Carrie: On Female Power and Identity

carrie_posterThe remake of Stephen King’s horror classic, Carrie, isn’t a great film, but it is a big upgrade from the 1976 original, directed by Brian De Palma. Despite Sissy Spacek’s performance, the original Carrie is a schlocky bastion of unintentional comedy with a rather repugnant male eroticism injected into it. Yes, the prom scene is exciting, but everything that leads up to it is janky as shit and it hasn’t aged well. Piper Laurie (The Hustler) is a good actress who was horrible in that movie—there’s a reason “they’re all going to laugh at you” is so often parodied: it’s an atrocious, unintentionally hilarious line reading. So while Chloe Grace Moretz’s portrayal of Carrie White does not top Spacek’s—though it has its moments, particularly as Carrie’s confidence and rage grow in equal proportion—Julianne Moore’s work as creepy Jesus-freak mom Margaret is a huge improvement. There is nothing laughable about Moore’s Margaret. She’s abusive and borderline psychotic and it’s deeply unsettling. Continue reading “Carrie: On Female Power and Identity”

Deep Thoughts with Rock of Ages

Yes, it is SUPER CHEESY. Yes, it is COMPLETELY OVER THE TOP. Yes, it is UTTERLY RIDICULOUS. And yes, even though I find musicals creepy and weird, I do love cheesy 80’s music so I am predisposed to enjoy a musical like Rock of Ages. And I did enjoy it, since I walked into the theater reminding myself that it was going to be all kinds of stupid and at times, even painfully embarrassing. Paul Giamatti is going to sing, I said to myself. PAUL GIAMATTI. This is the headspace you must be in for Rock of Ages. And if you can’t get there, I fully understand it. This is a highly-conditional recommendation. IF you like 80’s hair metal, IF you can roll with a horrendously directed movie that will still deliver on genuine beats of nostalgia and humor, and IF you can overlook the inherent freakiness of people sporadically bursting into song, you MIGHT like Rock of Ages. But keep in mind that Adam Shankman’s (Hairspray) direction is like watching a chimpanzee with space madness repeatedly run into a wall. It can be nearly impossible to watch at times. Continue reading “Deep Thoughts with Rock of Ages”