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Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2019.13
<n>These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I've recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made <a href="http://www.imdb.com/user/ur1323291/ratings">the list</a> of around 1400 ratings publicly available. I've included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other---I rate the film on how well it suited me for the <i>genre</i> and my mood and. let's be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid <b>spoilers</b>.</n> <dl dt_class="field"> Hardware (1990) --- <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099740/">6/10</a> <div>The description on IMDb covers the first 3/4 of the movie: <iq>The head of a cyborg reactivates, rebuilds itself, and goes on a violent rampage in a space marine's girlfriend's apartment.</iq> The final 1/4 goes off the rails in some sort of operatic dream sequence involving Moses (ex-Marine boyfriend (Dylan McDermott)), who already has a robotic hand, but then mutilates his other hand and drinks his own blood while the cyborg is rejuvenating and preparing (yet) another attack. The girlfriend Jill is an artist who lives alone when Mo's not there. They have a friend named Shades who literally never takes off his sunglasses. Oh, also the world is a post-apocalyptic hellscape with no water and too much heat and radioactivity. The remaining government is trying to impose a birthrate restriction. There is a ton of 80s-era tech with non-graphical user interfaces. Also other people in the building are involved and killed at various times and in various ways while Jill goes bananas with a baseball bat because she ziplined in on a live wire to a Chinese family's apartment. So she ended up with a Banzai headband because <i>alllooksame</i>. The effects are pretty good for the time and some of the cinematography is quite good, when it's not cut too quickly to avoid letting you see the seams and fake tech. After everything, it took one bullet to the head from Shades and then a biblical baseball-bat onslaught from Jill to kill the cyborg (Mark 13) for good. I gave it an extra star for a few reasons: it was unabashed in its execution and it had cameos from both Iggy Pop and Lemmy (who was a cab driver playing <i>Ace of Spades</i> on his radio). </div> Booksmart (2019) --- <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1489887/">9/10</a> <div>This is the story of Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein): they are two smart, ambitious, kind and focused best friends in their senior year in high school. They mostly hang out together, ignoring or disdaining the other cliques. They have achieved scholastic success and will be moving on to bigger and better things: Molly is going to Yale whereas Amy is taking a summer in Botswana. Their world is shattered when Molly discovers that all of the so-called losers at their school have achieved just as much as they did. The school "skank" is going to Yale as well, while the rich-girl alcoholic (Gigi) is going to Harvard. The jock (Nick) is going to Stanford. They all had fun throughout high school <i>and</i> achieved just as much as Amy and Molly. This revelation disturbs Amy less than Molly, but she agrees to go out with Molly to have some fun on the last night before graduation. The hijinks are funny and very modern (they take Lyfts everywhere; one of them is driven by their principal, played by a bearded Jason Sudeikis). They learn more about their supposedly stupid colleagues---something they'd never bothered to do in the four year prior. They both let loose, but not to ridiculous excess. They meet Gigi again and again and again. Molly learns more about Jared, the rich kid who's more than that. Nick is smarter than he acts, but ultimately a high-school boy thinking with his dick. But so is Amy's girl crush, who hooks up with Nick (because she's straight, despite Amy's greatest hopes). Jessica Williams is great as Miss Fine; her claims to have done a Thursday NYT Crossword in under 8 minutes are more believable than the two 17-year-olds claim that they did it in under 10. We get it: they're smart.<fn> Still, the two girls were apparently fluent in Mandarin as well as Spanish, so I guess we can't take the smartitude claims too seriously. <hr> <ft>But you can't fill out that crossword without cheating without a vast experience, to boot. You can't just be smart; you have to be well-read. And you have to have soaked up adult culture for more than five years.</ft> <hr> The girls blow up at the party as Amy reveals that she's taking a gap year---which blows up all of Molly's plans for their lives together. Molly has to do some self-evaluation and take it down a notch. Amy ends up saving the party from the cops and going to jail just before graduation. It all ends happily for everyone, which was just fine. Nice directorial debut for Olivia Wilde.