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ORPHAN (2009)

>> Saturday, July 25, 2009

Annie was never this sadistic.

M. Night Shyamalan would be proud. Then again, M. Night was proud of Lady in the Water and The Happening. Why would M. Night be proud, you ask? Because like the movies that he helms on a regular basis, this one comes with a twist ending. Orphan is a film that doesn’t hide the fact that something sinister is going on with the oddly charming Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), but rather boldy states that something is wrong with her - as the tagline proclaims. Not because she looks like Damien's sister nor because she has a creepy Russian accent (which is at times oddly hypnotic and almost polite-sounding), but because she pushes a girl off of the top of a playground slide and breaks her ankle without batting an eyelash. This is of course not immediately, but enough into the film that up until this point you find yourself almost rooting for Esther hoping that everything will work out with her new mom and dad, Kate and John, played respectably by Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard.

But what’s with the ribbons around her wrists and neck that Esther wears? And why does she refuse to never take them off? This is the question that plagues you throughout the movie, almost more than wondering why she’s so deliciously evil. It reminded me of an old ghost story I heard when I was a child, about a woman who would always wear a ribbon around her neck and nobody could figure out why. Turns out when the ribbon is removed at the end of the story by her new found lover, her head falls off. Keep this story in mind when you're watching this film. I assure you I'm not giving anything away and for the most part, the twist ending is good enough you probably won’t guess it until the time comes.

Orphan does its best to keep moving at a nice pace throughout the two hour running time. If you’re not intrigued by Esther’s disturbing quietness and neatness, you'll find yourself anticipating what are normally cliché “jumping at shadow” moments - like when Esther’s adoptive mother Kate opens the fridge to grab something. The music queue suggests to stand on guard for Esther to be standing behind the door when it closes. When it does, the space is empty and the film moves along its merry little way. There are many of these moments within the film, and it does get tiring, but never tiresome.

You’ll find Orphan very creepy, quiet and subtle and you'll be surprised at times to find you're watching a thriller rather than just a regular family drama. Granted, it's a 'drama' about adopting a slightly unusual, yet gifted little girl and the struggles a family faces when accepting her into their home. Kate and John are realistic parents, with realistic problems and regular kids - which is all the more reason to feel the fear, anxiety and odd acceptance one might normally feel when blindly welcoming a stranger into their household.

The door is open on this one, as it improves upon the usual demon child genre and doesn’t resort to terribly cheap thrills. Definitely more could have been done with this premise and the idea, as is the case with most films in the horror/thriller genre, but it doesn’t fall too short. My recommendation is you go into Orphan much like you would;ve gone into Snakes on a Plane. Don’t expect anything too serious, and you should find yourself having a pretty good time. Particularly when you hear the line “I AM NOT - YOUR - MOMMY!”

*Still courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures



>> Friday, July 24, 2009

For the longest time imaginable I’ve been wanting to start doing film reviews for my blog Don’t Make Charlie Angry. It’s been attempted and talked about a couple of times amongst my friends and I to perhaps do a once a month video segment based a movie we would see that month. Preferably new, but depending on the situation we may have hit up Regina’s premiere discount movie theatre and seen something that was a couple months old. The fact is is that people still look up reviews on the web for older films, especially when looking through the Wal-Mart $5 movie bin. Silly Movie 2 anyone?

But more than likely it would be for newer movies, and with almost every theatre having a cheap day on one or more days of the week, it no longer has to be a choice between eating Zoodles straight from the can or seeing a movie.

My goal with this blog is to review a movie once a week, and once a month I’ll do a video review as well. The biggest problem I ran into as far as thinking about how I would do this whole thing was “how do I rate these films?”. I will be writing the review of course, accompanied by a logo for quick reference on whether I think it’s worth seeing or not seeing. The logos will be as follows:

*The yellow logo is an "Open Door". It means I think you should go see the movie.
*The red logo is a "Closed Door". It means I think you shouldn't even bother taking a peak inside.

