Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Written by Puño Estupendo

I can read your mind. I know you've been wondering when Hilary Swank was going to star in a supernatural horror film and if your life would be complete on a spiritual level were that to happen. Well I'm here to give you a mixed bag in the answers to your questions.

The Reaping is
a tale of supernatural horror and it does star Hilary Swank, but it really doesn't have any of the wonderful goodness that you've been praying for.

When a small, middle of podunk town is facing (what appear to be) the 10 plagues of the Bible, they reach out for help to Katherine Winter. A professor whose specialty is in the debunking of unexplained phenomena, she grabs her former assistant and travels down there with every intention of calling foul yet again. A river of blood? Surely this can all be logically explained? Maybe not. The townsfolk seem to be of the belief that it's being caused by a little girl.

As her investigation deepens, her personal issues rise to the surface. Though obviously charmed by Doug, her solicitor and hunky guide around town, she just can't let herself give in to either him or the plagues that are also defying her logic. Her sleuthing takes her through a pretty predictable cast of locals, from the religious zealot to the super-normal housewife; the set-up is nothing new. There's a conspiracy brewing here and they want that poor little girl killed! Professor Winter had better work some stuff out quick or there might literally be hell to pay! Is the little girl innocent or evil incarnate?

The Reaping
has a couple of things going for it. It's shot fair enough and everything to do with each of the plagues looks great. What it suffers from is its forwardness. I couldn't help but think that the original story for this was probably pretty good, but after being Hollywood-ized, it got completely dumbed down so it could easily be spoon fed to the masses. It's kind of predictable at times and very clichéd when there really was no need to be. This is driven home by the fact that they manage to keep Hilary in some shorts and tank tops to give just the right amount of T&A factor without going too ridiculous with it. That's pretty much the recurring theme here. Everything is just predictable enough to keep it from being great, but not so much as to make it truly painful.

Without divulging spoilers, the plot does lead to a couple of interesting places. It's just too bad that the cost of that ended up being its smarts.


Written by Puño Estupendo

Sometimes a moviegoer strikes out. For whatever reason, you find yourself in the distasteful position of having just watched a complete piece of shit movie. It lingers in your brain with thoughts like, “Someone actually put up a lot of money to make that horrible waste of time?” and you scratch your head in disbelief. Same thing goes for an actor or actress that blows you away at how untalented they are and you just can't believe that they have any sort of fame whatsoever.

Keeping these things in mind, take to heart the name “David Arquette” and let your hopes of life having a fair-and-balanced reward system be completely dashed against the jagged rocks of failed cosmic karma. As if knowing he's out there as an actor isn't heartbreaking enough, now the man is writing, producing and (stab my eyes!) directing.

This brings us to his film The Tripper. Touted as a horror/comedy, I feel it very safe to say that it doesn't come close to being either scary or funny, but it definitely is disturbing. With a mixed cast of head-scratchers and good-enoughs, Arquette attempts to tell a tale about a serial killer with a Ronald Reagan-fixation who is killing modern-day “hippies” that are gathered in the forest for some sort of music festival. With a staggering amount of Reagan-era references that are just a little outdated, Arquette tries to make some grand statements about politics and social themes that are neither new or even, in this case, particularly well done. Mix in some awful attempts at gore and murder and you're pretty much caught up to speed on what to expect.

Now the truly sad thing is that some of the people in front of the camera are pretty good here. Jaime King is very likable in this, as is Lukas Haas, and you get surprise appearances by Paul Reubens and Thomas Jane. What they're doing in here kind of baffles me more than a little bit and leads me to think that Arquette must be a pretty charming guy to have talked these people into this movie. There's enough in the on-screen charisma amongst the cast to suggest to me that everyone involved in the making of this flick enjoyed themselves quite a bit. In the supplemental behind-the-scenes feature, everyone interviewed speaks kindly of him and are really positive about their involvement, but it's just not enough to make this thing work on any level.

I could rip on this all day long, and am quite tempted to do so, but I think you're catching my drift. At the risk of not giving a proper description of the movie, there's no need for you to waste any time watching it; I wasted my time for you. Took one for the team on this one, so don't say I never did anything for you. You’re welcome.