Archive for film review

AVATAR :: SCI-FI :: 033

Posted in Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/12/2010 by joycereview

Alien worlds fascinates me.  They always have.  Pandora is the closest we’ve been able to get to that world cinematically.  Jim Cameron’s vision delighted me on all levels and was perhaps, the most fun that I’ve had in the theaters wearing dorky 3d glasses.

It’s obvious through his films that the mind of Cameron is a colossal wonderland, full of floating islands, 6-legged horses, brightly-colored pterodactyls, and the blue-skinned, golden-eyed Na’vi.  At least this was the latest of Cameron’s dreams to be shared with us…  a dream tucked away for more than a decade.  In 2005, he revisited the script and agreed that it was time.  What emerged? You’ll have to see it to believe it!


Following the death of his twin brother, a paraplegic marine named Jake Sully (Sam Worthington; Terminator Salvation), steps into a unique position to continue his brother’s project and travel to the amazing world of Pandora.  The mission is for Scully to inhabit a lab-grown-replica body (known as an “Avatar”) of both his twin and of the Pandorian race known as the Na’vi and to infiltrate the tribe and negotiate an exodus, away from an area rich in an Earth-rescuing mineral known as “unobtanium.”  Trigger-happy Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang) strikes a deal with Sully to gather intel on the Na’vi in return for post-mission spinal surgery.  Cheif Administrator Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) wants diplomacy (only because it looks better), and scientist Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver, Aliens) wants to truly understand the biology and hidden mysteries of Pandora.  As the Avatar, Jake Sully forms a bond with the Na’vi and must make his choice;  stand with his new family, or help the human race blunder Pandoria’s most precious resource.

As a movie-loving public, we’ve seen literally hundreds of movies.  In my case, (and as so many others film-nuts) we’ve seen thousands.  Themes and scenes, especially the good ones, always stand out.  It was apparent to in this film that connections can be made with the following: Dances with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, The Last Samurai, and even Braveheart.  The world of Pandora was a cross between the amazon rainforest and a coral reef.  The Na’vi were a cross between native american indians (I don’t mean to lump you all together) and african tribes.  The “horses” a cross between a seahorse, and a regular horse – add a pair of legs.  The flying creatures of Pandora were pterodactyls with the head of a savannah monitor.  But the question we must ask ourselves is “does our knowledge of these traits/similarities take away from the film?”  The answer is “no friggin’ way.”

It was explained to me a long time ago, that there is very little in the world that we would fail to assign complete uniqueness to.  To this theory, I agree.  Many years ago, when phones were the size of a Tom Clancy hardback we watched in awe as Kirk and Spock had what looked to be my first Motorola flip-top cellphone.  That debuted in 1966!  From then on we become desensitized to technology and even of artistic creations (to some point).  Had Cameron and his visual artists created creatures, machines and contraptions without a likeness to images of our time, our minds would be quite likely to reject it.  For Avatar, a thin line had to be threaded in order to lock our collective minds into a state of belief and wonderment.  Cameron performed like a surgical Annie Oakley due to his experience, years in film and the fact that his body is made of 60%water and 40% of awesome!

Do you want to know why there are no more Jim Cameron’s in the world?  I’ll tell you why!  Answer:  Because he’s a nerdy woman in the body of a good-looking man.  He’s a tree-hugging, technology-embracing, liberal – not just for alien rights but for universal equality.  It’s a widely-known fact that most powerful men place other powerful men as heroic characters in their stories.  Cameron simply changes the gender and leaves the balls.  Sigourney became the first of Hollywood’s top heroines by way of her role in Alien, and as if she were acquiring more balls along the way, Aliens (the sequel).  Aliens even had Jenette Goldstein playing the toughest female marine in cinema history as Lt. Vasquez.  (Note the enormous similarity of Goldstein to Avatar’s Michelle Rodriquez)  … Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in both Terminator 1 & 2.  (She was so bad-ass in T2, that Jim married her!) Even Kate Winslet’s role in Titanic can be seen as unsteriotypically masculine… just in the bold, strong, take charge way… not in the “I bust a cap in alien asses”-type way (obviously!).  Now… we have Zoe Saldana (Star Trek), playing Neytiri, the warrior princess of the Omaticaya Clan.  Blue, fierce and dead sexy!  I remember as a kid I had a crush on Betty Rubble of the Flintstones (yes, the cartoon version), but if the 10 year old in me where to react hormonally (after seeing Neytiri) he’d run out into the woods, risking an arrow of neurotoxic death.

