Seen Sunday March 24: The Call
A 911 operator (Halle Berry) fails to save a girl who ends up being abducted from her home and killed. Turns out the guy who did it was in love with his beautiful blonde older sister, who died of cancer when he was still a boy. So he goes around looking for blonde-haired, blue-eyed girls who resemble her so that he can scalp them in his underground lair, save their hair/scalps in wig form, and always feel like his sister is with him. He strikes again 6 months later (kidnapping Abigail Breslin), but Berry's character takes this call personally and fights to the end to save her. "There are 188 million 911 calls a year. This one made it personal."
What I don't like about this movie: It was a lot more sick and twisted than I'd expected. I CANNOT take horror/thriller/suspense films in the least, so this was an unfortunate surprise for me. But then again, this surprise also made it fun to watch even if I had my eyes half-covered the whole time. This movie also had a rather abrupt ending, leaving me with many unanswered questions. Abrupt as it was though, it was vengeful. And revenge, so seldom gotten in real life, is somewhat satisfying to watch on screen.
Would I recommend it?: Sure.
Seen Friday March 29: Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor
A married aspiring marriage counselor from the rural South (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) has an unfulfilling job as a therapist at a millionaire matchmaking service in DC. She is dissatisfied with her life and her marriage, which has become dull. She starts cheating on her husband with a handsome, smart, rich, smooth-talking, hedonist client who turns out to be needy, manipulative, abusive, drug-addicted, and HIV-infected. She basically loses her mind and herself, and we see how far one can fall once they don't know their own worth and completely give themselves over to temptation. "Seduction is the devil's playground."
What I really like about this movie: Jurnee Smollett-Bell. I admire her as an actress, and she's the only reason I went to see this movie. She did not disappoint. The theme of change is prevalent in this film, and there are often scenes where her character stares at herself in the mirror after she's done or experienced something significant. Those moments, plus Bell's superb acting, helped me to really see and feel her character's descent into hell. I kid you not, at one point in the film she seemed like she'd been possessed by the devil. Absolutely captivating performance from her.
Also, this movie has a really sad ending. For once in a Tyler Perry film, everything doesn't end up alright in the end. The moral of this film is that the sanctity of marriage is not to be taken lightly; characters pay the consequences for their actions and no one walks away happy. Reconciled, getting by, no longer distraught, determined to keep moving forward, but not exactly "happy."
What I don't like about this movie: It's a Tyler Perry film. I swore off Tyler Perry productions (especially films) a long time ago. But I still watch, mostly because Ma has always been an avid fan of his, and movie-watching is always a better experience when you're with someone else. Plus, despite my issues with his work I still feel compelled in a way to support our people. It's the same kind of relationship that I have with BET, which I also swore off years ago.
Anyway, being a TP production, Temptation sticks to a familiar formula and the plot is incredibly predictable as usual. But as I mentioned above, he made some really smart decisions with casting and directing that actually made this film... watchable. Good even. Like For Colored Girls (which thankfully wasn't a real TP film), and The Family That Preys, Temptation is serious and gave me something new. I really appreciated that.
Would I recommend it?: Yeah, sure.