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  1. A taut little scifi thriller that takes a new twist on an old formula and creates a richer stew than the usual fare. SDG's review (which has a few notes that may best read until after you've seen it) captures a lot of what makes this a fine film: This happens fairly early in the film, and its important, I think, to pay attention to what each character does during that grace as it lays out some character notes that have meaningful payoffs. This movie really reminded me of Shyalaman's Signs. A family that's dealt with tragic loss in the midst of almost inconceivable circumstances holds out on a farm surrounded by cornfields, while ever tightening problems force them to rally around each other in unexpected (though perhaps in Signs' case, conveniently telegraphed) ways. Krasinki does great work with the sound design. His creatures are effective and scary, looking a bit like a mashup of the Stranger Things monsters and a Star Wars beastie meant to eat up our heroes. The casting is excellent, especially the girl who's deaf (Millicent Simmons). As SDG mentions, it is especially refreshing to see a functional family onscreen, and here's to hoping we see more.
  2. No thread? (Seems like we have a thread for another movie with same title, but I couldn't find anything for this one.) I'm very much on the fence about this film, though I suspect I will ultimately resolve things in the movie's favor. Some verbal processing from Facebook: I am totally not surprised by The Girl on the Train's 51% at Rotten Tomatoes. Wife said she liked it / esteemed it a bit more than I, mentioning that Emily Blunt seems destined for an Oscar nod. (Indeed, I wonder if that was the primary purpose of the movie.) My own feelings are more conflicted. There is a ripeness and emotionally bombastic quality to this material (I also read the book) that I find distasteful. I had similar feelings about Gone Girl. On the other hand, I could totally see it being this generation's FATAL ATTRACTION. There are clearly some buttons being pushed, particularly along gender lines, that are real. It's not that I loved the book...I didn't. But the book did some things better. The sordidness of alcoholism, it being more built into her character and self-definition rather than just it being a plot device. But even though the self-destructive qualities are softened in the first half of the movie there is something here that I see of value... There is a scathing, painful honesty about the *emotional* consequences of divorce and infidelity. The story's structural innovation (both a strength and weakness) is that you don't see the marriage, much less the love, just the aftermath. So some of the socially unacceptable behavior is understood as coming from a place of pain rather than anger. And there is something archetypal and, I think, important, about a heroine who saves herself (warts and all) by coming to understand the truth of her situation rather than who is saved or who heals by accepting blame for her situation. I thought a lot about the whole "it's all my fault" Disney heroine meme while watching this film. (http://1morefilmblog.com/2012/07/28/emma-merida-and-the-female-bildungsroman/ ) If you don't see the connection, the perceptual gulf between us may be too wide for me to explain. Yeah it's a messy film. And I think the ultimate lines between good (people) and evil (people) are too thick, too oversimplified. But there is a truth here. It may be an *emotional* truth. I suspect some men will dismiss it for that reason; I admit it frustrated me for that reason. But I don't think that frustration should cause us to ignore what we might learn if we really try to listen to the people for whom it resonates.
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