</div> Glass (2019) --- <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6823368/">9/10</a> <div>This is part three of the trilogy started by <i>Unbreakable</i> and <i>Split</i>. In this one, Elijah Price aka Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) is in a psychiatric hospital whereas Kevin Crumb aka The Beast (James McAvoy) is still on the loose, kidnapping more cheerleaders. David Dunn aka The Overseer (Bruce Willis) is still taking care of loose ends that the police refuse to (or can't). With the help of his son, Dunn is hot on the trail of The Beast. He manages to free the latest victims and confronts and fights the Beast to a standstill. They fall out of a third-story window and bounce up to be surrounded by police and strong lights that stun the Beast and cause him to transform to another member of the Horde (the gang of personalities that inhabit Kevin). Dunn and Crumb are taken to the same psychiatric hospital as Price and end up being counseled together by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) who doesn't believe at all that they have superpowers. Instead, she thinks that there is a rational explanation for all that has happened and the strength that The Beast and The Overseer have shown. Nothing to see here; just outlandishness and craziness all mixed up to cause confusion. Mr. Glass begs to differ and uses his vast intellect and proficiency with technology to rove the halls of the hospital undetected. With a lobotomizing procedure scheduled the next morning, he springs his plan to let the three of them out, pitting The Beast against the Overseer in the full light of public scrutiny, to prove once and for all that they are real and not figments of their own imaginations. The Beast <i>knows</i> what it is; the Overseer is half-convinced that he is normal, but mad. Glass makes Overseer break out of his room, through a steel door to prove to himself that he is <i>different</i>. Glass and the Beast are together and make their way out of the hospital. McAvoy is an absolute revelation: he depicts his multitude incredibly well---Patricia, in particular, is scarily well-done. Also, he's incredibly jacked for this role. Dr. Staple still doesn't believe, even as Glass and Beast tear a swath through her hospital and escape in grand style. Meanwhile, Dunn has knocked his steel door off of its hinges and has similarly escaped. Glass's mother, Dunn's son, and Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy) (the Beast's former kidnap victim from <i>Split</i>) are on premises to talk to the doctor, but end up witnessing the escape and showdown between Beast and Overseer. Riot police try to break up the fight, but the two men each fight off half a dozen troops themselves, belying the doctor's claim that they are not superhuman. It turns out that Crumb's father died in the train crash in which Dunn was the only survivor---a crash caused by Glass in his search for a nemesis. <bq>I created you, as I created David. It just took longer. 19 years. They almost convinced me I was crazy. I create superheroes. I truly am a mastermind.</bq> The Beast thanks him for his creation, but then strikes devastating blows because Glass is dangerous. He tackles Dunn into a water tank---and water is Dunn's weakness. The Beast tries to escape to the tower, but Casey catches him and brings Kevin back out, only to have the SWAT units shoot him right out of her arms. Doctor Staple and the police want to mop up the loose ends, trying to kill Dunn as well. The SWAT unit and Doctor Staple both have the same tattoo on their wrist, suggesting that they belong to the same secret organization. The unit drowns Dunn---in a <i>puddle in the parking lot</i>, to add insult to injury---Crumb dies in Casey's arms and Glass in his mother's, whispering to her that <iq>[t]his was not a "Limited Edition" — this was an origin story, the whole time.</iq> Doctor Staple confides to Glass that she <i>is</i> part of a secret organization that kills heroes and villains to keep humanity safe from <iq>Gods walk[ing] among us</iq>. She and her group smugly think they've won---but Mr. Glass's final words linger. Whose origin was it? How many steps ahead was he planning? Glass got the security footage before the good Doctor was able to delete it. Glass (in a voiceover): <bq>Belief in oneself is contagious. We give each other permission to be superheroes. We will never awaken otherwise. Whoever these people are who don't want us to know the truth: <b>today, they lose</b>.</bq></div> Maniac (2018) --- <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5580146/">8/10</a> <div>(A skinny) Jonah Hill stars as Owen Milgrim, the estranged son of a rich family in New York. He lives on Roosevelt island, paying almost 80% of his salary as rent. His job sucks, but he's the only one of his brothers who doesn't work for his father. He's had a pyschotic break and thinks/knows that he gets visits from a brother Jed (Billy Magnussen) who visits him in his thoughts. We see Jed at a party in his full obnoxiousness; he seems to need to stand trial for some transgression against a woman. The timing is unclear so far. The setting is a near/alternate future, something like the future as envisioned in the 80s. The tech is all very 80s: film, photos, mechanical machines, CRTs, beeping machines---Terry