Before viewing Avatar, I had (and still have) some reservations on the use of CGI.  Call me old-school (again), but motion capturing, CGI and the lot can never truly portray what an actor or actress can do.  Recreation is not creation.  CGI gives control and is cost effective but can only be a reflection and a refraction of what a performer creates.  E.T. was more-or-less a sock puppet, but was as real to me today as it was when I was a kid.  The creations of Avatar will always stay with me.  Not just because Earth is “played out” and I want to move to Pandora, but because the CGI realism of Avatar finally hit the mark of believability.  What is key is that we put this technology in the hands of skilled samurai (i.e. James Cameron, Peter Jackson) and not in baby, knife-wielding hacks (i.e. Michael Bay).

I agree 95.8% with my fellow critic, Colin (read his Avatar review at: Cineaste John) when he says,

“I felt like I was on the same emotional journey as Jake Sully.  I felt for the Na’vi.  I felt for Hometree and the Omaticaya.  I felt that the true struggle for Jake Sully, a born-and-bread Marine, suddenly feeling like everything he once knew and was trained to be was savage and inhumane.  Avatar was everything I’d hoped it to be and more.”

It wasn’t a far leap for me (being skinny, tall and good-looking in blue)… but Avatar will always be a film that I feel connected to – for its messages of environmental responsibility, diplomacy, and the fact that it’s far less cool to be human.  At least we can dream.  For the less and unimaginative folk, Cameron holds us up to the viewfinder… and what an awe-inspiring view it is.

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CHE :: FOREIGN :: 032

Posted in Action, Documentary, Drama, Foreign, Special Interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/05/2010 by joycereview

After seeing the film, The Motorcycle Dairies, I knew I had to learn more about the man, the humanitarian, the revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

Steven Soderbergh’s Che (initially split into Che: The Argentine and Che: Guerrilla) is a beautiful, yet somewhat laboring look (pt 1= 134 minutes; pt. 2= 135 minutes) at the asthmatic doctor who fought so hard for the “miserable and alienated” and who becomes not only Latin America’s most legendary revolutionary leader but also one of the most iconic faces for freedom and liberty the world over.

Che is played by Benicio Del Toro with a searing elegance and believability that won him the Best Actor Award at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.  Fidel Castro, played by Demian Bichir, was a revelation to watch, and (I felt) the Chilean sensation, Santiago Cabrera fit the role of loyal Comandante Camilo Cienfuegos most perfecto!

The entire movie was filmed like a window into the past.  The action was gritty, emotional and in-your-face.  The dialogue throughout the entire will was approximately 98% Spanish and besides a few notables (Franka Potente and Matt Damion), nearly the entire cast of the film was hispanic.


At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.  It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.

If I am to be as honest as my nature compels me to be, I’d have to say that Che is on my list as one of the Top 5 films of 2008-2009.  The only noticeable flaw (if you know history) is that Che was of average height 5’9 (quite perfect for a guerilla soldier) and no where near the 6 foot 3 inch-sasquatch-ness of Del Toro.  So although Benicio could channel the spirit and essence of the ‘Che’, somehow, and quite disappointingly, he couldn’t make himself smaller.

The next blunder comes when Soderbergh gives us over 4 hours of action, history, and brilliant acting.  I mean, who wants to attach their phat fannies to the sofas for that length of time?  Well… I did.  And I’m sure there are lots of history buffs and Leftists out there that would too.  Not-to-mention the godless communist scum* that I’m sure still need someone to look up to (even though all of this took place half a century ago).

Okay, if I had to pick one truly sour point in the film… which was no big deal really… it was that each part (remember, the movie was split into Che’s time in Cuba [part uno] and in Bolivia [part dos]) began with a map of the country – slowly highlighting the different regions and names of the cities and towns.  If they had used a more photographic and stylish image, perhaps overlaying it with old photos each city/town/village/region, your attention might not go towards how heavy your eyelids are (especially at the very onset of such a terrific film).  I was surprised to see there were no opening credits during this time!  I don’t know why that was… but even a flash or brief flicker of an actor’s name might have woken me from the dreary and drab geography lesson.

