CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Blu-ray Review: ‘The Apparition’ Ranks as One of 2012’s Worst Films
CHICAGO – Remember that scene in “Ghostbusters” where Sigourney Weaver slides toward a hellish demon while pinned to a chair? Or the utterly chilling moment in “Ju-On” where the contorted body of a vengeful spirit crawls toward its latest victim? Or how about that little indie movie about a young couple plagued by an inexplicable onslaught of paranormal activity?
If you’re even vaguely familiar with these cinematic touchstones, then you will have no problem identifying their blatantly plagiarized copies in Todd Lincoln’s heinously inept jaw-dropper of a wannabe horror show. Oh, it’s a horror show, all right. Just listen to the way actress Julianna Guill delivers her first line of dialogue as if she’s reading it for the very first time. Or observe the pathetic attempt of a major studio to mimic the cruddy handheld photography of found footage hits while completely failing to understand their subtlety or suspense.
Blu-ray Rating: 0.0/5.0
Guill is quickly disposed of in a typically frustrating sequence where jittering lenses and murky shadows are utilized to obscure cheap effects. Yet her absence is instantly filled by Ashley Greene, known to “Twilight” fans as Alice Cullen. In a way, Greene’s abominable performance can be studied as a classic example of the “Twilight method,” in which actors don’t inhabit characters so much as they pose for horny teens addicted to Screen Grab. There isn’t a single photogenic nuance or stifled sob in Greene’s work that wouldn’t be comfortably at home in a Clearasil commercial. The pedestrian score by “Resident Evil” vets “tomandandy” makes the sun-drenched love scenes even more laughable, as Greene travels to her drafty, foreboding home with her boyfriend (an equally wooden Sebastian Stan). It’s no surprise to discover that Stan has a secret to hide, since Lincoln’s script cherishes every derivative twist that it can fit into its narrative. Amp up the silliness by the slightest degree, and this is just “Scary Movie 5,” topped off by a bizarre cameo from Draco Malfoy himself, Tom Felton, who still spits out his dialogue like a proudly pure-blooded Slytherin. He’s the mad scientist whose misguided college experiment created the hateful apparition that is hunting down every last one of the movie’s sexy protagonists. To paraphrase the film’s insipid tagline, once the characters start believing in the ghost, they’re doomed. That should leave disbelieving audiences feeling quite safe indeed.
The Apparition was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 27th, 2012.
Photo credit: Warner Home Video
Only an hour and 13 minutes pass before the film reaches its interminable ending credit sequence, which pads out the running time long enough for the picture to appear substantially feature-length. This has been done before, but rarely this poorly, as the filmmakers resort to inserting random desaturated images into the end credit roll that have no connection to the narrative whatsoever, such as a lingering close-up of Mary Todd Lincoln. Now there’s a Todd Lincoln I can get behind.
“The Apparition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (with a 2.4:1 aspect ratio), accompanied by English and Spanish audio tracks and includes Blu-ray, DVD and UltraViolet copies of the film. Most of the filmmakers are conspicuously absent from the Blu-ray disc’s scant array of featurettes. The person who receives the largest amount of screen time is “ghost consultant” Joshua P. Warren, who specializes in conducting outlandish experiments that lead to paranormal phenomena (all of which conveniently occur offscreen). At the very least, it must be said that Warren’s cheerful good-natured spirit is precisely what Lincoln’s ponderous yawn-fest lacks. He’d make a great target for the next Christopher Guest ensemble mockumentary, or perhaps he could be one of the stars. He’s certainly an exuberant performer.