‘Annabelle’ Review

Annabelle movie poster

“”Annabelle” has so much potential, most of which it doesn’t live up to.”

I have seen some God-awful, cringe-worthy movies, which John Leonetti‘s Annabelle thankfully isn’t; though it is in a way worse because it had the potential to be so much more than it ended up being, which is a passable horror movie; a trifle that you almost instantly forget upon learning the theater (which is mainly due to the movie’s tendency to play it safe, when daring was called for).

Annabelle is a prequel to The Conjuring, and you can see and feel that movie’s DNA all over the place, like a violent crime scene minutes before the arrival of a forensics team.  It’s not a bad thing, though it may have something to do with Annabelle never really feeling like its own movie, instead seemingly content to exist in the shadow of the latter.

Which is a pity because there’s a scene toward the end of the movie–if it had been allowed to play out–would have been like a punch to the solar plexus, and resulted in significantly elevating the material.

Though instead we get an ending that some might consider a bit of a cop-out, where a character sacrifices themselves for people they barely knew (which could have worked if the character in question were better fleshed out).

Another problem was that atmosphere was sacrificed at the altar of the  jump scare, which killed any change the movie had at building terror on the slow burn; the best kind.

Another smaller issue was that the doll was ghastly looking long before any demonic possession took place, which made it an odd choice for the film makers to use.  The possessed doll was supposed to have been a Raggedy Ann, which I think theatrically would have worked better just because it looks innocent and generic, as opposed to a toy that could have been assembled by the Devil himself.

I mentioned earlier that the movie relied on jump scares, which movies tend to do when they don’t have enough atmosphere to hold them together.  It’s a pity because there’s a terrifying movie somewhere in Annabelle waiting to get out.

I know this because you can see hints of its presence all over the place, just before they’re snuffed out, stillborn.

 

‘Pride’ Trailer

What has bothered me for a long time about a lot of Queer cinema is that it tends to be very white–in that it revolves around white people (generally males) with nary a person of color to be found.  And Matthew WarchusPride doesn’t on the face of it seem any different.

That being said, what it does do is appear to about people that occupy different social strata, which is also something that I think is neglected in in movies that deal with homosexuality in any in-depth, and hopefully meaningful, way (that being said, I do understand that that isn’t the story the movie is trying to tell, per se).

‘The Dead Lands’ Trailer

I have no idea who Toa Fraser, the director of The Dead Lands, is, or why he’s so acclaimed, but I have to say that I like the trailer.  Definitely getting a Once Were Warriors vibe, combined with a bit of Quest For Fire with the added bonus that for some reason I connect the title to the Dream Academy song, Lowlands (I love those synaptic connections to nowhere).

‘John Wick’ Trailer

Let’s be honest for a moment.  Keanu Reeves is a pretty mediocre actor.  In most movies he appears, he occupies physical space, yet at the same time barely registers, almost as most of him existed in some sort of parallel dimension and what we see on movie screens is only a shadow the real person.

Like Roger Zelazny’s Amber.

That being said, I kind of want to see John Wick.

And sure, the title seems inspired by John Carter or Jack Reacher.  And despite the fact that the movie seems vaguely similar to The Equalizer–though probably not as good–there’s something oddly engergizing about an engaged Keanu Reeves.

Millenium Falcon Footage

Truth be told, I am neither a huge Star Wars fan (beyond the first film and its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back) nor too interested in J.J. Abrams as a director (way too many lens flares).  That being said when video of the Millennium Falcon is posted, you repost it.

Because “when you’re nose to nose with a trash compactor, you cool it.”

‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1′ Trailer

For those of us that aren’t divergent enough, or aren’t into maze running, there’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (and speaking of Part 1, I get the feeling that if Lionsgate could have stretched the last book in the series out into three or more movies they would have done so) where it looks like Panem is falling into revolution and Pitta has crossed over to the Dark Side–or has he?

So here’re the trailers for the upcoming Hunger Games sequel, as well as The Maze Runner and Divergent (The Maze Runner appears to be performing strongly overseas, better than Divergent in fact) because I am about nothing if not added value.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

The Maze Runner

Divergent

‘Ouija’ Trailer

Originally the movie Ouija was going to be huge, in terms of budget, before Universal (the studio releasing the horror feature) balked and almost abandoned the project.  The story was tweaked, and it was brought in significantly cheaper, and the rest is history.

It always mystified me why it was originally planned as a big-budget feature (other than the property being owned by Hasbro, the people behind–or should I say culpable–for the Transformers).  The movie revolves around a ouija board, a Hasbro product by the way, which are creepy just sitting on a table, never mind interacting with the damned (pardon the pun) thing.

And while I think that Universal not producing Ouija as an expensive feature was a great idea (which should pay dividends at the box office) abandoning Guillermo del Toro’s version of H.P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains Of Madness wasn’t.