Had Benicio not taken the role, Che might have been handed to Val Kilmer.  And had we a gringo playing such a legendary figure, we might just have had… I don’t know… Ben Affleck playing Camilo and even though he kinda looks like him if he grew a big, mangy beard, I would have had half a mind to start a revolution of my very own.

Hasta la victoria siempre!

*eventhough ‘Che’ was Marxist-Communist and was in fact ‘godless’ (when asked, Do you believe in God? Che answered, “I believe in mankind”) I don’t mean all godless communists in a bad way.  The whole “scum” at the end was meant to imply “the frothy goodness.”  Wait a minute, that’s “skim.”  Whatever.


Posted in Comedy, Drama, romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/25/2009 by joycereview

It’s Christmas Eve… Santa’s probably airborne (he usually gets an early start) and come Christmas morning, everyone should have something in their stocking.  Now, if I were one of those “snippy” critics, I would reference here that those that worked on this movie shouldn’t expect Santa’s good graces.

Let me say from the start, that I have a fondness for Vince Vaughn.  Truth-be-told, I didn’t like him in the beginning; not because he was a bad actor or anything, but because he seemed like a bit of a wise-guy.  One of those guys that always had a witty come-back and who you’d wish would just be “normal” for once.  But he’s someone that has really grown on me, and has turned into someone I look forward to seeing time and time again.  If it weren’t for him, this movie would barely make a track!  Four Christmas barely comes across with 5.

Here’s the “bear” bones-

Brad (Vince Vaugn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) look to be the modern version of the perfect couple; lovingly self-centered, but getting all that they want from their relationship (for now).  Under the ruse of charity work, Brad and Kate escape the family obligations and the ensuing stress of the holidays by flying to Fiji; only to discover that the flight is cancelled due to heavy fog.  To make matters worse, a tv reporter and camera shows up and exposes their failed getaway.  Four Christmases in one day can be trying for anybody, but with Brad and Kate, the secrets, humiliations and the physical abuse might more than their relationship can handle.

When watching this movie, I kinda wished I had a lower I.Q. just for the fact that it would have boosted my enjoyment of it.  While it certainly had its fun moments (which was inevitably caused by Vaughn’s comic leadership), and gave us the split family dynamic rather than just the one, crazy household, it sank on the basis of character.

Comedy works best when the laughs are allowed to well up from within the material, the situation, and/or the nature of the character.  It isn’t a 10-year old child ,with his boney fist posed at your defenseless face, asking “What’s my name bitch?” that makes the scene funny- it’s the reaction of Vince Vaughn, who undoubtedly channels his emotions from the “near rape” scene from Wedding Crashers, and who’s pitched pleads of mercy are both hilarious and real.  If it weren’t for Vaughn’s brilliance, that scene would have been completely wasted on me.  The supporting cast, however, if not saved by or made funny by Vaughn, falls silent.  Reese Witherspoon did a decent job, even though her wrestle-mania in the “jump jump cage” was a immature and needy.

Screen legends Sissy Spacek, Bobby Duvall and Jon Voight provided a bit more (name) weight to the film, but only propped up it’s status to a movie like,  Meet the Fockers. One line from Duvall (who played Brad’s biological dad), was quite side-ripping though;

Boys, I don’t want to speak ill of your mother on Christmass, but she’s nothing but a common street whore.

I long for a Christmas movie that will take the place of my beloved National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but I’ve yet to find it.  Vaughn could be my next Chevy, if only he had his Eddie… and Jon Favreau, you’re not him.  Owen Wilson is a terrific comedic partner but we’ll just have to see what the future holds.  For me, something like that would surely make my Christmas wish list!



Posted in Crime, Drama, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/18/2009 by joycereview

I’ve got a major itch when it comes to films that explore spiritual and religious matters, and the way Dan Brown can mix such mystery, history and drama is like a masterful wizard creating a potion.  The movie, however, is as interesting as watching someone line up colors on a rubix cube.  The thing is this- I’m quite amazed at someone working a rubix cube, especially when the turns happen swiftly and the colors never fail to stack.  To many film-goers, my fellow readers, they’ll undoubtably feel barraged by the relentless pace and the overly-genius clue-finding of symbologist Robert Langdon.  His surprisingly uncharacteristic and non-agnostic parting lines to the last living seed of Christ (played by Audrey Tautau) was “Godspeed”… and boy!… if that wasn’t a clue at how the successor of The DeVinci Code would play out, I don’t know what is.

Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) has returned to Harvard (they have an awesome swimming pool by-the-way) and is met by a Vatican representative explaining they have reason to believe that a secret brotherhood, The Illuminati, has returned and is seeking vengence on the Holy Church.  Four cardinals, papal favorites (known as the “preferitti”), have been kidnapped by someone working for the Illuminati.  The threat is given- one priest killed on the hour (8, 9, 10, and 11) and then Rome will be “purified by light” with stolen anti-matter (yes, let’s amp up our security of nuclear research centers shall we?).  Langdon and physicist, Dr. Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) traipse quite hurriedly across Rome, clue-by-clue, to save the lives of the abducted priests and the numerous leaders and followers of the Catholic Church whom have traveled to the Vatican for Sede Vacante (time from the death of the pope to the election of the new pope by the College of Cardinals).  No fear – for Robert Langdon’s skills are something of a “Godsend” and he’s on the case!

Symbologist Robert Langdon is no Saint Paul, he’s a firm believer of what is “proven” and this is a mutually interesting character for both religious believers and non-believers.  The more eloquent of the scientist agnostics, the character of Langdon (as well as that of the represented Catholic clergy) maintain a respectful boundary between religion and science.  Galileo would be proud.  The large set pieces and locations provide an exuberant amount of eye candy.  Not scenery that initially impresses and dwindles, but ones that make you thirst for more; like a cherry flavored Jolly Rancher.  Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting, Star Wars I-III), Stellan Skarsgard (Ronin, The Glass House), and Armin Mueller-Stahl (Music Box, Shine) are equally great, although I’d actually give an extra-special nod to Armin whose playing of Cardinal Strauss was exemplary.

Where the movie took a nose-dive, was in the condensed editing and the dialogue stylings.  It felt like you were in a museum filled with beautiful paintings…  but instead of leisurely viewing each masterpiece piece-by-piece, you are whisked, tugged and pulled along by a hyperactive 10 year old, leaving you inept of its full meaning.  Lucky for me, I can take speed (if I know what direction I’m going)… and I’m quite used to “not understanding full meanings.”

What was annoying was the dialogue (mainly of Langdon, Vetra and Camerlengo McKenna).  While momentarily impressed when Langdon asked his escort for help with italian, Langdon delivers countless details, myths/ histories to people that already know them… then he might saying something fancy in Latin, and will then make it a point to re-explain (most likely for the audiences benefit.  damn our feeble minds!).

The most laughable of these “failures to deliver” comes when the Camerlengo (McGregor) breaks into a closed enclave of cardinals and gives the mightiest of pep-rally speeches to a congregation of superiors, virtually all of them 3 decades his senior.  There is also a scene involving him, and a helicopter that kills me – watch for it.

I also found it strange that particle physicist, Vittoria Vetra, off the top of her pretty little head, knew the signs and symptoms of a particular poison that may or may not have killed the Pope – like she was a medical doctor!  Hmm… well… I’ve a couple of moles that need a looking at when she gets a chance.

Well many may say that this a great improvement to The DeVinci Code, I miss the self-flagellating albino, Silas (Paul Bettany), and sexy French Agent, Sophie (Audrey Tautau)- Beauty and the beast  (I’ll let you decide for yourself who I’m talking about).  But that was separate movie and my love for Audrey Tautau is just plain biased and we will have none of that here at The Joyce Review.  With Hans Zimmer’s music, along with Joshua Bell violin solos, fast-paced problem-solving in picturesque Rome, Angels and Demons succeeds, but doesn’t triumph.



Posted in Classic, Drama, romance, Sport with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/09/2009 by joycereview

There is seldom a movie that grips the audience from the very first scene and sustains the brilliance throughout the entire picture.  The Hustler is one of those films that, like the character Eddie when he hits his stride, can’t lose.

Like most guys my age, we tend to shy away from films made before the 1980’s (with the exception of Star Wars), at least, that is, until we learn something about what makes a truly wonderful film, and we go on to realize just how amazing it is to have one that includes Paul Newman (Cool Hand Luke, Hud), George C. Scott (Dr. Strangelove, Patton), Jackie Gleason (of The Honeymooners) and Piper Laurie (Carrie).  The wonderful acting, cinematography, and directing (by Robert Rossen) enables The Huster to “rack up” a perfect 10 on The Joyce Review.

