Me & Earl & the Dying Girl

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Vampire Owl :: This is obviously a movie about the Lich Queen.

Vampire Bat :: What? I am pretty much confident that you have got it wrong.

Vampire Owl :: I am talking about the last part of this title.

Vampire Bat :: Dude, the Lich Queen hasn’t been dying for that long; she was always the undead, and it was one of the quickest transformations ever.

Vampire Owl :: Okay, that guess didn’t work that well.

Vampire Bat :: And you can’t even find out the last time Lich Queen was a girl; that was like thousands of years ago.

Vampire Owl :: So, she really belong to the “old is gold” category.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that when this movie premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, there was a standing ovation?

Vampire Owl :: How can I know? I wasn’t there at that time.

Vampire Bat :: Just watch the movie, will you?

[Gets three cups of tea with jackfruit chips].

What is it about? :: Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) goes through the high school without any real friend, and being just okay with every group of people around him. With people around him divided into groups, he just maintains friendly relationships with everyone and manages to go around being kind of invisible. The only one person who is close to being called a friend is Earl (RJ Cyler) with whom he had been making weird short-films parodying various popular movie titles. He has a crush on a girl at the high school, Madison (Katherine C. Hughes). He doesn’t have a high opinion about himself, and wishes to go on unnoticed; but things change when one of the girls at the same high school, Rachel Kushner (Olivia Cooke) is diagnosed with blood cancer.

So what happens next? :: As his parents (Nick Offerman and Connie Britton) force him to go out with her and provide some confidence in this time of need, he decides to just go – his words about him not knowing her enough goes through into deaf ears. Both of them don’t really like the company of each other, but they get along later, and Earl also joins their team. The two decide to make a movie dedicated to her according to a suggestion made by Madison, but falls short of ideas while her disease gets worse very fast and she decides not to fight this situation anymore. Most of the schoolwork just go ignored too. So, what will happen to this doomed friendship? Does Rachel survive, or will she at least have enough time until the movie is made? Will Greg’s relations with others get any better?

The defence of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl :: This one surely feels real and close enough to life, and there are no exaggerations of any moment. Even without such an attempt, this one manages to be a sweet movie close to heart. There is nothing extraordinary being done here in the tale, as everything goes on towards that awaiting end which is emotional as well as satisfying. We become part of this journey, and it is one that is worth traveling – the light-hearted take on the whole thing helps, and we get to see a positive side in almost everything. Well, going to watch this movie, you know what you will be expecting, that is a lot of tears in store, but the movie manages to rise above that with its funny side, and all the laughter there will make the day better. The movie also leave you with something to think about, related to friendship and brotherhood – there is none that is really mismatched.

The claws of flaw :: This is one movie which had potential for more, not only with its emotional side, but also with those funny moments which seem to be rather too less utilized. With each character, and with each moment, you just feel that there was going to be something more, but almost every character other than the three in the title goes a little less used. Most of this movie also remains predictable, as we move towards that finish which brings no big surprise. The use of commentary about happenings won’t help much either; talking about the dying girl not going to die or getting better just for the audience to hear can’t help at all. I haven’t read the book on which it is based, but Me and Earl and the Dying Girl doesn’t make an attempt to create a difference with this material as a whole; it mostly sticks to the safe zone to move you.

Performers of the soul :: Olivia Cooke is the one person who makes this role very much believable here with an amazing performance – she expresses herself as this character so well. I had seen her for the last time in Ouija, and she is surely someone with a lot of potential, as we watch the cute, talented actress here making the best use of this opportunity. Thomas Mann and RJ Cyler makes a nice team here too; the former cent percent reminding us of someone we have known at some point of time, and the love for movies that these people show will also make sure that someone else we know gets reflected there. The former’s character with his ability to do distant friendships will be one of the best reflections of some people who keep strange and different ideas about friendships, keeping everyone as friends just for the sake of doing so.

How it finishes :: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is that particular movie that makes one feel as one with the protagonists. There is nothing outside the normal world here, as there are many things to which we can relate to. There will be moments when this one will remind you of the Shailene Woodley starrer The Fault in Our Stars, but Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is no romantic flick, as the focus remains on friendship throughout its time. It is that kind of a movie that takes us through the transformation that the protagonist has, and we get so close to the characters there, and in the end, we are part of that world in which enough has been discovered, and more than that needs to be found out later. There is no real “dying” as far as trying to make things better is concerned, right?

Release date: 12th June 2015
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Starring: Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, RJ Cyler, Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal, Connie Britton, Katherine C. Hughes, Chelsea T. Zhang, Natalie Marchelletta, Matt Bennett, Bobb’e J. Thompson, Karriem Sami, Marco Zappala, Etta Cox, Masam Holden, Kaza Marie Ayersman, Cheryl Kline, Joan Augustin, Mark Granatire, Kayana White, Linda Kanyarusoke, Drew Palajsa, Elly Silberstein, Nicole Tubbs

meandearlandthedyinggirl

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ouija

ouija (3)

Vampire Owl :: Halloween and no horror. Never thought that such a day will come in this century.

Vampire Bat :: There is horror. We can watch Ouija.

Vampire Owl :: Really? The Vampire Panda told me that it was a bad movie and critics gave bloody low ratings to it.

Vampire Bat :: Lets not trust the critics on a horror movie. Besides, that panda is not a vampire. He is just the Kungfu Panda on disguise attempting to sell his noodles and action figures among vampires.

