Paranormal Activity gets a sequel; Clint Eastwood and Matt Damon explore the afterlife; and Dermot Mulroney tries to buy a lung. Who gets your ticket money?
Director: Tod Williams
Cast: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat
ANDREW: Eek! That's both the sound of the Halloween mini-season rising from its crypt to suck the cash of the living, and also the noise I made during the one truly scary moment of the original Paranormal Activity. I mean, hey, I'm a fan of low-budget, non-torture-porn horror, and I definitely enjoyed watching the lovely and talented Katie Featherston creep around in her nightclothes. It's just that I wasn't as blown away by the film's modest charms as some critics. Sure, it was fun watching the flick unfold in a theater full of fidgety filmgoers uncertain what to expect, and the faux-vérité style was a clever gimmick the first time around. But will a baby, a dog, a couple extra million dollars of production value, and a fancy Hollywood director result in a satisfying revamp, or a misbegotten disaster of Blair Witch 2 proportions?
SCOTT: I don't think it could possibly be as ill-conceived as Blair Witch 2, but I'm reasonably certain it will be just as unnecessary. Unfortunately, there's very little evidence to work with here, since the trailer keeps most of the new footage under wraps, relying on audience shots from a screening of the original Paranormal Activity to remind people how scared they were a year ago. I'm taking that as a sign of no confidence.
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Matt Damon, Cecile de France, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jay Mohr
SCOTT: I'm still not entirely convinced this is a real movie and not some leftover Jackass 3D prank. A supernatural melodrama written by renowned dramatist of real-life political personages Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) and directed by Clint Eastwood? Well, that's… different, I guess. Given the intersecting trio of international storylines (including one in which Matt Damon plays a psychic), this looks like something we'd expect from Alejandro Inarritu (21 Grams, Babel) , not our favorite octogenarian grump. Frankly, I'm expecting a poky-paced snooze, if not a downright laughable existential quagmire — but perhaps you have higher hopes?
ANDREW: Well, Sean Penn screaming operatically at the heavens in Mystic River aside (NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!) Eastwood is a pretty reliable director, and I've enjoyed everything to date from Morgan. Plus, I have a special obsession with depictions and discussions of the afterlife since, y'know, we're all gonna die. (Cue Sean Penn again: NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!) On the other hand, the Hereafter trailer does seem a bit heavy on the melodramatic strings and wide-eyed expressions of Deep Thought. I just hope the Man With No Name hasn't contracted a nasty case of Nicholas Sparks (a seemingly incurable condition which can easily metastasize into weepy late-night old-guy poetry).
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Diane Kruger, Sam Shepard, Rosanna Arquette
ANDREW: But if you're really in the mood for a feel-good romp, you could roll the dice with this tale of "organ tourism" in Mexico, featuring Dermot Mulroney as a father risking his neck for black-market lungs to save his daughter's life. Or, uh, maybe I'll just go snort a few lines of Prozac and pretend this week never happened.
SCOTT: Yeah, that sounds like the best option to me. I'm definitely not interested in seeing another "bad things happen to white people south of the border" thriller, especially one starring the ever-bland Mulroney, so I guess I'll take my chances with Eastwood and Morgan and hope for the best.
ANDREW: See you in the hereafter!
THE ONE MOVIE YOU SHOULD SEE THIS WEEK: Hereafter