I have always found it curious how some people read instructions to learn something while others acquire knowledge visually. I fall into the latter category. Though I love to read, when it comes to being taught a new computer program or learn how to use a piece of equipment, I prefer watching either someone else doing it or a video on the equipment’s functions. One of the best examples of these two different ways of understanding is giving directions to someone. There are individuals who require landmarks with their directions, such as a gas station is on the southwest corner where you want to turn. There are others who just want the facts written down like travel east for 2 miles then turn north on Newgard Street. I do not judge one way being better than the other; it is just the way we are wired. However, in this film festival nominated movie two camps were set up for students, those who prefer words and those who would rather have pictures. Set in a prep school, one side was led by English teacher Jack Marcus, played by Clive Owen (King Arthur, The Boys are Back), who was determined to prove words were more important than pictures a/k/a art. Jack would have a fight on his hands with art teacher Dina Delsanto, played by Juliette Binoche (Dan in Real Life, The English Patient), who was a well known artist. Their rivalry would have an affect on the entire school. Clive and Juliette tried their hardest with the script they were given in this comedic drama. I enjoyed watching them throughout the film. Part of the cast also included the competent Valerie Tian (21 Jump Street, Juno) as student Emily and Bruce Davison (X-Men franchise, Harry and the Hendersons) as fellow teacher Walt. What knocked this film down into just being average was the poorly written screenplay. Besides being predictable I found some of the scenes did not work well at all. It really was a shame because one of the positives i found was showing teachers who were not your typical instructors, who had the ability to motivate their students. Looking back at the teachers I had during my school years, the ones that taught differently than the majority were always able to motivate me on a deeper level. I wanted to like this romantic movie more than I did; it had two things I absolutely enjoy, literature and art. When it comes to these two things I do not favor one over the other, but with this film I did not care a lot for either.
2 1/4 stars
Hiding under the basement staircase was a poor choice. The sound of the slow, heavy footsteps descending the stairs echoed louder. Across from me was my only means of exiting: a brand new door. One of its metal locks caught the dull wisp of moonlight through the nearby glass block window, reflecting it to me, hoping to entice me. I tried steadying my breath, since I could hear my heart beating in my ears. The sound of footsteps was no longer audible. Though I had no idea who broke into my house, I knew they were going to kill me. As I thought about making a run for the door, a thick warm hand from behind gripped my throat. I tried to scream but the sound was cut-off at my Adam’s apple, while the hand squeezed harder. The last thing I remembered was gagging as I felt a foul breath spreading across the back of my head. Jarred awake from catching my breath, beads of sweat were traveling towards my beard. Last autumn I experienced this same dream for several consecutive days. I still have not figured it all out, but I would rather experience it again then sit through this horror movie for a 2nd time. This was my first encounter with one of director Rob Zombie’s (House of 1000 Corpses, Halloween) films. Sheri Moon Zombie (The Devil’s Rejects, Halloween) played recovering addict Heidi Hawthorne. She along with both Hermans, played by Jeff Daniel Phillips (Faster, Unknown) and Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, Water for Elephants) hosted a local radio show in Salem, Massachusetts. After playing a record she received as a gift, Heidi began to experience disturbing images in her dreams. Was she suffering flashbacks or was there some meaning to the gruesome scenes? The movie actually caught my attention early with its fresh, edgy filming and plot set up. But as the story progressed; things fell apart, losing any tension that had been building up. The director, I have read, was proud to make this movie on a low budget. I am happy for him, but the scenes suffered with their cheap props. It was embarrassing to see Bruce Davison (X-Men franchise, Harry and the Hendersons) and Dee Wallace (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Cujo) in this film. I understand the fun of putting older celebrities into a film, but at least write them a good role. This was a nightmare of a movie and that is not a compliment. There were multiple scenes of blood and gore.
1 2/3 stars