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Mike Wilmington

By Mike Wilmington Wilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on Movies: The Apparition

 

THE APPARITION (Also Blu-ray)  (One Star)

U.S.: Todd Lincoln, 2012 (Warner Bros.) 

Dull, dreary, pointless and bad, sporting shock scenes that don’t shock, a grisly premise that doesn’t make sense, and a meager cast of mostly uninterested-looking Hollywood lookers (headed by Ashley Greene of Twilight) struggling with a meager, dialogue-challenged script, here is another horror movie for masochists. It’s a Paranormal Activity sort of story, done with a brooding visual style the story doesn’t deserve, and it’s all about ghosts, lookers, moving furniture, dead pets, creepy hands, and malignant visitors from the afterlife. The shadowy or arty cinematography (Daniel Pearl) and frenetic editing belie the usual P.A. found footage strategy.The script deserves to be exorcized.

Ashley Greene (the movie’s prime looker) and movie boyfriend Sebastian Stan, a guy who often seems on the verge of  a snooze, are the haunted couple who discover ghostly presences and doings in a family home in the desert. Eventually, they’re informed by parapsychologist Patrick (Tim Felton) that — sorry, kids — he’s accidentally set loose a plague of destructive ghosts on the country and the world, something he apparently hasn’t bothered to tell anyone else. That’s not the only stupid thing the “good guys” do in this movie. People are forever running into the arms of monsters, getting attacked by their own bed sheets or exposing themselves unnecessarily to hideous dangers in the basement.

The best thing about The Apparition is the end-titles, from Prologue, which have a sort of Jordan BelsonHollis Frampton look to them. Still, you may wonder why I bother to review a movie that was on the shelf for two years and then reportedly got the smallest wide release in the history of Warner Brothers — instead of drawing more attention to a little French gem like Chicken With Plums. (Advice to movie lovers: Forget Apparition; don‘t miss Chicken.) Well, to tell the truth, The Apparition  was the only movie that hadn’t already started in the multiplex before the weekend matinee price change, and I just got back from it. Advice to writer-director Todd Lincoln: Get a writer or co-writer, or maybe some good found footage, next time out.

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Wilmington

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon