THE EXORCIST: BELIEVER

Linda Blair in THE EXORCIST: BELIEVER Year: 2023 Rating: *
Ellen Burstyn's Chris MacNeil complaining that she wasn't allowed to actually witness the exorcism of her daughter Regan, played by Linda Blair, would be like the mother of a kidnapped child being bitter and angry that she wasn't present when her child was saved in a house full of armed, dangerous felons (who wind up killing the men saving her)... And, get this... she BLAMES the Catholic church for basically being chauvinistic...  

Underlining the fact that the original EXORCIST, although originally deemed demonic itself to Christians and Catholics, can now be considered Faith-based being that without God, there is no Satan at all...  

Ellen Burstyn in THE EXORCIST BELIEVER

That said, BELIEVER sluggishly plays-out like a cheap, too-darkly-shot, CGI-filled straight-to-streaming throwaway that is simply no fun at all... and yes, the original classic has many moments of the audience not only reacting to terrifying possession scenes with Linda Blair, but getting to know the other two main characters with both intensity and sarcasm, in particular Burstyn and younger priest Jason Miller as Karras... who, in the William Friedkin classic, wound up the 11th-hour sacrificing hero while the absence of the latter (i.e. a solid central protagonist) takes away from this movie's expository structure even beyond having two girls possessed instead of one... because you never get to know either girl enough to base an entire 2-hour movie on... 

Starting out with the girls lost in the woods, involving a cult of homeless freaks, there's a rudimentary glimpse of intrigue, and perhaps they could have centered more perspective on the pair and their own spooky pre-possessed plight: but all that's quickly abandoned, replaced with what's basically a replica of the original yet without any real suspense or, with a stressed-out single father in charge, no logical reason or any purpose and, news just came out that they're abandoning a sequel to this sequel and starting over with a NEW reboot instead... which is important information lacking in any review written before May 30th, 2024...  So whatever did POSSESS this film's creation has thankfully been exorcised, forever. 

Linda Blair in THE EXORCIST: BELIEVER

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (2013)

Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color Rates: ***1/2

Celebrated French teenage-lesbian romantic-drama stars now famous Léa Seydoux and still unknown Adèle Exarchopoulos... the latter being the true lead (the original title translates to THE LIFE OF ADELE) as we go through her daily high school routine ranging from teachers teaching to a pseudo-boyfriend flirting to her finicky gal pals gossiping... soon enough about how she's been seen hanging around with Seydoux (who she kind of accidentally met at a girl-gay bar) as the lovely and confident blue-haired artist Emma...

When both first see each other crossing the street, it's intense intrigue at first sight, which is how the director grabs the audience, albeit sometimes dragging out their relationship through mundane family dinners to backyard parties while the lesbian bedroom scenes become far too graphic, paling to the rudimentary budding-relationship aspects featuring Adèle with full lips kissing Seydoux, comparably more sexy than anything taken further: ultimately making BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR far too long, often overreaching the more simple mainline of two young opposites in love, which, when centered only on them, is right on target.

Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos first kiss with Alma Jodorowsky in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos first kiss with Alma Jodorowsky in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos in Blue is the Warmest Color
Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color
Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos in Blue is the Warmest Color
Alma Jodorowsky in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color


GIA (1998)

Angelina Jolie playing Gia Carangi would be like, musically, if Jeff Beck played a concert celebrating Eric Clapton... while both Jolie and Carangi are knockouts, they're completely different kind of knockouts: Gia was subtle, more cute-gorgeous while Angelia's... well... Angelina Jolie and, acting-wise, is quite good here, wielding the kind of energy that steals her own movie... yet it often feels more like a biopic set during the 1990's than the 1970's/1980's...

