In a Lonely Place Review

It’s time for another sad “classic” that doesn’t end up aging well at all. The film definitely leaves you in a lonely place and you have to wonder if the film’s solid reputation is only fleeting at best. The characters once again aren’t all that likable and the film ends up dragging on for quite a while. Well, I suppose that the title is fitting, but that’s the only compliment that I can ultimately give the film. It fails at everything else.

Dixon is a guy who has a very bad reputation of losing his temper and starting trouble. His movie scripts have also not done very well in a while since he tends to have writer’s block and refuses to make any more remakes. One day, a girl he invited home to read a manuscript is murdered on the way home. He is placed under suspicion due to how uncaring he is and the suspicious circumstances surrounding her murder. Meanwhile, Dixon’s neighbor, Laurel is brought in and the two very suddenly get attracted to each other. Unfortunately, Laurel may have picked the wrong man as Dixon seems to get further and further gone with each passing day.

Let’s start off with the fact that none of the characters here are likable. Dixon is obsessed with murder to the point where he doesn’t mind cracking a few jokes upon learning that the girl was murdered. He doesn’t really care even though it’s indirectly his fault for inviting her to his home. I say indirectly because you can’t totally blame him there and she seemed to be in a relationship with a pretty crooked fellow. This result may have happened either way. You’re supposed to sympathize with Dixon, but he’s too far gone. He makes no real attempt to control his anger and nearly murders a guy for simply shooting off an insult. The fact is, he would have murdered the guy had Laurel not stopped him. He injures his manager as well and then tries to strangle Laurel until the phone stops him. That’s two murders that he would have committed had he not been stopped.

As I said, Dixon is way too far gone to be even remotely likable. There’s no way a positive relationship could have ever occurred if he doesn’t respect Laurel enough not to force her into things. Even the marriage proposal is only accepted because of the very implied threat had Laurel not accepted. Laurel isn’t great either. Refusing in the beginning would have been the safest choice, but why did she get involved in the first place? She went from being a rather cold individual who claimed not to rush into things only to get serious about the relationship the very next day. It was a very fast turnaround and the romance really made no sense from the get go.

Now, we’ve also got the cop who seems to be a friend of Dixon’s although just barely. He invites Dixon over for the guy to help explain the murder. Dixon is fascinated with murders and writes about them a lot so he’s sure to be an expert. Sure enough, Dixon figures it out and has the cop use the murder method on his wife as part of a demonstration. All right, there’s nothing bad about that as it’s all pretend right? Wrong, the cop gets so much into it that he starts to seriously squeeze until his wife lets him know that it’s hurting. Even then it takes the cop a few moments to notice before he stopped. Once again, we’ve entered crazy town. You’re not seriously tell me to consider the fact that the murder is so interesting that you would start to seriously use the method on your wife for even an instance right? I mean, the wall between fake and real is quite large and anyone with a speck of common sense would not apply the squeeze at all past safety limits. The cop was doomed from there.

Dixon’s manager wasn’t bad even if he probably shouldn’t have put up with this abuse for so long. He’s just being a good friend so I don’t hold that against him. He’s probably the best character by default although he really shouldn’t encourage Laurel so much since it’s all right to put yourself in a dangerous position, but never anyone else. That’s where you’ve got to draw the line.

As a result, the film is just not enjoyable in the slightest. That’s what happens when a film has a bad plot or commits any of the big 3 errors. (excessive violence, fanservice, animal violence) There are two kinds of bad films by the way. Ones that are simply hard to watch like this one and those that you can enjoy watching in the moment while recognizing their flaws and placing it as a bad movie. I’ll give you all an example of this.

Pixels also got a 1 like this movie. The big difference is that the film was still a lot of fun. I had to stifle a laugh many times, there were great action scenes, and the characters could be likable. Why was it terrible? Well, there were a lot of inappropriate jokes and terrible writing. That may not sound like enough to give the film a 1, but trust me…it was. When the writing is overloaded with those kind of jokes you can bet that I’ll give the film a terrible review. It’s a shame because the film could have been good with so many solid moments, but that’s how it goes. Regardless, I’ll take that kind of film any day over one like this. Pitch Perfect, Bring It On, Tower Heist (to a lesser extent), etc are examples of films like this. I don’t like them and I certainly don’t plan on watching them again, but if I had to choose between them or films like this one, (Sucker Punch, In A Lonely Place, Haunting in Connecticut, Amityville Horror, etc) I would definitely go with the former.

