February 3, 2012. Movies to Stay Home With. DVDs reviewed: Dream House, Point Blank

Posted in Cultural Mining, Drama, DVD, France, Psychological Thriller, Subtitles, Thriller, Uncategorized, US by CulturalMining.com on February 4, 2012


Hi, this is Daniel Garber at the Movies, for culturalmining.com and CIUT 89.5 FM, looking at high-brow and low-brow movies, indie, cult, foreign, festival, genre and mainstream movies, helping you see movies with good taste, movies that taste good, and how to tell the difference.

Now I’m a huge booster of seeing movies in movie theatres, not on TV, not on your computer. Nothing is better than the group experience of a huge screen in a room filled with strangers all watching and reacting, ensemble, to the same thing.

But… well, it’s winter and it’s freezing outside, and sometimes it’s better just to curl up at home and watch something chilling. So this week I’m talking about two DVD’s to watch on a cold night in bed with someone warm.

Dream House
Dir: Jim Sheridan

When Will (Daniel Craig) quits his publishing job at a big city firm, he moves — with his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz) and his two young daughters — into an old wooden house in a small town. It’s just the relaxing life he’s been hoping for.

He loves playing games with the kids; play-scaring them with a loud “boo!” when playing “I’m gonna getcha!” Libby wonders who used to live in this house before them; they left lots of evidence behind. And the kids settle in like they’d always lived there.

But there’s something wrong with this old house. Strange things start to happen. His daughter thinks she saw a man’s face through the window, And when Will finds an “infestation” of mohawked teens in his basement, he discovers they were there to invoke the spirit of a mass murderer who, five years earlier, had killed everyone — including a woman and two young daughters — who lived in that house.

“He’s back!” says the punk.

You see, the killer was never caught and the police consider it a cold case. And everyone in the town he talks to just avoids his questions — like they know something but they’re not telling him. Only Ann (Naomi Watts), the pretty, blonde-haired woman across the street, seems sympathetic.

Then Will is shown some videos from the night of the murders. The face of the killer looked familiar. Is that crazed killer really back? Who is that strange figure they see outside the house? The more he discovers, the more he realizes his family might truly be in danger. And if anything happens to them, it would be his fault.

Dream House is a strange mixture of horror, ghost story, and psychological thriller. Good acting, especially by Craig as a troubled man with a hidden past, dealing with love, fear and guilt. Watts and Weisz downplay their roles: no showing off here. It’s a slow-build thriller, good for a late night watch on a cold winter night.

Point Blank
Dir: Fred Cavayé

Samuel (Gilles Lellouche), a Parisian assistant nurse, lives happily with his Spanish wife, Nadia (Elena Anaya) eight months into her first pregnancy. He tends to his latest patient — a wounded gangster on the brink of death — like any other. But the fact there’s a 24-hour police guard beside the criminal, Hugo (Roschdy Zem)’s bed, should tell him something serious is going on.

Then he gets a sudden phone call — he has to smuggle the comatose thug, whose life he’s saved — out of the hospital, past the armed guards… if he ever wants to see his wife alive again! He has no choice. And Hugo (the body) proves not to be so comatose after all. The two of them become an oddly-matched pair, fighting first against each other, then against a series of violent criminals. Their faces are soon on TV everywhere — they’re considered armed and dangerous murderers. Hugo wants to find his brother, and Samuel, his wife, before the crooks and the crooked cops find them. But the conspiracy is so deep they don’t know who to trust.

This is a fantastic, fast-paced action-thriller, with great chase scenes on foot through the streets and subways of Paris.

Both of these movies have great casts, and good scary parts to get your heart-pumping on a dreary winter’s night. Point Blank and Dream House are available now on DVD.

This is Daniel Garber at the Movies is on CIUT 89.5 FM each Friday morning, and on my website culturalmining.com.

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