Posts Tagged ‘Christina Ricci’

Movie Reviews 379 – Black Snake Moan (2006)

February 8, 2019

I intentionally did not look up the movie synopsis on my Black Snake Moan DVD before popping it into my trusty player as the fact that the cover featured both Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson , either one alone being good enough to have me sold on a viewing. The lack of any prior knowledge regarding the plot turned out to be a blessing as this was certainly a film that surprised me. In fact, this one has a lot of surprises.

The story is centered on Lazarus (hey, already a bonus!) a weathered black man (Jackson) who has just been dumped by his wife (who has run off with his own brother to make matters worse). Living in a remote dilapidated home Lazarus wakes up one morning to find a battered and barely clothed young woman unconscious on the side of the road, just steps from his front door. Hesitant at first, he cautiously takes in Rae (Ricci) and tends to her injuries. But when she awakens she is shocked to find a lengthy heavy duty chain tied around her torso with the other end secured to a radiator.

The first surprise is that the chain is not there for what you probably think. Quite the opposite to tell the truth. Turns out that ol’ Lazarus has nothing but the best intentions. In fact, he deems himself Rae’s saviour of sorts. Another surprise is that Rae, chains and all, is a promiscuous woman. I mean really promiscuous and when she offers herself to Lazarus it isn’t even a simple ploy to escape. But Lazarus has issues to deal with besides the woman chained in his house at the moment. There is of course the brother who stole his wife. There’s Lazarus’ best friend who happens to be a preacher and is of course shocked upon learning of the captive Rae. And then there’s the pharmacist Angela who seems to have a soft spot for him, but who Lazarus must lie to in order to keep the whole “I have a woman chained up in my house” thing a secret. And then there’s the music. Yep, while not quite a musical, music plays a large part of the story. Not enough surprises? I haven’t even gotten to Rae’s dark secret regarding her mother and it’s not the fact that her boyfriend (Justin Timberlake) who has mighty serious anxiety issues has left her to join the army in hopes of overcoming his attacks.

The blues, liberal sex, biblical imagery, and booze somehow all blend in this story about a man destined to get both the girl and himself back on the right track of life. Does it even sound like a ‘feel good’ story? And yet it is. There are a few other surprises, but watch it for yourself to discover those.

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Movie Reviews 73 – Cursed (2005)

November 8, 2012

The prospect of seeing Christina Ricci in a mature role was what lured me to this werewolf story that seemed pretty run of the mill based on the description. I was even more enamored when I saw Joshua Jackson in the credits, but this movie still had to prove itself to me despite being directed by Wes Craven.

Not surprisingly like every other werewolf movie, this starts out with someone getting bitten. Fair enough. But what makes it slightly different this time is that it is a duo with big sister Ellie and her teen brother Jimmy (Christina and Jesse Eisenberg) that get the treatment. It happens on a late night drive after crashing into another vehicle. As they attempt to save the people in the other car a creature attacks them all, disposing of the other car’s inhabitants completely but only taking small nicks out of Ellie and Jimmy.

The inevitable ensuing mystery as the siblings start feeling the lycanthropic effects and realization that they are indeed becoming werewolves is all encapsulated in the Hollywood talk-show world in which Ellie is a producer. She has to contend with a bitchy adversary (perfectly played by Judy Greer) and a boyfriend (Jackson) who seems to be giving her the brush off of late. Meanwhile her brother has to contend with the usual high school hang-ups and and teen angst issues, most of those at the hands of the local jock (Milo Ventimiglia) who’s going out with the girl Jimmy has set his heart on.

While this all seems pretty humdrum it really isn’t all that bad as the sibling try to figure out who is the mystery werewolf is that started this whole problem. The personal problems that keep getting in the way provides the comedy on the side to balance the sleuthing.

There are quite a few surprises packed in along with a few laughs. A cameo by Scott Baio (yee gads!) both playing himself and mocking himself made me chuckle and the role of the jock is also thrown for a hilarious loop. One actor that was eerily familiar looking and sounding, but who I just could not put my finger on turned out to be Michael Rosenbaum sans his Lex Luthor/Smallville bald head. That hair just threw me off.

The ratings and reviews for this movie range from tame at best to downright scathing but I think part of the problem is that some viewers were expecting a more dramatic horror coming from Craven. But as a light hearted movie it works and has a lot going for it.