Category Archives: sixth sense

ParaNorman

ParaNorman ~ I wasn’t sure what to think of ParaNorman when I first saw previews for it. It kinda struck a comedic animated cross between The Sixth Sense and Hocus Pocus. It certainly had to be more than just a clever title, right? After seeing it, I’m still not sure. Maybe it’s a bullying parable gone wildly astray after too many trips through the Hollywood idea machine. Maybe not.

In a town founded on the legend of a particularly nasty witch trial, Norman is a horror obsessed little boy with a non understanding family, few to no friends, and the ability to see dead people. Yep, just like little Haley Joel Osmont, he sees ghosts, but most of them are harmless. Except for the ghost of the witch who cursed the town. And in the words of Remo Williams, the adventure begins.

The character designs are grotesque but interesting, and refreshingly don’t stink of Tim Burton’s mind. This is a world where everything is crooked, askew, making it a treat to view. I only wish there were more to the story. There is one neat twist but much of the rest is fairly predictable.

This might be a bit intense for the kids, unless they like horror and monsters. Good watch if you wait for cable or DVD, and if you go to the theatre, save your money and see it in 2D.

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The Nature of Spoilers

Since I’ve gotten my iPhone, with the miracles of streaming Netflix and HBO Go, I have been stripping entire TV series before I go to bed instead of reading myself to sleep. I have gotten to see some pretty cool programs, stuff like “Oz,” “Avatar the Last Airbender,” “Nip/Tuck,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Big Love” and “Deadwood.” Great stuff, just amazing television. And also through apps like Miso and GetGlue, I’m able to let folks know what I’m watching.

My most recent project has been “Six Feet Under,” and a friend of mine saw I was watching it and offered his opinion that the first season was great (of which I’m only almost done), the second was only okay and that the third and fourth seasons jumped the shark. Now I know that “Six Feet Under” is more than a handful of years old, but it got me thinking about spoilers, and when is it safe to talk about something after it happens without spoiling it?

I would think that news and sports would have the absolute shortest shelf life. News travels at the speed of light nowadays with Twitter. Sports would be only as long as you can keep a secret I suppose. I have a friend, seriously not into sports, who used to make it a game to see how long he could go without knowing who was playing in the Super Bowl each year. He used to do quite well, but this was back in the days before the Super Bowl was about more than football. Now it’s more about middle-aged women exposing themselves or which ancient rocker was going to break a hip in stage this year.

In my tiny world of comic books, where the new titles come out on Wednesdays and most folks don’t buy them until Friday, mid-weekend seems to be safe harbor to talk without spoilers. For TV, even in the age of DVRs and OnDemand, it seems a good idea to avoid the water cooler and not speak until at least the next episode airs.

Movies are a little different and I think fall into my “Six Feet Under” problem. Everyone knows Rosebud is a sled, but how many folks know the calls are coming from inside the house, Deckard might be a replicant, and that Bruce Willis is really dead – or do they?

Should it just come down to a matter of courtesy? If you know someone hasn’t seen something, just be cool and don’t spoil it, or should there be a statute of limitations on entertainment? What are the rules for spoilers?

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Ghost Town

Ghost Town ~ David Koepp has written some amazing movies, some of my faves like the most recent Shadow flick and the first Spider-Man, but for the most part he leaves me cold. The last Indiana Jones movie and the Tom Cruise War of the Worlds spring immediately to mind. So it’s with trepidation I watched Ghost Town which he wrote and directed.

Alternately I love Ricky Gervais, but only from his standup and especially HBO’s “Extras.” Don’t even ask about “The Office.” I have yet to be able to sit through an entire episode of either series from either side of the Atlantic. Some folks love it, but it continues to elude me.

Ricky however, completely carries this film. Without him and his caustic personality this would be a painful and unfunny Lifetime reject of a telemovie. This comedic play on the concept from The Sixth Sense wears pretty thin without him to hold it together. I’ve never seen Greg Kinnear more annoying, and Tea Leoni’s talents are wasted in her role.

To me, there’s no secret why this heartless comedy that tries too hard and is a tad bit predictable bombed at the box office. Worth a look only for Ricky Gervais fans.

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Quickies 8-11-2009

Bam Bam and Celeste ~ In the week after the death of John Hughes, it was very difficult to watch this one. Margaret Cho, who not only starred, but also wrote, wants badly to channel John Hughes here. High school misfits, after a decade or so, declare independence and fight back against their rivals from school on a reality TV makeover show. It would be a perfect 1980s teen flick but the main problem is that it was made in 2005. There are moments. As long as it doesn’t get preachy (which it unfortunately does at times) you can root for the leads. Margaret is good, as is Alan Cumming in a sadly small role, but the rest you’ve seen all before, and done better. Worth a watch if nothing else is on.

Gacy ~ This serial killer bioflick about the infamous John Wayne Gacy tries far too hard to be everything at once. Starring Pee-Wee Herman’s bike-swiping nemesis Mark Holton, it covers a very short period of Gacy’s life between his wife leaving him and his arrest, but skips over other areas of interest. When the flick tries to be arty toward the end the effect is unfortunate. Worth watching for folks interested in the subject matter.

Moon ~ The less said about this, the better – and that’s a good thing. Like The Sixth Sense this scifi thriller set on the moon in the near future is a film best seen with no prior knowledge of the plot. This is an Oscar caliber performance by Sam Rockwell that the Academy had better not forget come December. Definitely don’t miss.

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