Thursday, February 4, 2016

Creepy Dolls & Scary Reality

Since last I posted, we came through "Winter Storm Jonas," which wasn't too bad here, but was devastating up in the DC/Crabtown/Philly/Big Apple region. Here, we got enough snow and sleet (mostly sleet) to shut down for a few days. Naturally, Ensley and I spent a large chunk of that time watching movies (for more details, go to the other blog, which is located here). Being off the roads meant we weren't watching new releases but were indulging our wide-ranging tastes through streaming options. We like documentaries - the truly scary stuff tends to be in reality, rather than from Eli Roth's twisted imagination - so we watched Going Clear, which is a fascinating exposé about the development and practices of the Church of Scientology. We also watched a documentary on rough poet Charles Bukowski, which I highly recommend. Since the roads were still icy, we also watched Galaxy Quest, which turned out to be an oddly-touching classic that I had somehow missed and we wrapped up the snowstorm with David Lean's winter epic Doctor Zhivago. (Sure, you think we had snow - watch a Russian winter!)

After the storm was over, we watched one more documentary that I think you should put on your list. Terms & Conditions May Apply takes an unblinking look behind those agreements on iTunes, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other websites that we mindlessly click on so we can use the services. What you learn will surprise, and possibly amaze, you. The amount of personal data that we willingly give up is astonishing and this film just might bring back the lost art of letter-writing, since it's a whole lot harder to read someone's "snail mail" than it is to mine their data.

We certainly had fun with all of that - winter weather is fine as long as you don't lose electricity - but it was time to get back to the theater. For fun, we decided to skip the Oscar contenders and take in The Boy. While this jump scare movie isn't getting the reviews and box office it deserves, we were both glad to go. The Boy is a solid genre picture - there's nothing particularly new here, but what is in the film is well-done. It's the sort of easily-watched-and-then-move-on-from popcorn flick that Hollywood used to produce by the dozen. Now everything needs to be a blockbuster. Fortunately, there's still a place for popcorn flicks.

Briefly, Greta (Lauren Cohan, best known as "Maggie" on The Walking Dead) is a young American woman fleeing a bad relationship. She takes a job as a nanny to an 8-year-old boy in the English countryside and is surprised to discover that her young charge is a life-sized porcelain doll whose "parents" treat as a real boy. (Shades of Pinocchio!) There's a long list of rules she needs to follow and once they have those covered, off they go for their first vacation in years. Naturally, strange things begin to happen. Is the doll haunted? Or is Greta going insane in this isolated manor house? The Boy is a fun jump-scare romp and one in which the heroine (almost) never does anything that is deeply stupid. (Beware attics and basements in creepy houses, but you know that, right?) The film actually has a couple of interesting things to say about loss, grief, and its power to play tricks on us, but the film itself is a rental, not a big screen item.

And a gentle reminder - you ARE watching "Meet Me at the Movies" on C19TV, right? Or on streaming? New shows every Friday! Just go to the college's website ( and select C19TV at the top of the screen - we're the first show on the top row! (Or use the quick link here!) You can even set up a Livestream account so you never, ever miss a show! How's that for service??

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