Tom Basham

It Follows

In This Just OUT on March 27, 2015 at 8:16 pm

It-followsr-posterIt follows that it’s Friday and I went to the movies. I wanted to see something innovative and interesting, but I saw “It Follows.” Now I am always going to be looking over my shoulder.

Sweet young Jay (Maika Monroe from “The Guest”) is a girl, first of all, with a boy’s name, but that is the least of her problems. Seems her new boyfriend leaves her with more than crabs and regret, which was the name of my Glam-Rock band. After the deed is done and the chloroform wears off, he tells her the thing that was following him will now be following her.

This thing that follows has rules it follows, along with the chosen person. Though it may look like anyone, even someone you might know, it can only walk toward you and most of the time they are naked. So if you get in a car and drive 20 miles, it just keeps walking toward you, and in a few days it shows up – naked, most of the time. It’s this big, walking, naked, terminator-type person that you can’t kill. All you need to do is have sex with somebody and it will pass to the next person, but if that person dies, it will come back and follow you until you pass it on or it kills you. This thing is harder to get rid of than Hillary Clinton.

The story comes from the childhood fears of Director/Writer David Robert Mitchell (“The Myth of the American Sleepover“). That’s where the innovation stops, since “It Follows” follows all the tried and true elements of every other horror movie we have seen before. The Indie look of the movie helped it seem charming, as it made me think of the bygone B-films of the genre from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

While Mitchell executed the film well, he did not bring anything new to the chopping block. Even the notion that bad things happen to kids who have sex has been around since I was a kid. I was a little surprised these kids thought all they had to do was beat this thing in Marco Polo.

I enjoy a good horror movie. I produced three horror movies that I boldly think are just as good as this one. So you must understand how difficult it is for me to only give this movie 2 1/2 stars out of 5. I am only afraid this movie will do well at the box office and sequels will follow.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site:
 https://bashmovies.wordpress.com

Cinderella

In This Just OUT on March 15, 2015 at 8:34 pm

cinderella-posterIt may seem odd for me to watch a “Cinderella” story without Bill Murray in it, but I do have daughters, and they went with me. So I got that working for me, which is nice.

Cinderella (Lily James from “Broken”) has a beautiful country home and two great parents. Her mother dies when she is very young, and then a few years later her father dies as well. Now all she has is the home, which would be okay if she wasn’t saddled with a stepmother (Cate Blanchett from “The Monuments Men”) and two worthless stepsisters. Since Cinderella was raised to “be kind and have courage,” she soon becomes the slave to this twisted trio of interlopers.

Well, there is the prince (Richard Madden from “A Promise“), and a ball, and I don’t want to give too much away and spoil this story for anyone who has never seen it. Just trust me, things get weird.

While Disney has made an indelible mark on this European folktale, they still decided to put an Irishman, Kenneth Branagh (“Thor”), at the helm. Branagh brings his sense of charm and respect to the brand, including the perennial casting of his prior paramour Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother. While she is often over the top, I found her to be fairly fun and fitting for the fable.

It has been decades since someone tried to faithfully remake this magical tale with live actors in such a grand and epic manner. While there are many variations of this story going back centuries, what is presented here is largely a mash-up of the old Charles Perrault version published in 1697 and everything Disney has come up with since then.

I was surprised at how much I liked this movie. I thought I would be rolling my eyes every five minutes, but I found myself being drawn into the characters and the impressive sets and set pieces. Cinderella came off as strong and vulnerable at the same time as you watched her struggle. There was very little that bothered me, like the glass slipper looked more like a glass pump, but as a guy I shouldn’t notice those kinds of things.

I feel I must also give screenwriter Chris Weitz (“About a Boy”) credit here as this felt more like a movie than a fairy tale. There were times when things got whimsical, but the story felt driven by the characters and not by some old cartoon playbook. For that, I feel I must give this movie 4 stars out of 5. You might not live “happily ever after,” but you will appreciate sensible shoes.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site:
 https://bashmovies.wordpress.com

Still Alice

In This Just OUT on March 1, 2015 at 8:44 am

Still-Alice-PosterShe is “Still Alice,” even if she doesn’t live in her body anymore. I can’t remember when I was more scared of a movie or losing my train of thought and never getting to the station.

Alice Howland (Julianne Moore from “Non-Stop“) has a doctorate in linguistics and teaches at Columbia. Her whole life has been about the pursuit of knowledge and communication. When she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she tries everything to hold on to her life and lifetime of memories. Alice’s family is there to support her, but there isn’t much they can do. Actually, there is nothing that anyone can do but watch the Alice they love and know disappear before their eyes.

This is truly a horrible disease, as shown here; it affects everyone around Alice. As her condition deteriorates, Alice regresses to a child-like state where she can’t be left alone or tell people what she wants. Early on, Alice wishes she had cancer, as there is much more empathy and understanding from people who watch cancer take their life. With Alzheimer’s, Alice’s life is taken from her, but she is still alive. Few things are more difficult to deal with than a full-grown child.

Julianne Moore deserved the Oscar she got for this movie. You watch her go from being smart and brave to struggling and sickly to a pitiful and pathetic existence. Her husband John (Alec Baldwin from “Blue Jasmine“) does his best to keep the rest of the family together and not lose himself in the process. I have always seen family pull together in the beginning of life with baby love, and near the end when one passes on. It’s in the middle when family can be a real pain in the ass. I should be more understanding since my wife has to deal with my selective hearing disorder.

I was worried this Lifetime movie subject matter would hit below the belt and go for the easy tears. Instead, they landed above the belt, at the heart of the matter. Nothing was sensationalized or overdone, as the simple tale of Lisa Genova’s novel was terrifying enough.

This movie about a long, cruel and crippling death taught me something about life, and for that reason I must give this movie 4 stars out of 5. I only hope I don’t forget the most important things.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site:
 https://bashmovies.wordpress.com

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