Gilliam would love it. There are weird marketing scams like "Ad Buddy", where a solicitor visits you wherever you are and pitches strange gigs: fake husband for widows, medical-experimental subject, and so on. They also just read a lot of ads. The computers are huge (think mainframes), the cameras are film/disposable, the phones are corded. The techs at the neuropharmaceutical company are almost all Japanese. (A platinum blonde) Emma Stone is Annie Landsberg, a semi-homeless woman/grifter whose poor luck has led her to the same giant neural-experiment corporation as Owen. The second episode focuses on Annie's journey to Nerbedyne Corp, trying to scrape together enough money to get into a study where she can get her hands on the mood-altering drug that she'd gotten addicted to. Drug A makes her feel better about her shattered relationship with her sister Ellie (Julia Garner, i.e. Ruth from <i>Ozark</i>). She shows up when Annie drops into the experiment and into another world. In this reliving of her memory, Annie is shockingly harsh to her sister when they move to New York and Colorado, respectively. She basically tells her she's happy she'll never see her again and then acts like it never happened. Is she schizophrenic? They get into a car accident and Ellie dies when their car hits a truck driving in the wrong lane. One of the other patients (11) is played by Allyce Beasley, who I last remember as playing Agnes DiPesto in <i>Moonlighting</i>. Annie and Owen end up together in Muramoto's office after the first experiment---he died when he was talking to Annie and Owen is still high from his A pill. It's unclear what's really happening (did Muramoto really die?) and whether the memories engendered by the pills and the giant-sized 80-style hardware are real or also ... adjusted. Muramoto has really died and his right-hand woman Azumi finds his replacement---a former boyfriend/genius programmer/scientist Mantleray (Justin Theroux) who's apparently addicted to virtual porn. Azumi is a bit of an odd duck: chain-smoking in all sorts of sensitive areas (even in the tiny cubbies that the staff sleep in on premises) and is also apparently agoraphobic. Another main character is the giant old-style mainframe computer named GRTA (there was actually a famous mainframe named <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MANIAC_I" source="Wikipedia">MANIAC I</a>). I love the computer room, cables and flashing lights everywhere---so old school and such a good storytelling device. Once they take the B pill ("Behavior"), things get nutsy-cuckoo: Annie is now named Linda and is married to Owen (now named Bruce). They are in 80s New Jersey. Annie steals the address from the DMV of the furrier who stole her friend's lemur so that she can go rescue it, but she can't get the lemur out from the thugs (who are very interested in their dance routine). She confides in her husband and they agree to break out Wendy the lemur from the furrier. Bruce is a good husband, to a fault and turns himself over to the police (or the wildlife authorities, which they keep claiming is more-or-less the same thing). They segue to the next scene, in what look like the 1930s. Owen is now Sir Ollie and he's on his way to the Neberdine Full Moon Seance (the name of the drug company). Annie is now Arlie, again his wife. Azumi and Mantleray discover that 1 (Owen) and 9 (Annie) are entangled due to a hardware malfunction. The various scenarios roll up more and more real-life details: gimlets, Cervantes, Wendy, etc. The lost chapter 53 of Cervantes's Don Quixote is rumored to be so powerful that whoever reads it falls into a coma of fantasy from which they never wake. Kind of like Neberdine's VR. Arlie says <iq>We can't help being who we are</iq> when Ollie tries to get away from her again. The subjects make it to round C but Azumi and Mantleray discuss Gertie's depression (the mainframe). She's mourning the loss of Doctor Muramoto---because they'd been having an affair. Azumi exhorts Mantleray to call his mother, to which he responds, <bq>My mother is a venomous egotistical charlatan who deploys catchphrases and platitudes and therapies of the day in order to dupe people out of their money and happiness. No, my mother <i>sells</i> happiness, but it crumbles in your hand the minute you're out of earshot of her magical thinking and her platitudes and her invented words and her primal yawps and her steps to success.