Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund talk about the weekend’s big releases, the scared-of-the-dark thrills of “Don’t Breathe,” the walking-and-talking of “Southside with You,” the noirish grit of “Manhattan Night” and Natalie Portman’s directorial debut “A Tale of Love and Darkness.”
Richard sits in with Todd van der Hayden to have a look at “Don’t Breathe,” a new edge-of-your-seat home invasion flick, the romantic “Southside with You,” the noirish “Manhattan Night” and Natalie Portman’s directorial debut “A Tale of Love and Darkness.”
Half lit hallways and gloomy basements are standard backdrops for spooky stories. “Don’t Breathe” makes good use of them, playing on our primal fear of the dark in a topsy turvy home invasion story that sees the invaders terrorized by the man who was meant to be their victim.
Set in Detroit, the movie follows Alex (Dylan Minnette), Rocky (Jane Levy) and Money (Daniel Zovatto) as they hatch a plan to rob the house of a blind military vet (Stephen Lang). “I got our ticket outta here,” says Money. “Rumour is, this guy is sitting on at least three hundred K.” Their goal is to grab the stack of cash The Blind Man won in a wrongful death settlement when his only child was killed and hightail it to California to start new lives. Despite Alex’s reservations—“It’s pretty messed up to rob a blind guy, isnt’ it?”—the trio go to the man’s house on an abandoned block of the city’s downtown, drug the guard dog and search for the money. Their easy score proves elusive when their victim turns the table, and hunts them in the dark.
“Don’t Breathe” presents a conundrum. Who do you root for the bad people who broke into the house or the bad man who lives in the house? Either way, one thing is clear, you don’t need to be afraid of the dark, you need to be afraid of what’s in the dark. “Evil Dead” rebooter Fede Alvarez combines the primal scares that come along with claustrophobic, dark spaces with a weird anxiety inducing soundtrack a slow building sense a=of dread and some of the best bug-eyed acting I’ve seen in a horror film in some time to create a down-‘n-dirty horror flick.
From Lang sniffing, as though tracking his prey through scent to Levy’s large expressive eyes to the prerequisite gore—although the film gets more violent than clever near the end—“Don’t Breathe” is suspenseful and unpredictable, just like whatever is out there hiding in the dark.
“Goosebumps,” the new Jack Black comedy-horror based on R.L. Stine’s wildly popular books, is more silly than scary but contains enough tricks to be a fun treat for Halloween.
Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) isn’t too happy about moving from New York City to Madison, Delaware but his attitude improves when Hannah (Odeya Rush), the cute girl in the big, spooky house next door, introduces herself. She welcomes the big city kid but her father, R.L. Stine (Jack Black), isn’t so hospitable. “You see that fence?” he snarls. “Stay on your side of it!”
Of course Zach ignores the warning and soon finds himself on the wrong side of the fence, inside Stine’s library. The shelves are lined with dozens of books with titles like “The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena” and “The Werewolf of Fever Swamp.” It’s Stine’s life’s work, a collection of scary novels for kids, populated by creatures that exist only in the author’s imagination… until Zach opens one of the books and unleashes the fiends into the real world. As the Abominable Snowman wreaks havoc in Madison, Zach learns that Hannah and Stine keep the book’s beasts locked up inside the manuscripts. With Vampires, and Werewolves, and Demons—oh my!—
On the loose the town is in danger. Only Stine and the kids can put an end to the monster mayhem and take the beasties from the stage to back on the page.
“Goosebumps” will tickle your funny-bone more than raise any actual goosebumps, but it’s a fun throwback to the kind of teenage thriller best enjoyed at a Saturday afternoon matinee movie with a large box of popcorn and a Coke. The movie is meant for teens, but older viewers—whether you’re of the “Monster Squad” age or the “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” generation—should get a nostalgic blast from the harmless scary fun on display.
Film critic Richard Crouse sits down with CP24’s Nathan Downer to look at some of the new movies out this week, including “The Judge,” “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” and “Dracula Untold.”
Unsafe parenting. Reckless driving. A stoned teenager. No, it’s not the long awaited sequel to Larry Clark’s “Kids,” it’s the latest family fare from Disney.
Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) is having a bad day. It’s the eve of his twelfth birthday and nothing is going right. He got gum stuck in his hair, he almost burns down the science lab at school and worst of all, no one is going to come to his birthday party because Phillip Parker, “a really cool kid with a hot tub and ADHD,” has scheduled a wild bash for the same night.
Things are going well for the rest of the family. Teen brother Anthony (Dylan Minnette) is taking the “hottest girl in school” to the prom and is about to get his driver’s license. Sister Emily (Kerris Dorsey) is about to star in a school production of “Peter Pan,” mom (Jennifer Garner) is due for a promotion and dad (Steve Carell) has a promising job interview.
Feeling down, Alexander makes a birthday wish. He wants everyone to know what it is like to have a “horrible, terrible, no good day.” Soon Emily gets a cold on the day of her performance, Anthony gets a zit and domestic chaos reigns.
The obvious joke to make about “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” would be to suggest that it should be retitled “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Movie.” But that would be disingenuous. It’s not terribly interesting, but it’s also not terrible, horrible, no good or very bad.
It’s gently paced family fare with a few genuine laughs and few surprises. Carell and Jennifer Garner are the most good-natured parents ever—when Emily vomits on dad after taking too much cough medicine he says, “Oh. I bet that felt good.”—and from that blossoms some funny situations and lines—“I’m going to need you to make an incredible effort on the potty tomorrow.”—but all are in service of the movie’s central theme that everybody has bad days.
Many of the situations don’t really feel organic. Instead they feel like set-ups to gags, outrageous filler—look Carell’s on fire!—to keep us interested until the inevitable happy ending.
Parents won’t find much to hold their attention in “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” but younger kids will likely get a kick out of the bad behavior on display. “Kids” it ain’t, although the Cooper children seem to get away with everything just short of murder.