Vampire Owl :: I shall deal with him later. For now, I can surely use a summoned spirit. According to the latest version of the Book of the Dead, the Undead and the Brain dead, they are very useful creatures. We need to get an Ouija Board.

Vampire Bat :: Do you realize that you already create enough problems for yourself?

Vampire Owl :: Absolutely yes. See, I am an evil entity. I am supposed to create problems for the world which includes myself.

Vampire Bat :: You should have a dosa. You turn evil when you need it.

Vampire Owl :: No. I am a dangerous owl. I need to keep it that way.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, dangerous to yourself.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The protagonist Laine Morris (Olivia Cooke) is searching for answers as she hopes that she could have done something for her best friend Debbie Galardi (Shelley Hennig) who had committed suicide, and she laments the fact that she was the last one to talk to her and yet couldn’t stop her from doing such an act. As she finds an Ouija board in her house, along with her sister Sarah (Ana Coto) and other friends of Debbie, Pete (Douglas Smith), Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), and Isabelle (Bianca A. Santos) decides to try and contact their recently deceased friend. Soon, they contact a spirit which addresses them as friends, but what they are not aware of is that Debbie already had made a connection to the other world which lead to her death, and they understands that more than one entity is now free. The friends realize that they will just be killed one after the other and there will be no stopping the terror. A relative to the dead people returning as spirits, Paulina (Lin Shaye) who resides in a mental asylum seems to be the key to stopping the evil, but will it work?

The defence of Ouija :: The name would be enough to draw people to the movie, and the Ouija board has always been the centre of curiosity for a lot of people for a good amount of time. We have a lot of curious cats among us, don’t we? This movie banks in the same with the board at the centre, throws the usual stuff at us again and again, and there are some scares as one would expect from it. The sewn mouths are not something new, but they surely work here especially according to the circumstance, and the twist, even if small is a working one. There are possessions, suicides, murders, sewn mouths, blank eyes, with some scares here and there, and a creepy environment of the house. The sound effects are very good and the visual horror has its moments. It is quite a success as a haunted house movie, with the board being found from the home where evil has happened sometime ago. Some moments near the end are good, even as their failure to end the movie with the same surprises me.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t try anything new at all. Its biggest asset is that one board, but the flick fails to capitalize on the same. There is not much about that one big thing that it could have used to its effectiveness, and instead the same becomes only the means to what is to come next. It only does the job of any other possessed item which could gain the attention of the spirits. The movie should have stuck to its title, explaining more about the board and how things come to this dimension in relation to the same. But it tries to make the movie go on in the usual pattern often forgetting that the movie is about the board, with the existence of a house where something terrible did happen a long time ago and there is a spirit waiting to possess or murder people. Even a good number of scares are not that effective, but there are a few which work nicely. The plot and the narrative could have had some more attention to make the whole thing better.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has a rather cute lead at the top, and the performances are overall decent. Olivia Cooke plays the protagonist here, the lady who is hopelessly trying to connect to her dead best friend, and she has indeed played this role with such expressions of fear and uncertainty which makes this character so much believable here. Her cuteness helps the cause a lot, and she is a perfect one for this role which has more hopelessness and desperation which she could nicely reflect on her face. You will instantly like her, that is for sure. The next one is Shelley Hennig, and even as she dies early, has her moments too, and is not done even with that separation of the soul. She adds to the beauty of the cast and does enough, while the rest of the cast manages to hold on, but not with anything special. Meanwhile, Lin Shaye is here too, and she is once again impressive in another horror movie – catches our attention.

Soul exploration :: In its search for the spirits within the Ouija board and also outside it, the movie losses its soul. It can’t realize what it has in its soul, whether it is to focus on the board or the haunted house and its scary past. When we finally decide that it is on the latter, then comes the board again as if it is Count Dracula who wants to be part of everything vampiric. The spirit also works a lot like the Final Desination series, planning to just kill them all in freaky ways, even as it is not that heartless to make things too violent. Then you realize that Ouija is a mixture which is created to make it a safe bet, and it adds so many things to itself and makes those factors work in parts even as in totality, there is some mess. There is the lack of soul to hold it together, and it is the same reason why we are unable to bring much of it back home – even Annabelle living in the shadows of The Conjuring had more for us. Ouija boards can inspire better horror movies, and this one has the spirits not that powerful.

How it finishes :: The conclusion is still that even with its list of flaws, Ouija is your movie of the Halloween, even as Annabelle does exist at selected theatres with less number of shows. It will be the choice of the Halloween enthusiasts as Ouija board is not something that is not tried that much, and there are not other big Hollywood entertainers released this weekend. I have successfully kept my distance from Bollywood since Diwali as I had sensed certain danger. Meanwhile, I wish all the followers of this blog and the readers of this post a very Happy Halloween, and the November first is also the birthday of the Indian state of Kerala, the occasion known as Kerala Piravi, so I wish all my fellow Keralites a Happy Kerala Piravi too. For more details about the same, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerala_Piravi and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerala. Happy Birthday, Kerala 🙂

Release date: 31st October 2014 (India); 24th October 2014 (USA)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Stiles White
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Shelley Hennig, Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith, Bianca A. Santos, Ana Coto, Matthew Settle, Lin Shaye, Vivis Colombetti, Robyn Lively, Bill Watterson, Sierra Heuermann

ouija

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.