This week on the show we struggle to find out just exactly what Oculus means. Not the movie, the word. It gets a little confusing since, like a Led Zeppelin song, they never actually use the title of the movie within the film itself.
Also, we set a land speed record for branching off on a tangent, we learn that Tom has a man-crush on Seth Rogen and we defend the oeuvre of Kevin Smith.
All this plus a box office report from Kevin and video recovery from Dan.
It’s Reel Spoilers #40: Oculus.
You’ve been warned.
The National Football League rules America. It’s the most popular sport in the United States. Grown men don the jersey of their favorite team every Sunday for 16 or more weeks, in hopes of them reaching the Super Bowl. While Kevin Costner’s latest film, Draft Day, isn’t the Super Bowl of sports movies, it’s pretty damn good.
Costner plays Sonny Weaver Jr., general manager of the Cleveland Browns. Weaver is a month removed from the death of his father, who was a legendary coach of the Browns. To make matters worse, Brown’s mother, played to perfection by Ellen Burstyn, resents the fact that Weaver had to fire his father, in a move that was best for the team. Costner’s romantic interest in the film is played by Jennifer Garner, a numbers crunching, front office executive for the Browns. Weaver must not only deal with his mother’s issues, but the issues of having the #1 draft pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. His Browns are on the clock and it’s a choice that will not only decide the fate of a team, but the city of Cleveland, as well as Weaver’s future as general manager.
I’m a sucker for a good mind-bender of a movie, and Oculus delivered in that department. Mike Flanagan’s low-budget horror film keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, despite a bit of a slow start.
The story centers around Tim (Brenton Thwaites) and Kaylie (Karen Gillan), two siblings who were witness to some pretty horrible actions by their father onto their mother 11 years earlier. It all started when their father put a mirror in his office. As the film goes on, we find out that the mirror has quite the horrid past, and can play some pretty tricky mind games on the owners of it. Tim was convicted as a child of killing his father and sent to a mental institution. Now 21 and cured, Tim is released and met by Kaylie, who has some plans up her sleeve to destroy the mirror that destroyed her family more than a decade earlier. What ensues is mind bending images, frightening images, and a butt load of suspense.
While watching the film, I found myself thinking back to Insidious, which was a big hit a few years back. Both films had a low-budget, relatively unknown cast, a relatively unknown director, and an original premise. Insidious worked so well that it spawned a sequel. While it’s unknown if Oculus will get the green light for a sequel, the door is definitely left open for one.
Costner, whose film career has spanned five different decades, has permanently endeared himself in the hearts of baseball fans everywhere with his performances in Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, and For Love of the Game. He played a golfer in Tin Cup. Now, after helping save the world earlier this year in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and 3 Days to Kill, Costner’s going back to the sports world into uncharted territory (for him, anyway): football.
Now, I’ll admit I’m probably a bit biased when it comes to sports films. I grew up rooting for the Cardinals and Blues, and when the Rams moved to town, I adopted them as my football team. I’ve rooted for SLU and Mizzou sports for as long as I can remember. So it bothers me a bit when people quickly dismiss sports films, claiming either the topic is trivial to them or the ending is predictable.
And their points aren’t entirely invalid. Sports films tend to follow a particular formula, and they’re not going to be interesting to everyone. Draft Day tries to throw twists and surprises into the story, but for the most part, it’s generally predictable. Fortunately, though, it still works, and it works well.
Football season’s over, right?
Tell that to the members of the St. Louis Rams who attended Tuesday night’s screening of the film Draft Day. Starring Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, and Denis Leary, the film is scheduled for release Friday.
Hoping to stir up some excitement for the actual NFL draft (May 8-10) as well as the upcoming season, several players on the Rams roster (and some cheerleaders, much to the delight of the males in the audience) came out to the Chesterfield Galaxy theater and mingled with season ticket holders, signing autographs and taking pictures with the fans.