Day 203 & Day 204 & Day 205 – Ghost in the Shell & Demon House & Amour

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Movie Title: Ghost in the Shell

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min.

Rated: PG-13

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Ghost in the Shell was hammered when it came out because of its whitewashing. The whitewashing in the movie is definitely present. The movie takes place in Asia yet very few of the lead characters are Asian. I don’t think it was deliberate and that the movie was aiming for star power in the title role with Scarlett Johansson, but that doesn’t explain the rest of the casting. Despite this flaw, I don’t think it should be allowed to ruin the movie. I am also nearly completely unfamiliar with the story of the series, so if you are a fan of the series my review may not be particularly pertinent.

Ghost in the Shell opens with Major (Scarlet Johansson) being inserted into a new shell. The ghost or brain was all that remained of her real body. As a result of continued science in augmenting human bodies they were able to save Major. Major takes on the role of fighting some of the most dangerous criminal around and quickly stumbles onto the vicious and violent Kuze (Michael Pitt) who is up to something nefarious. Major draws a quick attraction to Kuze’s case and goes to great lengths to try and catch him.

The movie is very pretty and enlivens a vibrant city full of life and color. It is futuristic, but not completely dystopian. There is poverty, but not to the scale of a movie like Blade Runner and not nearly as grim. However the story is incredibly predictable and lacks genuine feeling. There is no feeling for any of the characters. Certain characters are assassinated and the appropriate resonance is lacking. There are huge moments of foreshadowing early on where it is painfully obvious who the villain and the victim are in the movie. The action scenes are pretty good even if they are a tad bit reliant on Johansson’s skin tight suit.

Verdict:

I greatly enjoyed the world that the story took place in though the rest of the plot was fairly weak. The world itself is very intriguing though and kept me interested. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Demon House (2018)

 

Movie Title: Demon House

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 51 min.

Rated: UR

Who did I watch with?: Stephie and Kyle

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

I watched this movie on a whim because it had a cool poster and an interesting description. Once it started I realized it wasn’t a movie at all, but a “documentary” by Zak Bagans who hosted a show called Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel. It did not take me long to reach the conclusion that Zak Bagans is a blowhard asshole. I find “documentaries” of this type to be fascinating for two reasons. I like to see what people are gullible enough to believe and often they are bloody hilarious. This met both qualifications.

The “documentary” opens with Bagans discussing how he had a dream in which a ten foot tall goat man breathed smoke into his lungs. He then goes into detail about how shortly thereafter he heard about a house in Gary, Indiana that seemed like it could be authentically haunted. He bought the house over the phone from its previous owner (which comes to make no sense in short order) and goes to check it out. He then tries to contact the previous residents and other people that have lived in the house in order to get their stories about what happened there. These events are re-enacted in lame dramatic sequences. There is no live footage from anything that happened inside the house or what happened in hospitals associated with their stories. The families story also flip flops several times. The most and perhaps only convincing element of the whole movie was contact with former social workers that handled the family, but I wouldn’t be surprised if those were fake as well.

The conclusions reached and presentation are hilarious. The premise essentially boils down to everyone that goes into the house suffers some horrific fate short of death after visiting. Demonic possession is presented as making funny faces. Satan is blamed for a crooked bicycle seat. One of the people that visited the house claims to have horrific organ failure while on the set of the most ridiculously fake hospital ever designed. A pan is found under some stairs and it is determined that this was the site of a Satanic ritual, so local police dig it up and find assorted items that I don’t know could have been dropped there are discovered. Ultimately, Bagans (no relation to Frodo) has himself locked inside the house. At the movie’s climax when he is about to be attacked by some type of demonic force the camera goes blurry so you can’t see anything. Surprise! It is alluded to that the goat demon he dreamed about haunts the house repeatedly. One medium confirms it via telephone. She. spoke. to. the. demon. through. the. telephone.

Verdict:

Doing a little research on Bagans after watching the “documentary” it was evident that he had been caught faking paranormal activity on set before. He is a fraud as I think all these shows are. If you are into watching some hilarious hypocrites prey on the weak minded take a look. Otherwise, skip it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Amour (2012)

 

Movie Title: Amour

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 2 hr. 7 min.

Rated: PG-13

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Amour stars Jean-Louis Tringtignant and Emmanuelle Riva as a couple growing old gracefully. Georges and Anne are retired music teachers. Their daughter lives nearby, but is often away. She pops in infrequently to check on them. Life is good. That is, until Anne suffers a significant stroke and is partially paralyzed.

Georges becomes her de facto caregiver and it is hard. He has to tend to all of her needs and he is not young himself. Outside caregivers are brought in and they are aloof. Georges makes her a promise that she will not go back to the hospital or be put into a retirement home. This is a promise he intends to keep. As Anne’s condition continues to deteriorate it is apparent Georges will have to make some hard decisions for both of them. It is the love story not often shown in movies. Young love is glamorous. Old love is precious too, but not nearly as glamorous.

Verdict:

The performances are understated, but perfect for the movie and it pulls on the heart strings. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Unfriended (2014)

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