Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Oh no she di'nt

Last night I had a rather odd double feature. It was not a sort of selection that necessarily complimented one another, but I was out with a friend and both films sparked our interest. Those films were the Kate Hudson spooky vehicle, Skeleton Key and the Lynn Hershman Leeson Tilda-pic about the woman who invented the computer, Conceiving Ada. I will talk about the former now, as it was the first of the evening.

Of course I was not expecting much from this silly little film. Maybe some spooks and jumps. Instead, Skeleton Key reads as a textbook in scare. The three of us watching called just about every jump, plot twist and deception. EVERY ONE! The film takes place in what was once New Orleans, so of course Ms. Hundson has a token black friend who knows absolutely everything about Voodoo and Hoodoo. She goes to clubs with token and dances all sexy like in the all black company. As the film opens, we find her in a retirement home reading to a dying black man. As he passes away, Ms. Hudson (here Caroline, or CarolIIIIIne) decides she must quit her job as the employees do not care about the man's passing. It's ALL preposition. There is not a single line that is not setup, and whereas in some films this delivers a delicious reward in the end, the blatancy of the writing is just tormenting here. The shots are all in the contemporary scare fest style. But the budget keeps it from becoming the sleek chic fest of recent boo-hoo remakes The Amityville Horror and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which is about the only thing that works for the film. It actually attempts at an old fashioned spookiness. I'm not saying it achieves it. But it tries and should deserve some props.

Gena Rowlands and Peter Saarsgard(which are of course the reason I saw the film) on the other hand are SO DOING THIS FOR THE PAYCHECK. Rowlands' southern lady is probably the most forced performance I've seen this year (and I saw Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!). She (with a faltering southern drawl) says things like "Fiddle-dee-sticks, dahlin' won'tchu gone fetch me some seed packets in the attic." Yeah. Of course, we are expected to be surprised when things go bump and boom in the attic. Eventually the film becomes an odd Voodoo or rather Hoodoo movie in which an incredibly odd race politic is introduced, or resident ghosties being black conjurers. There's some nice southern gothic here, but its killed just as quickly as it's ahem...conjured. And there just seems to be something more than a bit wrong with lil' white Kate Hudson running away from the bad Blackies. Which is eventually what it comes to, with an almost original twist. But a twist free film would be new equivalent to the twist film these days, with M. Night Shamamamamamamalama holding the reigns. And the film turns decidedly more wicked than I was expecting. Still, there's no reason to assist this film in doing anything but landing in the $5.99 bin at Blockbuster Video. However, if you are jonesing for a "mighty fiiiine" Voodoo flick might I recommend the pick of the day.


Blogger J said...

The film didn't so much star Kate Hudson as it did her underwear.

2:13 AM  

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