Saturday, February 14, 2009


Written by Senora Bicho

I absolutely adore Diane Lane and figured that Nights in Rodanthe would be the perfect choice for Valentine’s Day. So I curled up on the couch with a blanket and a latte, ready for romance.

Nights in Rodanthe is based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks which tells the story of Adrienne (Diane Lane), the mother of two whose husband Jack (Christopher Meloni) left her for another woman but now he wants her back. Her relationship with her teenage daughter is also strained, so she finds herself questioning what she should do.

When a friend asks her to watch over her Bed and Breakfast, located on the beach in the small town of Rodanthe, it provides the perfect opportunity for Adrienne to go and do some soul searching. Once there, Adrienne finds herself joined for the weekend by only one guest. Paul (Richard Gere) is a surgeon who recently lost a patient during an operation. While heading to see his estranged son, Paul stops over in Rodanthe at the request of the former patient’s husband.

Adrienne and Paul bond quickly over their personal dilemmas. When a hurricane hits, they turn to each other for support, which naturally leads to romance. It is this romance and mutual support that gives them each the strength to take care of their unresolved problems and changes their lives forever.

The chemistry between Diane Lane and Richard Gere, in their third film together, is strong. A great supporting cast that includes Scott Glenn, Viola Davis and James Franco joins them. Unfortunately the actors can only do so much with the material. The supporting cast is completely underutilized and the story is predictable and non-engaging. Do not waste your time on this overly sappy tale. If you want to see Lane and Gere in action you are much better off checking out 2002's Unfaithful.

The DVD doesn’t offer any extras, but it does offer the movie in widescreen and full-screen formats. There is also the opportunity to download a digital copy of the film.

Friday the 13th, Part 2 (Deluxe Edition)

Written by Tío Esqueleto

Friday the 13th, Part 2 opens two months after the horrific events of the original. We see Annie, the heroine and sole survivor from Part 1, is still living in the town of Crystal Lake trying to put her life back together. A phone call from mom and a quick shower later, Jason is jamming an ice pick into her temple as she stares at the rotting, severed head (her own handy work form the climax of the previous film) of Jason’s mother, Mrs. Voorhees. Revenge has been served, establishing our new killer, setting the tone for the next 80 minutes.

Now, why Annie didn’t leave Crystal Lake (or New Jersey, altogether) is the first thing to come to mind, but if you’re looking for convention and logic in this series, or any fine slasher film for that matter, then you should probably just leave the room and make it easier on the rest of us who are well aware of what we are in for, and eager to play along.

So, now it’s five years later and a new group of kids has gathered at a near by camp to train as counselors for the upcoming season. Paul, the guy in charge, assures everybody that the past is the past: Jason drowned, his mother was killed, and “Camp Crystal Lake is off limits.” The only thing he’s right about is Jason’s mother being dead.

What ensues is a killing spree as Paul and half of the team goes out to the local bar, while the other half stay back to fuck and get high. Teen stuff. The staples of the genre. Paul and Ginny, his girlfriend and this chapter’s heroine, return to find the carnage and the masked man responsible. Before we know it, we are in Jason’s all-too-creepy ramshackle shack, deep in the surrounding woods, for the final showdown and eventually Jason’s first ever unmasking.

Released in 1981, Part 2 saw Sean Cunningham handing director duties over to producer and longtime friend Steve Miner, who would also go on to direct the series’ next installment. With the tagline “The body count continues,” Friday the 13th, Part 2 was to be bigger and bloodier than the last, and apparently it was, until the MPAA got a hold of it. They had been gearing up for it since the last one, which they had obviously slept through the first time around. What results are ten delightful kills where the payoffs remain on the cutting-room floor. Unlike the cut scenes from the first film, these scenes are not included here, are said to be lost forever, and will likely never be seen again.

The 10 kills are:

  • ice pick to the temple
  • barbed wire strangulation
  • claw hammer to the head
  • upside-down throat slitting
  • stabbing
  • machete to the face
  • double impalement
  • knife to the stomach
  • One presumed death (Paul)

The most notable of these being the Jeff and Sandra sex-kabob, and of course wheelcahir-bound Mark’s machete to the face and push down the stairs in the pouring rain. Now Texas isn’t the only place where wheelchairs aren’t off limits.

While it’s hard to pick a hands-down favorite in the franchise, I do feel Part 2 is the scariest. With this sequel we see the birth of Jason Voorhees as our killer. He’s not the unstoppable killing machine we’ve come to know over the years. You’re not rooting for him the way it came to be around the sixth installment in the F13 franchise (where it all went downhill in my opinion). In this one he’s terrifying as fuck and you just want him to go away. Say what you will about his now-iconic hockey mask, but Jason has never been scarier than with the potato sack, with the one eye cut out, over his head.

The newly released DVD, sadly, isn’t anything to rush out for. The transfer looks suspiciously similar to past releases and the featurettes are pretty goddamn rotten. It does have the infamous theatrical trailer with the continuing body countdown (“14…15…”), which is a real treat, but nothing new to past purchasers. There is one featurette with the author of Crystal Lake Memories, Peter M. Bracke. While the feature itself is pretty worthless, it is a great plug for the book, which I cannot recommend enough. It is a must -have for any fan of all things Friday. It really is the definitive companion, and a huge resource for this review. In fact, don’t spend your money on the new DVD (keeping in mind it has nothing to do with the film, rather this particular release), and instead save up for this book.