Every young hot leading lady needs to do a horror flick at some point in her career – it’s a Tinseltown requirement apparently – and The House at the End of the Street is Jennifer Lawrence’s. Of course it’s not exactly what it seems shying away from bloody vicious gimmicks and opting for a more psychological brand of horror.
Lawrence is an actress who doesn’t exactly jump for the easy grabs. Even the Hunger Games which was born out of a giant literary franchise isn’t your typical starlet fare. And for the typical young-actress-in-a-cheesy-horror-flick move House is a step above. But despite Lawrence’s solid performance and the film’s attempt to really dig at the complicated psyche of a young girl who falls in love with a (potential) psycho it still winds up being just another horror movie.
The film spends most of its time establishing the cutesy love story between Lawrence’s Alyssa and her boyfriend/enemy Ryan — and an exorbitant amount of time letting the pair make-out like the horny teenagers they’re supposed to be — and only a sliver of the plot actually allows Lawrence’s character to wrestle with her emotions. It’s there but it’s gone in a flash wasting the talents the film has in its corner.
Still for those looking for a schlocky horror film to gobble up on a Friday night House at the End of the Street will certainly do the trick.
[Photo Credit: Relativity Media]
A guy who usually doesn't have luck with the ladies Matt Saunders (Luke Wilson) has finally found the perfect girl. Egged on by his buddy Vaughn (Rainn Wilson) Matt pursues the mousy and innocent-looking Jenny Johnson (Uma Thurman) after the two meet on a subway. But Jenny has a few secrets--and what Matt doesn't know in this case can hurt him. See Jenny is really G-Girl a superhero and although it's a side most superheroes don't show G-Girl is a bit possessive and essentially has a borderline personality. So when Matt wants to dump her so he can go out with his quiet and cute co-worker Hannah (Anna Faris) Jenny er G-Girl goes ballistic. She unleashes her superpowers on Matt and unsuspecting Hannah doing things like throwing a shark through his window while they're making out tossing his car around immature things like that. What Matt doesn't do is obey the cardinal rule: Never break up with a girl when she's holding a knife--or when she can throw you through a wall by blowing on you. This should be Luke Wilson's moment to shine and he seizes it. He's had little chance to break away from his goofier-looking and more popular brother Owen and has never carried a movie as much as this one. It's perhaps his meatiest role in which he gets to show a restrained comedic side as well as a dramatic angry and perplexed side. Although it's a typical romantic comedy plot the storyline allows for more reach because of the absurd nature of the jealousy by G-Girl’s arch nemesis Professor Bedlam played perfectly by Brit comic Eddie Izzard as well as the persistently bad advice from Matt’s friend Vaughn played by scene-stealer Rainn Wilson (TV's The Office). Rainn is a definitely a talent to watch out for. Unfortunately Thurman is the biggest disappointment. She's exciting only when she rekindles her Kill Bill persona but is mostly outshined by the cute and fun Anna Faris who's so naively brilliant in the Scary Movie spoofs. Expectations would have to be high if you have director Ivan Reitman on board the guy behind such classic comedies as Animal House Ghostbusters and Dave. Perhaps that's why it's so disappointing--and so very familiar. The comic moments are retreads from the past. Sure we've seen the odd moments where mortals make it with super-human characters--Superman II Bewitched I Dream of Jeannie--and every once in a while the character with super powers gets a bit peeved and goes off the deep end. The best contribution Reitman makes is to keep the over-the-top comedic aspects in check. He doesn’t have the actors play it for laughs. But if you look at past history female superhero movies don't seem to do well at the box office (Elektra and Catwoman anyone?) maybe because guys don't like to take dates to see movies about women who will kick their butts. And guys will be cringing in their seats BIG time when Jenny is trying to analyze the real meaning of the color of a rose that she just got. "Red means that you're in love with the girl. Of course I'm not trying to pressure you." Ugh! Just take the flower.
