Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I love a good mystery, don't you?

Yesterday I went to see the hilariously titled The Box, starring some chick who used to be hot in the '90s and the too-handsome-to-be-taken-seriously Cyclops dude, written and directed by a guy who thinks that CGI liquid thingies are really cool and not lame at all and based on a short story by Richard Matheson, and I actually really liked it. Arthur and Norma are a happily married couple who live in 1976 with some sort of a kid and are having some sort of financial problems. Arthur works for NASA, but apparently someone up there thinks he's too kooky to go into outer space, even though he seems to have just the right look to be an astronaut in the '70s. Norma is a school teacher, and her tuition discount was just canceled. She also has a weird crazy foot which her students keep making fun of and rightly so, as freaks belong in the zoo, not in our schools. One morning they find a spooky cardboard box on their doorstep, containing a cool looking contraption with a big red button on top inside a locked glass dome. Later that day Norma gets a visit from a Frank Langella-looking sort of dude who happens to have a large chunk of his face missing, but it's not like it's one of the more important chunks of one's face, so it's pretty easily overlooked, unless you happen to have two eyes and a stomach. The bigger freak gives the other one the key to the button thingy and tells her that if the shiny red button is pressed she and her husband will get a million dollars, which I guess was sort of impressive back in the '70s, and they'll also be responsible for the death of another human being, one that they don't know anything about. For a while there she pretends like she actually gives a poop about what her husband has to say, but eventually her natural womanly evil kicks in and she just presses the button on a whim, and once the deed has been done all heck obviously breaks loose. I've never really liked Donnie Darko, despite the sheer adorableness of a teenage Jena Malone, but The Box got me thinking that perhaps if I had seen it first on the big screen I would have enjoyed it a lot more, because I absolutely loved that shaking WTF sensation I've experienced this time. The basic concept is a pretty simple one, and once you know that the whole story is set against the first successful Mars landing it becomes pretty obvious that you're dealing with some sort of alien intelligence that thinks it's so high and mighty that it gets to judge us mere humans and tell us what's right and what's wrong. The way I see it, if people are willing to press a button to get a poopload of cash, even though they're told that it would result in someone's death, it doesn't mean that they're immoral creatures, it simply means that their imagination is not developed enough to consider the possibility that such a suggestion is in fact genuine. There's quite a lot of weird stuff going on in this movie, like alien possessions and gooie interdimensional portals and a bunch of religious crap I guess I wasn't smart enough to follow, so even though not everything about it made sense I was left pretty satisfied in the end. Cameron Diaz and James Marsden are just sort of OK, but Frank Langella is the one who really shines here with a performance that is so believably creepy that I would have totally bought him as a vessel for an alien god even if the CGI facial deformity hasn't been executed flawlessly. It was also really nice to see Gillian Jacobs playing a teenage babysitter who obviously isn't a teenager, because she's really very pretty and I've been totally into her ever since I saw her play a borderline retarded stripper in Choke. I still haven't decided which movie has the funnier title, this one or Snatch, but either way I'm very happy that I got to see The Box after all, and I guess that now I really do have to watch Southland Tales and see if Buffy can actually play a character that doesn't pork vamps.

Gillian Jacobs looks even cuter with her shirt off!

And today I finally watched the 90 minute Caprica pilot, and it was totally OMG so good I wanted to throw up just so I could have it for the first time all over again! I haven't even finished watching the first season of Battlestar Galactica, so I guess that some things went right over my head, but I'm really excited about this one. A little naked boobs plus a little gore plus crazy monotheistic robots equals loads and loads of fun! And Eric Stoltz is pretty good, but I've gotta say that while redheaded chicks can be pretty damn hot, ginger dudes are just plain gross. If Mr. Stoltz wants to get more work, he should probably consider gender reassignment surgery. Just imagine: an Eric Stoltz with a fake vagina under a big orange bush! And if that's not hot, then I don't know what is!

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