The director's partially to blame, making GIA seem a bit too much of exactly what it is: a risque cable movie (or one of those Don't Do Drugs Specials without any specific reasons behind her using) that sporadically almost-reaches big-screen potential (the documentary-style interview/interludes mirroring another doomed beauty flick, STAR 80)... meanwhile the lesbian scenes with Kim Dickens needed to evolve past cliche lipstick chic... although they did both have terrific chemistry in their build-up, and, overall, Jolie's almost too good here, not seeming like she's portraying an actual former niche celebrity but embracing the fact she's on the verge of becoming a revered beauty-icon herself: Or like she's rebooting Gia's life rather than factually reliving it... which isn't too shabby, either way. GRADE: B—

Kim Dickens and Angelina Jolie
James Haven and Angelina Jolie in GIA
White Shadow star Joan Pringle in GIA


UNFROSTED (2024)

Even rabid fans of the sitcom SEINFELD are realizing that that joke about Jerry not being a good actor, built right into the classic show itself, is actually true... More noticeable here as he plays the fast-talking spokesman of Kellogg's cereal who winds up inventing Pop Tarts (NOT based on the real guy who ACTUALLY invented Pop Tarts)... And while it's an overboard performance, using his snappy build-to-the-punchline delivery while portraying a desperately hyper-active (and somewhat shallow) advertising man trying to save one cereal company (Kellogg's) from another (Post)... at least he's TRYING to act here... or rather, he's attempting to pull off a performance instead of just being Jerry... 

And Jerry's no stranger to letting an ensemble of more experienced actors shine around him... But UNFROSTED simply has too many cooks, ranging from Jim Gaffigan as one of the Kellogg's neurotic family members, seeming to imitate Jerry's verbal rhythm like a bad imitation... or Melissa McCarthy, playing, once again, Melissa McCarthy as... well... She's ALSO someone working for the same cereal company that's part of an all-star Made-for-Netflix movie that feels as if MAD MEN were being parodied on a hybrid of SNL and GLEE for 90-minutes... And as for deliberate acting-ringer Hugh Grant as the guy who voiced Tony the Tiger... a pretentious stage-actor sinking to the lowly depths of capitalism, he's just kinda... well... he's just kinda there... As a matter of fact, everything here (with all the frantically-eclectic running around) are just kinda there... even and especially Seinfeld himself, doing his best to make every... single... second.... matter... For either an intended slapdash laugh, or perhaps to cover up the fact that, as a novice director, he's bought into the old con-man's adage that... Using enough fast-flying information, they'll never figure out that you actually... don't know anything.. Grade: D

MANTRAP: STRAW DOGS DOCUMENTARY (2003)

Good, bare-bones documentary on both Straw Dogs the movie, famous and infamous for the double-rape sequence of the ingenue played by Susan George, an active part here, and especially of director Sam Peckinpah, who many... including Dustin Hoffman... wanted replaced... Thank God that didn't happen, because Straw Dogs is Sam Peckinpah's greatest movie, and imaging someone else doing it would be like imaging The Wild Bunch with another director...

And while there's a kind of quick feminist viewpoint of the double-rape sequence, in the movie's actual story, the girl character, Susan George's Amy, wife of Dustin Hoffman's David, had once loved the first man, and always despised and hardly knew the second man... And that second man was played by British bad boy actor Ken Hutchison, the scariest and meanest of this British wild bunch, and seeing him old in 2003, drinking and smoking, is neat because not only did he quit acting in 1999, but he was such a great actor, and doesn't even have a cult status at this point, and really should; while other interviewees included are Del Henney, the first man, who Amy once loved... and veteran actors then-and-now Peter Vaughan and TP McKenna... And plenty of memories of Dustin Hoffman himself, a very deep, thoughtful, artistic man, you can tell: The only downside is towards the end, when they start to psychoanalyze Peckinpah to a ridiculous fashion, insinuating that the violence of his movies (especially Straw Dogs) reflected his own deep-rooted hatred toward the women in his life: something they NEVER do to violent movie directors like Quentin Tarantino or a slew of others who Peckinpah influenced... Thankfully, at this navel-gazing point of the doc, it's all finished: they basically saved the worst for last. Grade: B

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