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Flash Movie Review: Disconnect

I feel like I am walking around with a jukebox in my pocket thanks to the internet. Finding a nearby movie theater’s showtimes, while driving home after class, is an easy task for my smartphone. Even being able to notify a friend exactly where I am stuck in traffic has been a benefit due to the internet. I think about that person who seeks out like minded people with similar interests or the individual who wants to try a new recipe for a dinner party; all benefiting from the internet. Since I believe we are born with both good and evil inside of us, unfortunately there is a darkness attached to the internet by people who have chosen to follow their evil side. The stories in this film were a real statement for the times we live in today. It was uncomfortable watching portions of this movie that had three separate story lines in it. A common thread going through each story had to do with people searching for an emotional connection in their lives. Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses, Arrested Development-TV) was corporate lawyer Rich Boyd, a workaholic who was detached from his children and wife Lydia, played by Hope Davis (Real Steel, The Weather Man). Alexander Skarsgard (Melancholia, True Blood-TV) and Paula Patton (Deja Vu, Precious) played married couple Derek and Cindy Hull, still reeling from the death of their young baby. Andrea Riseborough (Made in Dagenham, W.E.) was news correspondent Nina, who saw the potential for a news story when she found Kyle, played by Max Thieriot (Jumper, Chole), in an internet chat room. The ensemble cast worked well together in this dramatic movie as their characters were exposed to cyber-bullying, identity theft and exploitation to name a few. As the stories unfolded, I definitely felt the creepiness coming out of them. After the climatic intersection of stories took place, I was let down by the film’s ending. I know one aspect of the internet has allowed people to take a courageous step in making connections. Sadly it pertains to both good and bad people. One brief scene with blood.

 

3 1/4 stars

Flash Movie Review: House at the End of the Street

As I drove to the movie theater, I had to wonder who made the decision that put Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone, The Hunger Games) into this film. From the ad campaign it looked like this was a horror movie; why would Jennifer put herself into this type of film? All I could think was Jennifer would look back at this film as a speed bump in her career. Playing teenaged Elissa, she and her divorced mother Sarah, played by Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas, Hollow Man), moved to a small town to get a fresh start. Upon arriving at their new home, the two discovered a tragic event had taken place at the house next door, several years ago. The parents were murdered by their daughter, who then fled the scene, never to be found again. The only survivor was her brother Ryan, played by Max Thieriot (Jumper, The Pacifier); who years later returned to the house, only to be shunned by the townsfolk. Elissa ignored the warnings and tried to befriend the quiet neighbor. But, would Elissa be safe being alone with Ryan in that house of tragedy? While watching Jennifer in this role, I was relieved to see she still had not lost her command of the screen. This woman has a great screen presence. Elisabeth as the mother was the perfect antagonist to her daughter; their scenes together sparked across the screen. Unfortunately they could not save this cliched thriller that left me emotionally detached. I did not find the movie scary, though I liked a couple of the twists in the story. With a PG-13 rating, this was not a slasher type of movie; think of it more like Psycho light. I cannot remember seeing any blood in the movie, but I may have missed it when I was checking the time on my watch. Was this a bad choice for Jennifer? I do not think it will hurt her in the long run; but let us say, it was a lateral move in what I feel will be a long movie career for her.

 

2 1/3 stars

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