</bq> His mother is Dr. Greta Mantleray, played by Sally Field (no coincidence that the mainframe is named after Mantleray's mother). She's invited in to diagnose the mainframe. Meanwhile Owen and Annie start to imbue the short-circuit that led to them being paired with <i>significance</i>. The "odds" (including Annie and Owen) embark on the C-pill journey ("Confrontation"). They are not together: Annie is Annia, an elf con-woman leading marks on journeys to the "Lake of Clouds" to be healed of their ills (and fleeced of their possessions). Her latest mark is her sister Ellie, also dressed as an elf. Owen is a gold-toothed, twin-braided, tattooed gangbanger scion of a murderous clan led by his father (Gabriel Byrne), who's known as "The Drill" for his penchant for power-drill--fueled interrogation. In his basement, he has a painting of a drill with the epithet "Ceci n'est pas une drill" beneath it. Owen is an introspective and highly intelligent and well-read young man. The simulation is bleeding through for both him and Annie, with the role of GRTA and their own "tests" woven into their stories. Owen's the prodigal son but is working with the police. His brother Jed was sent away by his father as a "disloyal baby" but became a cop and is the family's plant. He "saves" Owen from the cops he's working with and is then taken out by the family's consiglieri, who is a Fed, undercover for 36 years. Owen accompanies him to collect his study partner Olivia, to sweep her off to witness protection---we see him years later with seven kids, each named after a continent. He bugs out, turns into a falcon and flies to the moon---ending up in Annia's world and then getting shot down by the evil queen (GRTA) before she abducts Annia from Ellia. The next installment has transformed Owen into Snorri, an Icelandic man on trial for some as-yet unspecified crime against an alien being named Ernie. He sits before a tribunal of Earth's leaders, who are deciding how to appease the invading aliens by possibly sacrificing Snorri. Ernie as an alien stands in for the hawk Owen had nursed back to health when he was a child. Annie is back, looking stunning in red. The finale is wild, with GRTA killing nearly everyone but finally being forced to release her stranglehold and being shut down for good. They all part ways, including Annie and Owen. Owen takes the witness stand at his brother's trial and refuses to lie for him, earning himself committal to a mental institution. Annie goes back to her father and they reconcile, with him welcoming her back from the wilderness of near-madness and depression to which she'd escaped after her his sister had died. Annie seeks out Owen, gets his trust and breaks him out. We see them head out on the road together, to parts unknown. The feeling of overlapping realities and dreams reminds me a bit of <i>West World</i>. It's a delightfully surprising limited series with occasionally wacky scenes and scenery. Hill and Stone are very good. </div> After Life (2019) --- <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8398600/">8/10</a> <div>This is a lovely, funny, charming show written, directed by and starring Ricky Gervais. None of the blurbs I've seen for it do it justice. It is a show about Tony, a man who found the love of his life early, had 28 wonderful years with her and is now a widower on account of breast cancer. He is devastated and pragmatic and wonders what is even the point of going on. He's brutal to some people---his meek brother-in-law, in particular---but a thoughtful man who, despite his desire to just end it all to kill the pain of living without his wife, manages to continue on, spending quite a bit of his time walking his dog, visiting his Alzheimers-afflicted father, visiting his wife's grave (and the widow of the man who's buried next to her) and sorta-kinda befriending a homeless drug user Julian and his prostitute/sex-worker friend Daphne/Roxy (who he hires to do his dishes for him). The thing that keeps him going at all is his dog, I think, who needs to be fed twice per day. He's slowly starting to come out of his funk, but still deeply in pain. He works at a local free gazette run by his brother-in-law, doing shit stories with a weird crew of co-workers. His relationship with Julian is the most interesting: Julian lost his wife to an overdose, but he lost her <i>and</i> nobody cares, because she brought it on herself. They share a deep, abiding pain of loss that makes them both want to end it all. But Julian is more serious about it: all he's missing is the money to do it. Tony looks at him, then gives him most of his wallet. Julian makes good on his word, overdosing in his doss in a storage unit. Those were conflicting moments: when Tony gave him the money and when Julian followed through on his suicide promise. Was it the right thing to do? Should Tony have helped Julian get better? Or did he just understand how utterly lost Julian was without his wife? That death was a sweet release from endless days of pain, spent searching desperately for a way to numb everything for a few hours until wakefulness brings it all crashing back in the next day. I applaud the story for not holding back on providing a grittier, more realistic outcome. Some people don't want to live. Who are we to force them to change their minds? Stop being depressed. Be happy. Super helpful. I think Gervais is just brilliant in this: anyone who thinks he's an ass because of how he takes the piss out of everyone should see this show and then wonder which is the real Gervais? Is he just an asshole who's a good enough actor to sell being a nice guy? Or is basically a sheepish, nice guy who can pretend to be an asshole? In the end, Tony claws his way back to being a human being and we prepare to see what the next season brings---when he's no longer so depressed. </div> Ronnie Chieng: Asian Comedian Destroys America (2019) --- <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11248800/">9/10</a> <div>I've seen Ronnie on <i>The Daily Show</i>, where he's very funny, often upstaging the sadly somewhat smarmy and easy-joke-getting Trevor Noah (think Stephen Colbert after he moved to late night). Chieng is an international comic, having come to America only three years ago, moving from Australia after having grown up in Malaysia and Singapore. A lot of his material is about being Asian and having grown up in an asian family. Also, he has the requisite bit about Japanese toilets, a source of endless fascination and material to comics everywhere. His delivery is good and he's very sarcastically funny with smart, well-written material.