Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baghead + The Other Boleyn Girl

Baghead. I liked this more than I was expecting to considering it's a horror film (sort of) based around a villain who wears a brown paper bag on his head. Not exactly Michael Myers creepy. It's a standard, run of the mill brown paper bag and its normalcy might be the key for it causing fear or uneasiness as Baghead unfolds. The story, done up in as much comedy as fright by brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, concerns two women and two males heading out to a remote cabin for the weekend to work on a screenplay they can all be in. When there, drink is consumed, lusts are born and strange things begin to occur. You know, unknown types with a bag on the head emerging from the darkness or appearing in rooms.

I enjoyed another Duplass brother film a few years back called The Puffy Chair. Baghead has the same low-budget, improvised feel and mood. There's a casual spontaneity among the four cast members as they banter back and forth about films, what is happening to them or drunkenly make romantic passes at each other. It's a very flimsy premise, but the likable group of actors and some weirdness toward the end with Mr. Baghead make it funny in an awkward way and kind of eerie in a silly way. Nothing says terror like a killer with a bag on their heads, right?

The Other Boleyn Girl. Take my advice on this very, very subpar monarchy set melodrama from 2008: avoid it. Granted, films set among royal families of any nation are not something that interests me. Ever. Add The Other Boleyn Girl to the list. It's not that I just don't like these sorts of king/queen films (although I don't!), this is just a bad film and would be hard-pressed to please people into this world or time in history. It's a failure at everything it tries to be. Romance, historical drama, suspense--all of these do not work. The Other Boleyn Girl is dull, poorly written, poorly acted and full of characters I didn't care if they lived, loved or had their heads chopped off by the king.

Set in 16th century England during the reign of Henry VIII (played stiffly by Eric Bana), two sisters vie for the king's attention. Desperate for a male heir, the randy king takes sister Mary (Scarlett Johansson in heaving bosom mode) as a mistress, but then takes sister Anne (Natalie Portman) as a wife. It's complicated in the king's bedchambers. One sister will end up without a head. There's a decent cast in this, but it's ruined by a heavy handed script and direction, The Other Boleyn Girl confirms my long-held thoughts about the monarchy that will make me pass on the next film set in this period among this or that king/queen.

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