Well I had a new movie-watching experience for this Duet—I rented something from iTunes. Have you guys rented stuff from them before? I don’t know if I want to make a habit of it, but I was eager to see Honeymoon, and since it was a super limited release, iTunes was pretty much my only option. I decided to pair that with a new DVD release, Bad Words. I figured pairing a horror with a comedy would be good for me. Haha. Anyway, let’s sing a little movie duet, shall we?
Synopsis: “A newlywed couple finds their lake-country honeymoon descend into chaos after Paul finds Bea wandering and disoriented in the middle of their first night.” –www.imdb.com
The High Notes:
- Harry Treadaway and Rose Leslie as newlyweds Paul and Bea. They have a sweet relationship, and we’re given just enough of their backstory to believe them as a couple. I particularly like the dramatic moments between them when things start getting really creepy. Also, I think Treadaway is kind of precious.
- This film doesn’t go for easy scares. Instead, it gets under your skin with a generally eerie atmosphere and a strange mystery. I think it has a pretty nice buildup.
- The end. It’s one of the creepiest, most unsettling endings I’ve seen in a while, and I love it. It also ties in with the beginning of the film perfectly. Just remember these lines: “Before I was alone, and now I’m not.” Aaaaand now I’ve creeped myself out.
The Low Notes:
- The couple is a little too cutesy. I really do like the actors, and I know they’re supposed to be a couple on their honeymoon, but I can only take so much when it comes to cheesy lovey dovey stuff. They come off as almost sickeningly cute—partially due to, in my opinion, occasional over-performing.
- The dialogue. It isn’t awful, but there were a few times especially toward the beginning where I cringed and thought, “Nope. People do not talk like this.”
- I wish we knew more about the…we’ll call it the “situation.” This is something I can barely talk about without getting into spoiler territory. Weird stuff happens, and eventually you realize what’s causing this weird stuff, but there are a lot of remaining questions. Why this particular place? Why these people? What exactly is the ultimate goal? Sometimes, a little mystery is nice, but I could’ve done with more explanation in this case.
The Staccato Version: I may not have loved this as much as I’d hoped, but I’d still say it’s one of the better horrors of the year. The actors are solid, the creepiness is steady, and the ending is pretty fantastic. If you’re like me and cringe at annoying cutesy stuff and stiff dialogue, I’d say it’s still worth powering through for that ending. Horror fans, don’t write this one off. But for any of you who are planning a honeymoon, I’d recommend giving this one a wide berth. Lol.
My Grade: B-
Synopsis: “A spelling bee loser sets out to exact revenge by finding a loophole and attempting to win as an adult.” –www.imdb.com
The High Notes:
- The premise. I’ve come across spelling bee movies before, but never anything like this. I mean, a grown man does a children’s spelling bee? Can’t say it isn’t a unique idea. I found it pretty interesting—especially given the added mystery of why Guy (Jason Bateman) is even doing this, which remains a secret for most of the film.
- The cast. Jason Bateman is at his best as foul-mouthed, misanthropic Guy. He’s a character that could very well be impossible to like in less capable hands, but Bateman manages to him likable and hilarious. Rohan Chand plays Guy’s sweet, adorable little friend and fellow contestant, Chaitanya, and it is seriously impossible not to love this kid. Kathryn Hahn plays feisty, determined journalist Jenny, who is also pretty hilarious. Throw in Allison Janney as a villainous spelling bee director and you’ve got yourself a great cast.
- The humor. It’s foul, mean-spirited, and wrong on so many levels…but I laughed. A lot. And there’s a good chance you will, too.
The Low Notes:
- You might not like Guy. Though funny and likable via Bateman’s charm, Guy is undoubtedly a huge jerk. If you’re not big on anti-heroes, you might not be a fan.
- Guy’s reason for doing the spelling bee. It makes sense, I suppose, but it still doesn’t seem like enough of a reason to drive a grown man to do something like this. Granted, Guy is a bit of a manchild, but still.
- The ending. For a film like this, I didn’t expect cheesy, but…yeah it’s a little cheesy. Not to a ridiculous degree, but enough to make me feel like something wasn’t quite right. Maybe things are a bit rushed? Maybe we don’t get quite enough of Guy’s past? I’m not sure, but I had hoped for something slightly different in the end.
The Staccato Version: As far as full-length directorial film debuts go, I’d say Jason Bateman has a pretty great one on his hands here. It has its flaws, but overall Bad Words is a unique, hilarious comedy with an anti-hero (and an adorable sidekick) that you certainly won’t forget. If you like your comedies biting and mean, you’ll probably love this.
My Grade: B+