Strangers With Candy - Based on the television show of the same name (which I'll state right now that I've never seen), Stangers With Candy tells the story of a 46 year old junkie played by Amy Sedaris as she is released from prison to begin her life anew. Literally. When Jerri Blank is released from prison she immediately travels to the home she grew up in to find that her father has divorced her mother, remarried, fathered a new son, and gone into a coma from which he seems unable to wake. Inspired by her father's physician, Jerri decides that going back to high school and re-living her youth as a respectable young woman will somehow wake her father from his coma. Principle Blackman, played by Greg Hollimon, accepts Jerri into his school in hopes that she'll be a worthwhile addition to the science team who must win a contest to keep the school board from cutting the institution's funding. Of course the plot is a stretch, which is no surprise when you consider that the creator/writer of both the show and the movie is Stephen Colbert who is most well known for his Comedy Central-housed fake news show The Colbert Report. I'm not faulting the movie for it's ridiculous plot, though, as it's only hope of achieving any laughs is to be as dumb as possible. There were as many instances during the course of watching Strangers With Candy that I shook my head at how stupid something was as there were instances that I laughed out loud. Very early on in the film you realize that it will be impossible to take it seriously, so you might as well just suspend your disbelief and let yourself laugh. The plot thickens when a rival to Stephen Colbert's science teacher character is introduced in the form of Matthew Broderick. Both science teachers are competing for the same school, which quickly dissolves the plot thread in which the principal must worry about losing his funding and instills a new story revolving around the grudge held between Colbert and Broderick. Considering that Strangers With Candy is a relatively low key, small-budget movie, I was surprised by some of the cast members present in the film. Along with Broderick, the movie stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Dan Hedaya, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and most surprisingly Sir Ian Holm. Clocking in at a modest hour and a half, Strangers With Candy is a very bearable movie for when you're just in the mood to laugh. The principal alone (who was my favorite character in the film) provides numerous ridiculous circumstances which you'll find it hard not to at least chuckle at.
Pulse - First off, is anyone else getting sick of creepy pale people with long black hair hanging in their faces who move sporadically and stare at you in scary movies these days? The Ring, The Grudge, Dark Water, Pulse...there's so many of these movies these days that they seem to be forming their own sub-genre of horror films. Especially when you consider the other little thing all of these movies have in common. They are all adapted directly from Japanese horror movies or Japanese horror manga. In some cases, both. As with all the others, Pulse attempts to use the same formula as it's predecessors while changing the rules slightly to make it a bit different. Four friends are shocked when their mutual pal Josh becomes really depressed and hangs himself. The guy who ends up with the suicide victim's used computer (LOST's Ian Somerhalder) discovers that Josh had the will to live sucked right out of him by ghosts who travel through electrical currents like viruses because some computer hackers accidentally let them loose from a radio frequency that is apparently compatible with Satan's DSL connection. In essence, pissed off spirits who want to be alive again travel through your electronic household devices and steal your soul. Afterwards you become an empty shell of a person causing you to A.) commit suicide, B.) get sucked into a wall and leave behind a black stain, or C.) spontaneously explode into a cloud of black dust. The thing is, it seems pretty random what will happen to you, which was one of my problems with the movie. It's like the writers couldn't decide how they wanted everyone in the movie to die, so they just made it completely random throughout the movie. Based on where the story eventually ends up, I'd say that the people behind Pulse had a pretty good idea which would have done well to separate it from the other movies that are just like it, but they never really took it as far as they could have. I found the movie frustrating to watch because it moved at a snail's pace until the last fifteen minutes or so, scenes and events seemed to occur at random, and the concept never really ended up making any sense. Okay, let's say that I'm down with the idea that ghosts come out of my computer and eat my hopes and dreams. Why the hell can covering your doors and windows with red duct tape keep the ghosts out of my room? It doesn't make a damn bit of sense why duct tape keeps out an entity that needs an electrical current to get to you. And why does it have to be red? Can you tell me, because apparently the writers of the movie can't. If you couldn't tell by the healthy dose of sarcasm in this review, I don't recommend seeing Pulse. You're better off watching The Ring, which is far better than this movie, or The Grudge, which is also better, but not as good as The Ring.