</div> Michelle Wolf: Joke Show (2019) --- <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11269704/">7/10</a> <div>It was a pretty decent set and her writing is mostly very clever, though there is a bunch of meta filler material that feels a bit lazy, padding out her hour. She talks about politics, women's rights, periods (a lot about that), being a shallow-vagina woman in a big-dick world, the usual. A decent hour; I look forward to more, where she's perhaps refined the material to a bit more of a knife-edge. It has nothing to do with her grating voice---which is quite grating, but also somewhat endearing---it's just that the routine felt stretched to fit the requisite hour for Netflix (somewhat like Iliza Schlesinger's latest).</div> Zardoz (1974) --- <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070948/">7/10</a> <div>This is a move about a far-future Earth (2293) where the planet is inhabited by bands of savages who inhabit the Outlands and also some immortals who inhabit the Vortex. Sean Connery is a cleverer savage Zed who jumps on the flying Godhead sculpture that visits his lands, hitching a ride back to the vortex. On the way, he somewhat anticlimactically kills Arthur Frayn, an immortal who'd <i>played</i> Zardoz. The flying Godhead lands in the Vortex and Zed begins to investigate the countryside, clad only in thigh-high leather boots, a red diaper, crossed red bandoliers and his usual copious allotment of body hair. For twenty minutes, nary a word is said, until Zed meets May (Sara Kestelman). She and Consuella (Charlotte Rampling) extract his memories, watching as he rapes and pillages his way through his former life. The walls are covered with naked, frozen bodies in various states of unrelaxed repose. They call in more of their fellow citizens, to watch his memories of raping and pillaging as a marauders among the weaker tribes. He spends some time in their society, as a kept animal, serving the immortals. He learns of what it means to be immortal. Their punishment for infractions is not imprisonment or death, but <i>years</i>. One subversive "Friend" is punished like this and Zed finds him later, aged nearly beyond recognition, but still alive, spending time with other ancients, all unable to die. Friend wants death for everyone, to <iq>erase humanity from this pretty planet</iq>. The theme---from 1974---is interesting, in light of our climate-change debacle. As Eve plumbs the depths of Zed's memories, he remembers when he became educated, when he learned to read. On the walls of the library are old posters, one of which reads <iq>to not be born is best</iq>. Eve eventually teases out of Zed that the book he'd read was "Wizard of Oz", which he saw to be a metaphor for Zardoz and his control over Zed's world. The experiments continue and they realize that Zed is there to destroy their world. They hunt him across their part of the globe, with things becoming increasingly surreal: he encounters the Apathetics again, this time energizing them when they taste his sweat; he encounters the aged, who take up his banner of revolution in a crazed and madcap Mardi Gras--like parade toward the realm of the Eternals. Zed convinces May that hers is a society of death and they agree to teach him all that they know---they "touch-teach" him while he "provides them with his seed". Nice. The truth of things turns out to be that a good chunk of mankind left for the stars when the planet was dying. The world Zed inhabits is the mad shell of a society gone horribly wrong. The Ancients are the remnants of the scientists who'd enabled it all, but were too old to travel. The eternals are the children they'd retained to keep track of the remaining savage hordes. Zed is an experiment of Zardoz's (Arthur, who is resurrected late in the film). Zed figures out that the Tabernacle---the root of all knowledge for what is left of humanity on Earth---resides in a crystal. He does battle with the Tabernacle (another psychedelic rendering) and ends up liberating humanity from immortality. Zardoz aka Arthur shows up to claim that the liberator that Zed became was all due to him and his breeding program, where he produced a slave who could free his masters. Zed responds that, while that may well be, Zardoz is also a product of his breeding and environment and, thus, is also just as much a tool of fate as Zed is (or a tool of the Tabernacle, as the case may be). Zed's development from senseless slaughterer to sage reminds me a bit of Charlie's development in <i>Flowers for Algernon</i>. In the end, the Eternals---no longer Eternal---are overrun by the remnants of Zed's band of Renegades, who leave behind a truly heroic slaughter on the battlefield, all the while seeking their lost leader. Zed is with Consuella, with whom we see him father a child, grow old and die.