That’s because films are made for you to have fun. I still say that is the purpose of all forms of media. If you’re not even having any fun in the movie and it’s just dragging on and on with content that is not enjoyable, then it has failed. For films that are not enjoyable intentionally, then it is a failed film right from the start. Criterion seems to like approving films like this, which is definitely regrettable. They’ve had some good films in the past, but it seems to be rare.

Overall, I definitely do not recommend In A Lonely Place. It’s not a fun film and it’s probably the first Bogart title that I really did not like. It’s a shame since he typically plays likable characters. This may have come out before Godzilla, but the writing is surprisingly not engaging mainly due to the plot. Instead of checking this film out, look up some classic Hitchcock titles that will engross you in their plots or look for Superman and the Mole Men. A true classic that can appeal to all film fans with its good humor and solid climax.

Overall 1/10

The Manchurian Candidate Review

Considering a certain event in the new Captain America series and the general plot of the Civil War film, it’s a good time to look at this film. Unfortunately, it was quite terrible so don’t go in expecting me to tell you how great it all was. It’s a very sad film where the characters continue to make mistake after mistake. The brainwashing is advanced enough that it completely clobbers a whole group of people and America doesn’t realize how many undercover fighters are around. Can the country stop these guys before it is too late…or is it already too late!?

Marco was with a platoon behind enemy lines. Unfortunately, his group was captured and brainwashed by the Soviets and forced to murder each other. One member of their group was turned into a sleeper agent (Raymond) while the others were allowed to return to the country. Why weren’t they all turned into sleeper agents? Who knows! Anyway, Marco starts having odd dreams and realizes that something is not right. He starts to uncover the truth behind Raymond, but what can he do about it. Few believe him and even fewer have enough power to do anything about this. Marco’s going to have to go with his gut instincts here, but it may not be enough.

Typically, you’d think that the film would try to make Raymond likable so we’d actually be sympathetic to his plight right? Well, this film decides to take the opposite approach and makes him a guy who is not likable in the slightest. This is why Marco suspects that something is up since the brainwashing forces every member of his platoon to like the guy. Even once Marco finds out that playing cards are the key to stopping Raymond, he decides to leave the agent alone for one more night with his fiance. Big mistake.

As a result of Marco’s blunder, Raymond destroys her along with her father and claims many more innocent victims along the way. He even gets one last murder as the film ends because nobody was fast enough to stop him. One subplot that is also grating from the start is that he and his mother don’t get along at all. This leads to a series of insults and sob stories as we find out that she is the one controlling him. Raymond can only watch as she takes out the playing cards and brainwashes him once again. No worries, he is partially cured by the end so he remembers enough to take her down, but naturally he doesn’t take any prisoners.

Not that this film needed any more subplots to destroy the momentum, but after a “Miller Time” moment (Downing a lot of beers) Raymond remembers an event from the past. He met a girl and instantly they fell in love, but his mother warned him to get away from her and he made sure to listen. The flashback felt like it just kept on going for ages and ages. It barely even mattered in the end and just added two more individuals for Raymond to murder in the end. Civil War definitely handled the concept better, but I suppose that this goes without saying. Even the fight scene between Marco and the guy who worked for Raymond wasn’t any fun, but I suppose that I should be grateful to have a fight scene at all.

The bottom line is that this film just wasn’t any fun in the end. My films need to at least have some entertaining aspect to them, but there was none of that to be found here. I felt bad for everyone that Raymond destroyed, but not quite as much for him. The police should have had the election guarded a lot better, especially considering that Marco knew that Raymond might try something. Letting him go on his own was definitely not their best strategy. Of course, they did foil the Soviet plan, but apparently there are many more of them hiding in the country already. The film doesn’t end with a whole lot of hope for the Americans, but at least we know that they won in the end. I tried to think of a silver lining here, but I really can’t. This is the kind of film that will have you staring at the clock on the wall for its entire duration. There are no positives or saving graces here. I suppose you could at least make the argument that it could have been worse though.

Overall, The Manchurian Candidate is another critically acclaimed film that ends up falling completely flat. None of the characters are likable and most of them are only introduced so they can be destroyed later on. The brainwashing was way too complete and unbreakable. Especially since it has already been years that have passed, I find it hard to believe that it would be so effective. Just looking at a deck of cards is basically enough to stop Raymond. The whole thing was just too easy for the Soviets from start to finish. I don’t really blame the government for not believing Marco since this is all a rather unbelievable story, but it didn’t make his job any easier. I definitely do not recommend this film so watch it at your own peril.

Overall 0/10