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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Two New Indie Films Get 2015 Off to a Bad Start

Elizabeth Banks in Little Accidents

I think one of the hardest things about being a film blogger is having to write about a movie you feel nothing towards, a film so unremarkable that it leaves your head as soon as you've seen it. How do you create a conversation about a film that doesn't warrant one? That's the question I asked myself after watching not one, but two films within the last week: LITTLE ACCIDENTS and OUT OF THE DARK. While both deal with intense subjects, children faced with insurmountable odds, neither makes an impact. Like, at all.

On the one hand, you have a family drama (LITTLE ACCIDENTS) that wants to make a statement based on themes of murder, forgiveness, and loneliness. But the pacing of this Sara Colangelo-directed film is far too sluggish to maintain my attention. Even Elizabeth Banks, usually a scene stealer, isn't able to give the film more soul as a mother mourning the death of her young son. Jacob Lofland, who first burst onto the scene in Mud,  tries his best to hold nearly the entire film on his shoulders, but his own storyline as a teenager grappling with guilt runs too thin. Colangelo's attempt to create a layered story with intersecting ideas unfortunately lands with a thud.

Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman in Out of the Dark

Meanwhile, horror film OUT OF THE DARK has the opposite problem as LITTLE ACCIDENTS with a fast-paced plot that pulls you in at its very beginning. In the first few minutes of the film, a man is haunted by young ghosts who terrorize him to the point where he ends up falling out of his own window. Flash forward to the same house, now inhabited by a young couple (Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman) who receive the same undead visitors who abduct their daughter, setting off an erratic chase that lasts until the end of the film. The explanation of who these ghosts are (or were?) and how the couple is connected to their origins is rushed and not even worth mentioning, because it's like "ok..." It's a strange film in that the villains are the most interesting characters in the film, and they don't even get to have full stories (or names, for that matter).

So anyway, back to my original question: How do I discuss a film that offers no discussion? By simply accepting its existence in the cinematic universe and moving on. Let's not even spend any more time thinking about it.

LITTLE ACCIDENTS is now playing in select theaters in the U.S., and OUT OF THE DARK opens February 27th.


Anonymous said...

Why can't Julia Stiles have a better career!?!?!?!

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