</div> The Cell (2000) --- <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070948/">8/10</a> <div>Jennifer Lopez (looking frankly spectacular in her absolute prime) is Catherine Deane, a therapist and researcher in virtual-reality techniques whose charge is a young boy who'd fallen into a coma on a beach. The boy's rich parents want her to help wake him back up. She uses the immersive VR (mind-merge?) technology to travel to his mindscape, which is rich in detail. The first scene is in a vast desert, where she finds him less than receptive to her help. The family grows restless for results---the father, especially, doesn't believe that it will ever work. Desperate for results, Catherine wants to try letting the boy into her mind instead, to try to jolt him into a different direction. At the same time, we see glimpses of a serial killer (Carl Stargher, played by the always excellent Vincent D'Onofrio) at work, drowning his victims in tanks of water, washing them in bleach while he hangs---Hellraiser-style---from hooks in the ceiling. We see him driving a victim away from his wind- and dust-swept farm in the flatbed of his truck. Next, we Stargher collecting his next victim, but also seemingly suffering from what looks for all the world like a migraine or seizures. With the FBI hot on his trail, he succumbs to the viral infection that exacerbates his schizophrenia to throw him into a coma, a dream from which he is unlikely ever to wake. This would pose no problem, except that his latest victim is still trapped in a room somewhere---we can see her in her prison cell---but no-one has any idea where that is. The cell, though, is actually a machine that Stargher's designed to drown and bleach his victims into dolls. The Feds end up at Catherine's lab, asking her to enter into Stargher's mind to try to find out where the victim is. They rig her and him up in the same apparatus we saw her using with the young boy and the trip begins. It's quite a nicely filmed sequence, with many early VR-style metaphors of how wild and unpredictable such mindscapes would be. In Stargher's mind, he's still a child, with some very strange memories (that clearly led to what he would become). Catherine makes her way through this world, witnessing the Damien-Hirst-ification of a horse, then stumbling through cellars to happen upon Myst-like contraptions controlling female automata/dolls. The women are arranged in museum-like cells, some controlled by wires. She is attacked and subdued by a musclebound doll with gigantic breasts, who takes her to a throne room, where Stargher rules as king. She quickly bails from VR and then discusses next steps with Detective Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn). She agrees to go back in, learning more and more about Stargher's past and his history, where his sickness came from. Carl is talking to Catherine as Carl now (rather than as the demented king from before), which is progress. But she still can't find out where he's hidden Julia, his final victim. Her plan backfires and he manages to block her from activating her "dead-man switch" this time. He takes her hostage as one of his victims, placing a collar on her and "locking" her into the VR world. Novak has to suit up and jump in to the VR world for the first time ever, seeking out both Stargher and Catherine. There is a plethora of 2000-era computer graphics heralding his entry. Stargher quickly overpowers Novak as well, now with both Catherine and Peter in his clutches. Peter beseeches Catherine to wake up and rescue him. Peter thinks he's figured out where the woman is; Stargher is ramping up the craziness in his mindscape. Catherine reverses the feed and invited young Carl into her mind, though older Carl comes along, too. She "heals" the young Carl in her mind, and he finds peace, but dies. Novak saves the final victim. The sets are spectacular and imaginative. Catherine ends up keeping Carl's dog.</div> Zathura (2005) --- <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0406375/">5/10</a> <div>This is a <i>Jumanji</i>-like storyline where two brothers (Walter and Danny, his younger sibling) end up playing a game that Danny finds in the basement. It's called Zathura and it kind of plays itself: the boys just poke buttons and the game plays itself out. It takes their house into space and then into an encounter with Zorgons and then to an astronaut who turns out to be Walter in 15 years. It was OK, but really targeted at young kids. Kristen Stewart, Dax Shepard and Tim Robbins put in their time, but don't overdo it. It bored me, but I gave it an extra star because it's almost certainly a solid repeat watch for young kids.</div> </dl>