.
PASS

THEATER

  • “Suffragette”

RENT

  • “I Smile Back”
  • “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension”

STREAM

  • “The Last Witch Hunter”
  • “Rock The Kasbah”

PASS

  • “Asthma”
  • “Attack On Titan: End Of The World”
  • “Back In Time”
  • “Bone Tomahawk”
  • “Clinger”
  • “Difret”
  • “Extraordinary Tales”
  • “Heart Of A Dog”
  • “Jem And The Holograms”
  • “Julia”
  • “Nasty Baby”
  • “The Pearl Button”
  • “This Changes Everything”
  • “Tokyo Tribe”
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