Elvis and Anabelle

Friday, March 9th, 2012 by Rachel

I like Lifetime movies. I have no shame in my love of Lifetime movies. But today I watched a movie on Lifetime Movie Network that was sooo much better than a Lifetime movie. This movie is proof that you should not turn your nose up at something just because of the channel it is on. Yeah, I’m saying it. Don’t judge a book by its cover and all that jazz.


Elvis and Anabelle is one of the best romance movies I’ve seen in a while. I was a little turned off by the opening scene of embalming, simply because the last undertaker movie I watched (After Life) really rubbed me the wrong way. I actually paused it and told myself, “Power through; maybe this character will make it worthwhile.” He did. I had no problems once I got past the opening scene.


This is a movie that brings two misfits together when an undertaker’s son (Max Minghella) saves a beauty queen (Blake Lively). I’m hesitant to bring specifics into this for fear of spoiling things, but this romance is really a modern day fairy tale. Though the problem that eventually brings a rift between them seems a little contrived, the chemistry is there, the love is there, and the kindred spirits are believable, despite their very different attitudes and backgrounds.


I don’t know much about Blake Lively, as I’ve never gotten into Gossip Girl, but we saw her last weekend in a very different role as a Boston drug addict and tramp in The Town. She is definitely a talented actress with a lot of potential in terms of her range. I also want to make sure to point out amazing side characters—Elvis’s dad (played by Joe Mantegna in the best role I’ve EVER seen him in) and Anabelle’s mom (played by Mary Steenburgen, who I mostly know as Ted Danson’s wife, but she is fantastic in every project she takes on).


I’m no expert in terms of cinematography, but I know when I like how something looks. And this movie has some really beautiful scenes in it. The movie becomes progressively lighter (visually and thematically) as it works from beginning to end, and it’s interesting how/when more and more color is introduced. The shots of Elvis’s house and the surrounding area are awesome. This movie makes me want to pack up and go buy a farmhouse in Texas…or maybe just visit sometime.


Two thumbs up for Elvis and Anabelle. Keep an eye out for it if you are wanting a nice, relaxing, surprising movie that covers a lot of thematic ground, from suicide to disability to near death experiences to what happens when a Harold meets a Maude.

And Soon the Darkness

Thursday, March 8th, 2012 by Rachel

Let’s be honest here. I watched this movie for the title. Darkness is one of my favorite words. I saw this movie on Starz the other day when I was clicking through channels, and I DVRed it, knowing it would be right up my alley. I watched it today because I wanted a break from Lifetime and Melrose Place, and it was the first movie at the top of my DVR list that fit the bill.


And Soon the Darkness is a remake of a 1970s British thriller of the same name, which I have not seen and may or may not add to my list. Two women are cycling through Argentina. When one of them goes missing, the other one is left to find her. It’s pretty obvious early on that it’s 1) dangerous for women to be in a foreign country, 2) dangerous for women to be alone in a foreign country, 3) strange foreign men are dangerous. We’re just waiting for one woman to be alone so a man can abduct her. It’s REALLY obvious.


Because it’s so in your face from the beginning of this movie that things in Argentina are dangerous, this movie is definitely lacking in the thrills area. I watched a Lifetime movie yesterday called A Deadly Encounter, and this movie (even with its horrible and unintriguing title!) was more suspenseful. I’m not sure where And Soon the Darkness went wrong. The abduction scene wasn’t scary. The rescue scene wasn’t scary. When characters get killed, I’m not scared. I’m just like… well, that’s what happens when you’re in Argentina. Shouldn’t have gone to Argentina. You should’ve gone to Las Vegas. Nothing bad happens in Las Vegas.


It’s so unfortunate that this movie falls flat, because the two main lead actresses are actually pretty good. Amber Heard plays the “good girl”, and I saw her (and enjoyed her performance, if you remember) recently in Drive Angry. Odette Yustman (who is now…Odette Annable? Seriously, actresses should only keep their maiden names or hyphenate married names, because it’s confusing) plays the “bad girl”, and I really liked her in The Unborn, which I saw a few years ago and thought was pretty underrated as a horror film. Both Heard and Yustman/Annable played their roles well separately and together, and they are really believable as best friends. I wanted more of them. I empathized with them. But I still wasn’t scared when bad stuff happened to them.


So, today brought you a lukewarm review. I don’t want my 90 minutes back, but I’m not sure if I’d recommend it. Lesson learned: Titles can be more interesting than movies.