Paul Newman plays “Fast” Eddie Felson, in this black & white masterpiece that isn’t just a terrific character study of a guy who discovers Life both from, and beyond the game of pool, but examines the dark and seedy world of pool hustling; a world that many of us have little-to-no concept of.  Bert Gordon (George C. Scott) is a creature of the night, a hawkish, cold-blooded gambling king that gives Eddie the spiritual tutelage that his previous game lacked.  Sarah Packard (Piper Laurie) is Eddie’s shy, companion of the lost souls, and often inebriated romantic interest, whose consistent love and support brings him to an understanding that Life is achieved by giving.  Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) is the infamous pool shark, the hustler that no one can bring down.  However, before the youthful Eddie can contend with the likes of him, he must learn a valuable and hard lesson… the art of losing.*

(Bert Gordon to Findley [about Eddie])I didn’t ask him, ‘Can he beat ya?’ I already know he can beat ya.  I asked him, ‘Will he?’ To Eddie, that’s two different things.

As I’ve “grown up,” and I think I did a fairly descent job at it, I noticed one of the biggest roadblocks in my path was the pain of losing, but then again… there is also the pain of winning.  Many people have a hard time wrapping their head around this concept, but it is both very real and very destructive.  Vince Lombardi said it best,

Winning is a habit.  But then, so is losing.

Losing, at face value, doesn’t have much of an appeal… however, nothing is expected of you (especially if you call upon excuses).  People feel sorry for you and, in some circumstances, you are given help and attention.  Think for a moment about mountain climbing.  By winning, you succeed, coming to the mountain’s apex you all of a sudden have responsibilities and your choice of directions.  Those whom are masterful winners will make their choice of staying atop, not by fighting to hold position, but by reveling in the joy of climbing, looking back over their trodden path, and the vast landscape yet to discover.

Winners don’t mind being called losers, but losers really hate being called losers.  Most losers don’t just lack self-worth, they feed their failures with stories of why they can’t win.  Thus, bringing us to my favorite lines of the film:

Bert Gordon: Eddie, you’re a born loser.

Fast Eddie:  What’s that supposed to mean?

Bert Gordon:  First time in ten years I ever saw Minnesota Fats hooked… really hooked.  But you let him off.

Fast Eddie:  I told you I got drunk.

Bert Gordon:  Sure you got drunk.  You have the best excuse in the world for losing; no trouble losing when you got a good excuse.  Winning… that can be heavy on your back, too, like a monkey.  You’ll drop that load too when you got an excuse.  All you gotta do is learn to feel sorry for yourself.  One of the best indoor sports, feeling sorry for yourself.  A sport enjoyed by all, especially the born losers.

Fast Eddie:  Thanks for the drink.

The Hustler is a film that succeeds in every facet of filmmaking and stands out in my mind as the epitome of film perfection.  Winning only 2 Oscars (Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Cinematography, Black & White) out of 9 nominations (missing out on Best Actor-Newman, Best Supporting-Gleason, Best Supporting-George C. Scott*, Best Lead Actress-Laurie, Best Director-Rossen, Best Picture-Rossen, Best Writing/Screenplay-Carroll,Rossen), The Hustler is proof that either its message is felt (that even the best, loses) or that the Academy is crooked.  Either way, The Hustler remains aloft, coasting far above external validation and finding its nest in the movie collections of those that have an eye for the exquisite.

* * *

*The word “losing” has, in our society, a great negativity about it.  Athletes (for the most part) despise losing and see winning and losing as the grande score sheet that reflects who they are and what their abilities are.  Losing, in a more philosophical and psychological context brings about growth, maturity, betterment, and is (usually) lacking from someone who consistently wins.  “The art of losing” is not meant to imply that losing is one’s goal, but rather, an artistic source for finding one’s true metal.

