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Rose Byrne Tag

Building word power at the movies this weekend is Insidious. This comes as a surprise, given that director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell built the Saw franchise, which, with its torture porn and tortuous backstory, is at best semi-literate. The last thing I expected them to construct was a gore-free horror film that, to borrow Google’s definition, “proceeds in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects.” So they have, and it’s a genuine thrill ride, one that reduced a screening room audience of jaded New York movie critics to little babies crying for their mommies.

Not without complaint, however. “It’s just a horror movie,” I heard, and so it is. But it is a very good horror movie, one that doesn’t play us for fools (April or otherwise) and parents, particularly, will find it unnerving. An editor of my acquaintance also bellyached that it wasn’t gradual and subtle enough, like, say, The Innocents (1961). For these guys, though, it comes close–not Henry James, maybe, but not Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1990), either. If you ask me a PG-13 horror movie that actually delivers the goods is always something to celebrate.

We are introduced to the Lamberts, Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) and their three young children, which already gave this father of two wee ones the shakes. That we are introduced to them minus video feeds and viewfinders is a plus; though the movie was co-produced by Oren Peli, of the Paranormal Activity spookshows, this isn’t one of those increasingly tiresome

In the film, Adam¸ we first meet Adam as he watches his father’s casket get buried. For the first time in his life, he is alone. He returns home and we begin to realize that change is not something Adam is accustomed to: he has

knowingr1artworkpic1Knowing (2009, Summit Entertainment)
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Alex Proyas, the gifted director behind The Crow, I, Robot and the cult classic Dark City, really knows how to creep you out. Throughout his latest film, the sci-fi end of time action thriller Knowing, there is always a foreboding sense of doom that keeps the story propelling forward. Whether it’s a well-placed close-up of his actors’ worried expressions, or a niftily constructed shot with beautifully arranged extras silhouetted in long, flowing trenchcoats, Knowing has all of the elements of a great genre film…until it reaches the end, at which point it becomes a mess of new age hokum.

An opening prologue shows Lucinda, a troubled little girl in the 1950s scrawling a series of random numbers on a sheet of paper in her grade school classroom. The children in her class are writing notes for a time capsule the school is burying that will be opened 50 years later. The teacher takes Lucinda’s paper and it is placed in the time capsule. Later, Lucinda is found locked in a janitor closet with bloodied fingers and complaining that she hears voices in her head. Great stuff, so far. Proyas does an excellent job of setting up the eerie mood of the film.