A young woman, performing the good deed of returning a purse she found on the subway, becomes the victim of a middle aged psychotic stalker. The 'setup' went on for about 30 minutes and was rather dull and uninteresting ...I almost turned it off. The 'stalking' part was disturbing, suspenseful, tense and scary. Isabelle Huppert did a fine job as the badass psycho. The last 40 minutes was contrived and silly with one terrible decisions after another being made leaving me shaking my head in wonder at how badly they could screw this up. Did they change writers?
Dementia 13 
Rotten Tomatoes = 65 / 35
Personal = 5.6
After the death of her husband, a woman tries to con her mother-in-law into believing in the ghost of a young girl who died 7 years ago so that she can work her way into the old ladies will. But something far more sinister is going on. Produced by Roger Corman and Written / Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this is an interesting thriller, more for it's nostalgic sense than anything else. It's certainly not a mystery as everything plays out exactly as expected. At the time, I would imagine it was considered a rather grisly affair, though. Not bad.
I Am Mother 
Rotten Tomatoes = 90 / 74
Personal = 7.9
After an extinction event, a girl is raised by a robot in a re-population facility. All is going well until another human shows up. This extremely intelligent, mature, well written sci fi deals with its subject matter realistically and poignantly. The viewer is placed in the position of the girl, who in her naivety, constantly tries to separate out the truth among the lies and subterfuge, from both 'mother' and the new human, that simply does not stop, leaving us off balance and unsettled right up to the satisfying and logical climax. Fascinating!
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 
Rotten Tomatoes = 86 / 86
Personal = 9.2
4 major story lines in one movie; a reporter's social disgrace for libel, rape and revenge, the investigation of serial killings going back to the 40's, all centered around a girl's disappearance in 1966. The characters are fully fleshed out and real, what should be a confusing mess is handled brilliantly with each story getting it's proper due and fully realized, each with it's own stellar climax. Handled expertly by David Fincher
movies this well constructed are rare and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth is superb.
Alone in the Dark 
Rotten Tomatoes = 78 / 40
Personal = 4.5
4 criminally insane psychopaths escape an institution and lay siege to the house belonging to their new doctor as they think he killed the old one. I'm sure all the big names drew a crowd but this has to be the most casual and leisurely psycho killer movie I've ever seen. It just strolls along with no suspense or tension to speak of ...even the action and attack scenes feel lethargic. The writer / director, Jack Sholder, when on to direct
one of the best thrillers of the 80's but it appears he hadn't gotten his chops yet on this one. Pretty dull.
Ruben Brandt, Collector 
Rotten Tomatoes = 81 / 83
Personal = 7.4
An animated film about a psychiatrist who enlists the help of his clients to steal 13 masterpieces causing him nightmares. The world, and especially its inhabitants, is rather abstract and feels very Picasso making it a constant visual treat. The characters came off as quite real, despite 3 eyes or a split head, and, although there's no LOL moments, it's all quite humorous and entertaining. I had issues with the ending, though hopeful, as there was a lot of time invested in other story elements that were left unresolved. Odd, but still a fun, exciting watch.
Skeleton Man 
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 4
Personal = 3.8
A ridiculously bad yet oddly entertaining film about a guy in a skeleton suit wearing a robe that looks like a black shower curtain that switches from brand new to torn and tattered with every scene slicing, stabbing, decapitating and impaling a lot of supposedly trained military personal who couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag. Interrupt this excitement for some really bad acting and horrendous dialogue and there you have it. But, I was never bored and I actually found myself giggling at times.
would have a field day with this one.
The Russian Bride 
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 50
Personal = 7.0
An reclusive, retired plastic surgeon, played with a whole new level of creepy by Corben Bernson, finds a new Russian wife, complete with a young daughter, online. I wasn't expecting much as I figured it was going to generally be something about abuse. Boy was I wrong! The insidious nature of the film, and a pinch of the supernatural, keeps the viewer uncomfortable without revealing what's really going on until just the right moment. Then things get ugly. The last half hour of this film is a pure adrenaline, high octane slaughter fest I never saw coming. Awesome!
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 
Rotten Tomatoes = 85 / 87
Personal = 8.3
See my review of the
for a synopsis. Made in Sweden two years earlier, this is the first in the Lisbeth trilogy ...the other 2 films made at the same time and coming out later in 2009. Both versions place their story emphasis on different parts making each a unique take on the same story and outcome. Not as intense and well constructed as the US version (certainly made as a stand-alone film), this one still manages to hold up quite well as the start of the trilogy and features an excellent performances by Noomi Rapace.