Now don’t get me wrong, I respect a system where I could give a percentage or stars or a grade of A, B, or C. Realistically, my opinion of the film will be in the review, and based on that I won’t waste your time by saying “I give this a 7 because it’s worth seeing but it’s not the best. If I don’t think its worth seeing, you will know it by seeing a closed door. If I do think its worth your $10, then you will know it by seeing an open door. Its simple, its to the point, and it works. This is of course being said real early on in my career as a film critic, like most things in life it will undoubtedly change as I see fit, and I may find there are films that will be worthy of an in between rating, at which point I may change my rating system accordingly.

But for now, I hope you enjoy my new blog, and I hope to update it often enough on new movies, old movies, and DVD’s to keep you, the valued reader and film goer, entertained, informed and interested. This is Angry Charlie, opening his door. Welcome.



>> Thursday, July 23, 2009


- 127 Hours (2010)
- 2012 (2009)


- Adjustment Bureau, The (2011)
- Adventures of Tintin, The (2011)
- Alice in Wonderland (2010)
- Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)
- Apollo 18 (2011)
- Avatar (2009)


- Battle: Los Angeles (2011)
- Black Swan (2010)
- Book of Eli, The (2010)
- Bridesmaids (2011)
- Burlesque (2010)


- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- Cars 2 (2011)
- Catfish (2010)
- Christmas Carol, A (2009)
- Conan O' Brien Can't Stop (2011)
- Contagion (2011)
- Coraline (2009)
- Couples Retreat (2009)
- Cowboys & Aliens (2011)


- Date Night (2010)
- Despicable Me (2010)
- Devil (2010)
- District 9 (2009)
- Due Date (2010)
- Dungeon Crawl (2010)



- Fast Five (2011)
- Final Destination, The (2009)
- Final Destination 5 (2011)
- Fright Night (2011)
- Fourth Kind, The (2009)
- Friends With Benefits (2011)


- Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)
- Green Hornet, The (2011)
- Green Lantern (2011)
- Gulliver's Travels (2010)


- Halloween II (2009)
- Hanna (2011)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
- Help, The (2011)
- Hereafter (2010)
- Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)


- Inception (2010)
- Insidious (2011)
- Iron Man 2 (2010)


- Jackass 3D (2010)


- Karate Kid, The (2010)
- Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)


- Larry Crowne (2011)
- Last Exorcism, The (2010)
- Legion (2010)
- Limitless (2011)
- Little Fockers (2010)
- Losers, The (2010)
- Lovely Bones, The ( 2009)


- MacGruber (2010)
- Machete (2010)
- Megamind (2010)
- Midnight in Paris (2011)



- Orphan (2009)
- Other Guys, The (2010)


- Paranormal Activity (2009)
- Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
- Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
- Paul (2011)
- Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)
- Piranha 3D (2010)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
- Priest (2011)
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)



- Rango (2011)
- RED (2010)
- Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
- Rio (2011)
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
- Rite, The (2011)


- Sanctum (2011)
- Salt (2010)
- Saw: The Final Chapter (2010)
- Score: A Hockey Musical (2010)
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
- Scream 4 (2011)
- She's Out of My League (2010)
- Sherlock Holmes (2009)
- Shrek Forever After (2010)
- Shutter Island (2010)
- Skyline (2010)
- Smurfs, The (2011)
- Social Network, The (2010)
- Source Code (2011)
- Splice (2009)
- Sucker Punch (2011)
- Super (2010)
- Super 8 (2011)
- Switch, The (2010)


- Tangled (2010)
- Thor (2011)
- Town, The (2010)
- Toy Story 1 & 2 (1995 & 1999)
- Toy Story 3 (2010)
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
- Trick R' Treat (2008)
- Tron Legacy (2010)
- True Grit (2010)


- Up in the Air (2009)


- Valentine's Day (2010)
- Vampire's Suck (2010)


- Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
- Where the Wild Things Are ( 2009)
- Wolfman, The (2010)


- X-Men: First Class (2011)



- Zombieland (2009)


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