Searching (2018)

Stories about missing persons are nothing new. Neither is utilizing a smartphone to make a movie anymore. But shooting an entire film through every kind of lens but a movie camera– and sometimes exclusively screens of websites, texts and social networking apps– is definitely a first! But make no mistake: this unique approach is by […]

Maudie (2016)

A well-meaning online discussion caught my attention: “Name a thoughtful non-romantic gesture by your significant other.” As if the two are mutually exclusive. Kindness and simplicity are vastly underappreciated. Often, excessive public displays of affection hide shallow, insecure relationships. Now we have social media to facilitate overcompensation. In contrast, those with the least appreciate it […]

Grace is Gone (2007)

When military personnel are assigned to a far-away tour, the loved ones left behind know there’s a chance they might not return. But awareness of the hypothetical doesn’t prepare anyone for reality. How do you tell your daughters their beloved mother is never coming home? How do you accept it yourself?

Nostalgia (2018)

There’s a good chance you’ll be anxious to get to a clearly salient point or bothered by jumps between story lines. Waxing poetic about life and death, love and loss may seem embarrassingly awkward or achingly tedious, at best. But that’s exactly where the tension lies in every conversation following tragedy: you’re either fumbling for […]

Return to Me (2000)

It’s unfair to judge a movie strictly by its genre; if you’re that highbrow, why bother to watch it? I’m not normally a fan of romantic comedies but I liked that this one wasn’t based on stalking or manipulation, neither of which are cute or funny. I also appreciated that it wasn’t about strangers believing their […]

Love Liza (2002)

Loss itself is not enigmatic. What’s most frustrating is the visceral: the how and the why. Even when the cause of death is known it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact way in which someone came into your life and how they managed to touch you as uniquely as they did. Often the bereaved is left […]

The Game (1997)

This movie is difficult to explain without spoilers. It’s the kind you just have to watch and see what unfolds. Answer each of the following questions with its corresponding number. The sum total of your answers will score your suitability.

 

TEST:

How cerebral are you?

Who cares/ wants to know?—4

I’m logical but still easy-going.—3

Currently overthinking my answer…—2

The question is too abstract.—1

 

When is it acceptable for a Psychological Thriller to be far-fetched or even implausible?

Whenever—4

Most of the Time—3

Seldom—2

Never—1

 

Must all improbable elements have an elaborately detailed background explanation?

No—4

Sometimes—3

Preferably—2

Absolutely—1

 

How does the thought of non-stop twists and turns right up to the end make you feel?

Intrigued—4

Optimistic —3

Skeptical—2

Anxious —1

 

Is a script equally dependent upon the actors and the writer(s) for execution of the plot?

Always—4

Generally—3

Rarely—2

Doesn’t Matter—1

 

TOTAL:

16-20 = What are you waiting for? Press play!

12-15 = Your satisfaction will depend on your attitude. Don’t overthink or analyze it; just enjoy.

1-11 = Skip it.

 

 

The Good Neighbor (2016)

Counter to its title, each main character is anything but courteous. High schooler, Ethan enlists the help of his techie classmate, Sean to prank their reclusive, cranky old neighbor by staging a haunting that will be secretly filmed for a school project. Initially, Sean agrees to Ethan’s plan to watch their neighbor’s reactions to occurrences (e.g. slamming screen door), which they control remotely. To both the pranksters’ disappointment, the response is minimal. As the incidences intensify, it becomes clear that Ethan has a deep emotional investment in psychologically torturing the old man. A falling out between the two prompts Sean to demand his equipment back but he’s essentially blackmailed into continuing with the experiment since it was all purchased on his credit card. When Ethan breaks in to adjust a camera toppled by the old man’s cat, he experiences his own unexplainable occurrence.