Movie Reviews: The Last Exorcism (*), The Switch (***)

 

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The Last Exorcism (*)

I am baffled by the generally good reviews this movie has been receiving.  Produced by Eli Roth and directed by Daniel Stamm, The Last Exorcism is a tame, PG-13 rated horror film completely lacking in scares and originality.  The movie apes everything from the classic '74 Exorcist to the handheld footage of The Blair Witch Project to the cheesy, town-gone-mad of The Wicker Man - not the original one, the crazy-bad remake starring Nicolas Cage.  Stamm takes a mockumentary approach to the material, which concerns a con artist preacher (nicely played, with ample amount of humor, by TV vet Patrick Fabian) who performs one last "exorcism" on an isolated farm girl (Ashley Bell).  Is the girl really possessed by the devil?  Is she just psychotic?  For most of its running time, The Last Exorcism does a decent enough job of making the audience question what they're seeing, but the twist ending is ludicrous and abrupt, and leaves the viewer totally unsatisfied.  You'll definitely laugh more (intentional or not) than you will scream with this one, and, in the end, if you're like me - you'll just feel cheated out of your time and money.

 

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The Switch (***)

Another romantic comedy centered around artificial insemination?  I know, it doesn't sound that good on paper, and the ho-hum preview didn't do anything to instill confidence in anybody.  But if there's one truth in Hollywood today, it's this: never underestimate the appeal of a Jason Bateman performance.  Since Arrested Development catapulted him back into the spotlight, he's delivered a series of performances that never fail to impress.  His comic timing and sarcastic line delivery are assets to any movie, particularly this one where he's the lead.  He plays the neurotic Wally, perpetually single best friend to Jennifer Aniston's Kassie, who wants to have a baby.  She goes the sperm donor route, and, in a fit of drunken foolishness, Wally replaces the donor's sperm with his own.  That's the set-up, and most of the film takes place 7 years later, when Kassie moves back to New York and Wally starts to realize he may have too much in common with her 6 year-old son.  Bateman is capably joined by Aniston, who hasn't been this appealing on screen in a while, and the great Jeff Goldblum, stealing every scene in the best friend role.  Yes, the typical romantic comedy story beats are here, but the movie goes about them in a relaxed, unforced manner.  Bateman and Aniston sparkle - you want their characters to get together.  The kid is a bit too precocious, and there's some unfortunate voiceover narration utilized, but, for the most part, The Switch is genial and good-natured, and fairly funny too.  This may not be saying much, but it's the best romantic comedy so far this year.

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  • I have not seen the Last Exorcism, but I am assume it was going to be awful. I did however see Switch. I can bascially agree with you take on it, though I still do not see the appeal in casting Jennifer Aniston. She has the range of Ben Stiller except not funny. Jason Bateman was great, Goldblum kills, he was a great casting choice. Other than that it is kind of just a standard romantic comedy. I mean I know that they aren't trying to rewrite teh genre or anything, so I am not faulting them, but yea thats about it.

    On another note, and I am sure you will blog about this later and I will talk about it again later. Can we officially say that overexposure has started on Betty White? I mean holy crap. I know that is hard to say about an 80 year old but....

  • In reply to movieczar:

    Maybe I'm off my game, but I enjoyed "The Last Exorcism." True, nothing new at all, but I had a good time watching it as a nonsense popcorn thriller with a few good scares and creepy moments.

    Didn't see "The Switch," but maybe I should after reading your review!

  • In reply to MarcusLeshock:

    Thanks for the comment Marcus. Yeah, I read your review and noticed you liked it way more than I did. Seems like you're in line with a good amount of critics.

    There seemed to be a bit too much not-that-funny intentional humor thrown in, and I think it hurt the moments where the movie tried to get tense and scary. Maybe I'm just too jaded after seeing other exorcism movies.

    I hated Blair Witch too and Quarantine, so maybe the handheld horror is not for me. Though, oddly enough, I did enjoy Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield so...

    But then there's that ending. The audience I saw it with groaned, screamed "That's It?!" and then tossed around a bunch of profanities. Nobody was happy leaving that theater. Myself included.

  • In reply to MarcusLeshock:

    (*) seems a bit low for Exorcism given the content of your review. You found it somewhat funny - right? It's gotta be better than a Sarah Jessica Parker movie.

  • In reply to jeffcle:

    Jeff - I would otherwise agree, but the payoff for The Last Exorcism is so egregious, lame, and unsatisfying that it ruins the rest of the movie and renders it worthless. I stick by the one-star, but yes - it is better than most SJP movies. Just slightly.

  • In reply to Hammer:

    Jeff? Who's Jeff? Never heard of him ... not a fan.

  • In reply to MarcusLeshock:

    it has been a cleaver movie review and i do agrees with you most about the movie The Last Exorcism it was the best of thriller drama for many years now and the plot line of the movie was making every one stepping into the footage of it. more and more wise thinking is coming along way in the movie and every one will be delighted to watch it.

    source
    http://blog.80millionmoviesfree.com/in-theaters/watch-the-last-exorcism-online

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