*George C. Scott, the consummate professional, held great contempt for the Academy Awards and shocked Hollywood as the first person to ever refuse an Oscar® (Patton, 1970).  He called it a ‘2 hour meat parade’ and later said that the whole thing was offensive, barbarous and innately corrupt.  Was it the organization itself, the playing on the “stars” vanity, or the idea of awards in general? I suppose we’ll never know.  But to The Hustler’s credit, it should have won more – showing us that (at least in 1961) the Academy had a smidge of favoritism for West Side Story (winning 10 Oscars®).



Posted in Horror with tags , , , , , , on 10/31/2009 by joycereview

9bearparanormal-activityIt’s the night before Halloween and Jenny and I are eager to see what the buzz is about; this Paranormal Activity.   Sources said that this 15k film had already raked in $22 million and was largely due to its genius marketing approach.  I have to admit that I was very intrigued by the trailer which features audiences as they gasp and advert there eyes in terror.  I have to say, that after viewing this film, the hype is warranted… and I believe that the masses must be correct with this one.

Paranormal Activity begins [without the much-loved, movie trailers beforehand] straight away, with young couple, Katie and Micah.  Micah just purchased an expensive video camera to document their paranormal experiences within their new household.  Naive Micah boldly attempts to flush out the spirit while at the same time, protecting and comforting his girlfriend.  During the “witching hours” of the night, the experiences become increasingly more intense.

There will obviously be critics and viewers that think this is rubbish, but I believe they’ll have a hard time explaining themselves for several reasons.

  • If the average critic looks at this film, they can’t possibly mark off for poor acting because, as Katie and Micah are playing normal non-acting inhabitants, their actions, their uncomfortable behavior in front of the camera is understandable.  Who’s completely themselves when a camera is in front of them?  Besides, the acting is well done for the most part (just a few iffy moments), the dialogue was realistic and their relationship seemed very genuine.
  • If the same critic looks at the technical aspects of the film, you have no choice but to chalk it up to the fact that Micah is a first-time director [as his character] and must use only that which he is given (i.e. light, sound, etc).

As a film lover and reviewer, we have to stay as objective as possible and ask ourselves truthfully,  “How frightened were we” and importantly, “Were we entertained?”  For Jenny and I, we were thoroughly entertained.  Jenny clutched and clamped off the blood supply to my right arm several times during those night-time camera shots.  As a horror fan myself, de-sensitized to most shock and gore, I found Paranormal Activity to be a film that exceeds the mold of most horror flicks because of its relation to the audience.  We relate to the couple because, like most of the audience, we came in as couples and we behave and would have behaved in a similar fashion as the people in the film [with the exception that perhaps most of us would have left the house, called Tangina (reference to Poltergeist), or gotten a young priest and old priest! (reference to The Exorcist)].

Micah, like most men, feel like they can fix anything.  Something goes wrong… what do we need to do?  It’s a mystery to be solved.  Katie gets angered at his attempts to get the spirit to “reveal itself” and like a rebellious child, continues to act like Peter Venkman and attempts to ghost-bust the entity.  But they are missing some vital pieces of equipment- a proton pack, ghost trap and an Ecto-Containment Unit.  Katie’s temper flares in a most realistic fashion, and sends my male body into a quite familiar state- stubborn dismissal.  He humorously asks the entity “What’s your quest?”…  “What’s your favorite color?” -which gave this Monty Python fan a teethful grin and a hardy laugh.

The deduction comes not necessarily from the film’s lack of trying, but from the departure of what a rational human being, when confronted by the supernatural, would do.  At what links would one go to seek help? Katie and Micah didn’t realistically seek hard enough and it can’t help but to come across to the audience.  The movie, although a bit slow at the beginning, comes through in big ways.  Shot stylistically like The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity gave more depth by creating a force/entity that audiences are familiar with (by way of shows like Ghost Hunters and Supernatural) – but by which the force remains unknown, unexplainable and unstoppable.  Watch for yourself and give your comments below.  We want to know!

On a similar note – and this is the truth – Jenny and I had a brush with the “paranormal” just today.  Coincidence or not?  What did happen is that we had just finished our martial art class and were ready to leave the studio when a necklace, encased in an airtight plastic necklace holder, swung against the side of the container and continued to swing from side-to-side while the remaining 3 necklaces remained still.  A bit freaked out, but still skeptical, I peered around and didn’t find anything that could have moved it… no black cat.. no gremlin.  Jenny and I were the only witnesses.  But it gets me thinking… are the spirits a bit more alive on Halloween?