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items tagged with When a Stranger Calls

A "Scandal"-ous Waste of Skill: "Notes on a Scandal," "Volver," "Smokin' Aces," and "The Hitcher"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-01-31 09:33:08

Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench in Notes on a ScandalNOTES ON A SCANDAL

In Richard Eyre's Notes on a Scandal, Judi Dench appears to be having an amazingly fine time playing an evil harridan. Why does the movie itself have to be such a dud? In the film, Dench portrays prickly history teacher Barbara Covett, who becomes pathologically obsessed with Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett), a younger colleague in the art department. (As Barbara's last name suggests, Eyre's film, based on the novel by Zoë Heller, won't be much concerned with subtlety.) When Barbara discovers that the married Sheba has been carrying on with a 15-year-old student (Andrew Simpson), she uses the knowledge to surreptitiously gain Sheba's trust, in the hopes of turning their friendship into something more, shall we say, Sapphic. Subsequently, threats are made, careers are jeopardized, relationships are destroyed ... and why oh why isn't the movie more fun?


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Radioactive Blast: "The Hills Have Eyes," "The Libertine," "Failure to Launch," and "Ultraviolet"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-03-15 00:00:00

The Hills Have EyesTHE HILLS HAVE EYES

The setup for The Hills Have Eyes – Alexandre Aja’s remake of Wes Craven’s 1977 horror classic, with Craven himself on board as a producer – couldn’t be simpler. A vacationing family, headed for California, stops for gas at a filling station near an abandoned nuclear-testing site in New Mexico. The station’s gnarled and suspiciously friendly attendant guides them to a shortcut. The shortcut is a trap, set by the attendant and a family of horribly mutated, not-entirely-inhuman cannibals. And from there on, the plot boils down to three words: Us Against Them.


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Stop! You’re Killing Me!: "Final Destination 3," "When a Stranger Calls," and "The Pink Panther"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-02-15 00:00:00

Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Final Destination 3FINAL DESTINATION 3

Final Destination 3 is, almost unequivocally, the least successful of the franchise’s entries. But you know what? The movie is still pretty terrific. It’s easy to resent sequels that’s don’t deviate at all from the proven formula of their forebears, especially in regards to horror flicks; audiences want these follow-ups to give them what they loved about the original but not merely what they loved about the original. (The most common complaint I hear about horror sequels is “It’s just like the first one.”)


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