After the death of their parents Rashad (Tip "T.I." Harris) and his younger brother Ant (Evan Ross) have to fend for themselves. Trying not to think about his pending high school graduation Rashad works as a janitor for his stingy uncle (Mykelti Williamson) and hangs out with his friends practicing for the Skate Wars competition at their local roller rink. Ant however approaches life differently after he hooks up with Marcus (Big Boi) a big-time drug dealer in the area. Marcus recruits Ant to do his dirty work and the kid gets himself tangled up in the harsh world of drugs money and violence. It’s up to his older brother to get him out of it and finally steer him in the right direction. ATL proves some rapper-turned-actors can indeed be in a movie not based on their real lives. Known as “The King of the South” in the rap world T.I. displays some notable acting skills. Born and raised in the ATL (that’s Atlanta to us lay folk) his southern slang and cool demeanor lend credibility. As well Big Boi (half of the Atlanta-based hip-hop group OutKast) does a nice job giving his drug lord character multi-layers. He plays it smooth recruiting high school kids and promising them more money then they have ever seen. When they don’t pay up he then turns on a dime and becomes quite menacing. And watch out for Evan Ross the youngest son of the legendary Diana Ross. In his debut performance as Ant he tugs at your heart even when you’re hoping Rashad will smack him for the bad choices he makes. Music video director Chris Robinson makes his feature directing debut with ATL a story loosely based on ATL producers Dallas Austin and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins’ (of TLC fame) experiences growing up in Atlanta. With many of the hottest hip-hop artists coming out of Atlanta Robinson--along with first-time screenwriter Tina Gordon Chism--impressively incorporates the music without focusing on it. Sure the soundtrack crunks it up but this is not a film about a wannabe rapper trying to make it out of the ‘hood and into the spotlight. There aren’t any lengthy shootouts and no one dies. Instead ATL interweaves compelling themes of family dynamics rich vs. poor--and even a roller skating motif which seems to come out of left field but provides some fun moments. ATL is a breath of fresh air for a hip-hop movie that isn't about hip-hop.
Is the supermarket checkout line going too fast for you? Well, don’t worry. Beginning this week and (for every Friday hereafter), we’ll comb the tabs for the sort of news you're either too ashamed and/or too cheap to buy (and read) for yourself.
Why will we do this? Quite simply, we have no shame.
Without further ado, here’s a rundown of this week's Top 10 tabloid tidbits (from the just-released editions of the National Enquirer, the Star and the Globe):
1. Whitney Houston Pregnant? From deep within the Florida jail complex where Bobby Brown is currently being held on a probation violation, a fellow inmate intimated to the Star what the rapper reputedly previously intimated to him -- that Houston is pregnant with Brown's second child. Moreover, the inmate told the Star that Brown is weary about the baby’s health “because of all the coke [Houston] was doing.” (Our calls to Houston’s people have not yet been returned.)
2. Regis Reign Preordained More reasons why everybody should have their own personal psychic: The Globe says that Regis Philbin knew all along that “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” was going to be a freakin' huge hit. How did he know? Because his psychic, one Sydney Omarr, told him three years ago.
3. The Hoover Conspiracy The Globe forwards the theory (a first of its kind) that ex-FBI top brass and closeted drag queen J. Edgar Hoover did not die in 1972 from a heart attack but was killed by poisoned toilet paper. A forensic expert tells the tab that the particular method of assassination was pretty darn ingenious since the evidence would have been immediately “flushed away.”
4. Kathie Lee Losing It? Per the Globe, friends of Kathie Lee Gifford are collectively concerned over the talk show hostess’ alleged tenuous sanity. And, boy, do they have reasons to worry, according to the tab: (1) Gifford has told friends that she’s on a potato chips only diet and (2), she has been really into wearing clothing that directs people’s attentions to her chest.
5. Summer Vacations Really Expensive! The National Enquirer reports that the average American will spend more than $2,000 on summer vacation this year -- that’s 8 percent of the average American's annual income (representing about 22 days of work). Also, the Enquirer says out of those average vacationing Americans, 73.6 percent of them will pay for their trips with credit cards.
6. Sharon Stone Is Happy The Globe, the National Enquirer and the Star all agree that Sharon Stone seems really stoked about adopting her baby boy. Also, all three tabs employed “Basic Instinct” puns to describe Stone and husband Phil Bronstein’s excitement, i.e. the two have a “Basic Instinct for parenthood”; Stone pursued her “Basic Instinct to become a mom”; “basic maternal instinct”; and Stone “displayed her basic maternal instinct.”
7. Heather Thomas Has a Midwife Witch Well, not exactly. But according to The National Enquirer, the 42-year-old “The Fall Guy” first-time mother attributes the success of her recent labor to her spiritual adviser, who was said to have summoned the power of “white magic” during the whole messy thing.
8. Billy Joel Exhibits Typical Male Behaviors The Globe has it that aging rocker Billy Joel reportedly has taken to hiring fashion consultants to “remake” girlfriend Trish Bergin to his taste and liking.
9. Helen Reddy: Hello, Sailor! Per the Globe, the 50-something "I Am Woman" chanteuse promotes the idea of keeping a boyfriend handy in every part of the globe. Says the ready Reddy: "It really makes much more sense."
10. Just the Date-Rape Drug, Ma'am? Aging sex kitten Mamie Van Doren ("High School Confidential!") tells the National Enquirer that actor/producer Jack Webb had his way with her after he tied her up and apparently drugged her during a "date" in 1953. "I wanted to pick up the phone and call someone ...," Van Doren says. "[But] they'd never accept that the star of 'Dragnet' was a rapist."
He won’t be back. Cinemascape.com reports today that director James Cameron has confirmed once again that he will not be involved in any further "Terminator" films. While attending the premiere of "U-571" recently, Cameron was asked about his potential participation in "Terminator 3." Cameron replied, "Not gonna do it."
Additionally, recent comments made by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton have the pair saying that they have no interest in another sequel unless Cameron is directing.
But the question remains: Will there be a "Titanic II"?
WHAT A SCREAM! Miramax has registered the Web sites www.scream4.com through www.scream10.com in making plans for a new batch of sequels, msnbc.com reports. A Miramax official has no comment, but director Wes Craven is among those who never completely believed that the studio would kill off the successful slasher-flick franchise starring Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox Arquette.
A CALL TO ACTION: Bill Cosby, in Los Angeles on Tuesday to receive the Steven J. Ross/Time Warner award from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television, called for additional outreach programs that give minority students the chance to prepare for careers in the entertainment industry. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cosby said that such programs help give an edge to aspiring talents who already face stumbling blocks as they enter film and television.
GOODBYE, OSCAR: Richard D. and Lili Fini Zanuck have said that they will never produce another Oscar telecast, DailyVariety columnist Army Archerd reports today. Richard Zanuck told Archerd, "Although it was one of my greatest experiences, I'll never do it again." Lili said: "We were very happy with the reception ... (but) we have a day job."
COUPLES WATCH: Howard Stern and Angie Everhart have blossomed into something serious. "They have been going out," the model's rep, Shari Goldberg, tells the New York Daily News. "I don't know about Howard, but she's not seeing anyone else." ... Actress Kristin Scott Thomas is expecting her third child. She is married to Francois Oliviennes. ... Joan Lunden, the former host of ABC's "Good Morning America" who reportedly is a contender to replace Kathie Lee Gifford on "Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee," has married Jeff Konigsberg, who operates children's summer camps. It is Lunden's second marriage.
HERE’S LOOKIN’ AT YOU, KID: Robert Evans’ best-seller "The Kid Stays in the Picture," which chronicles the producer’s rise to power in Hollywood, might be brought to the screen as a feature documentary by this year’s DGA documentary feature winners Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein ("On the Ropes"), the Reporter says. The news first broke March 25 on foxnews.com.