Ep. 136 – Fantastic Fest reviews of The Death of Dick Long and In the Shadow of the Moon, and we play the movie-lovers’ card game Cinephile

September 29, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody reviews a few films leftover from his time at Fantastic Fest, The Death of Dick Long and In the Shadow of the Moon, and then Cody and Jerrod play a few rounds of the new movie-lovers’ card game Cinephile.

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The Space Between Us

February 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, Gary Oldman
Directed by: Peter Chelsom (“Hector and the Search for Happiness”)
Written by: Allen Loeb (“Collateral Beauty”)

In space, no one can hear you scream—or let out a monstrous yawn. Such is the case in “The Space Between Us,” a tepid young-adult sci-fi romance that will likely cater to the same tween crowd who eat up tear-jerkers adapted from Nicholas Spark novels and think the dude they go to their homecoming dance with sophomore year will no doubt be the future father of their children.

That might be enough to placate some less discerning audiences, but “Space” contains so many eye rolling-worthy moments, even those starry-eyed high school girls might find it hard to contain their frustration over just how inauthentic the narrative is.

Asa Butterfield (“Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”) stars as Gardner Elliott, an intelligent young man whose astronaut mother died giving birth to him on Mars. As the youngest inhabitant (and only teenager) on the Red Planet, Gardner’s only real connection to people his age are the daily video chats he has with Tulsa (Britt Robertson), an Earth girl who doesn’t know she’s communicating with a Martian and, like Gardner, is alone in her respected world.

Although it is impossible for scientists (Gary Oldman hamming it up; Carla Gugino phoning it in) to allow Gardner to travel to Earth and experience life because of his weak bone density (huh?), screenwriter Allen Loeb (“Collateral Beauty”) seems to exclaim, “extraterrestrial health concerns be damned!” and figures out a way to drop an absurd plot point to get him there to meet Tulsa and go on a wild goose chase in search of Gardner’s estranged father (because without said absurd plot point, there wouldn’t be a movie, of course).

From there, it’s off to the races as scientists do everything they can to bring Gardner home before the Earth’s atmosphere destroys him and before he can find the truth about his past. Awkwardly directed by Peter Chelsom (“Hector and the Search for Happiness”), “Space” never finds its voice or decides what kind of movie it was to be. It is obvious Chelsom and Loeb have grand aspirations (the “E.T.” allusions are laughable), but if tapping into some kind of Steven Spielberg magic was their ultimate end game, they missed it by a few million light years.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

July 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman
Directed by: Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield,” “Let Me In”)
Written by: Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) and Mark Bombeck (“The Wolverine”)

The summer blockbuster season can feel like a chore sometimes. Mega-budget special effects extravaganzas heavy on action but light on compelling characters and meaningful story dominate theaters. I’m not complaining, mind you, because my love of movies in the summertime has been with me since childhood, along with all the ancillary merchandise like licensed fast food cups and original motion picture soundtracks. When the weather outside is hot, the movies inside often feel like manufactured products rather than works of art. We’ve come to be entertained rather than engaged, and it’s a position we’ve all agreed upon. Occasionally, though, the stars will align and one of those popcorn franchise films will feature wall-to-wall special effects as well as a resonant, edge-of-your-seat storyline with a depth of character that leaves you utterly amazed. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is one of those movies.

Set a decade after the events in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” humanity is hanging on by a thread after being wiped out by the simian flu seen spreading the globe as the first prequel wrapped up. Huddled up in a compound in San Francisco, a small group of humans led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) are desperate to get power restored to their small section of the city. The mission is dangerous, however, because repairing the hydroelectric dam requires them to venture deep into territory held by hyper intelligent chimpanzee Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his tribe of apes, most of whom have long-standing grudges against humanity.

While the 2011 film – a prequel to the Charlton Heston-starring 1968 sci-fi classic “Planet of the Apes”- suffered from the occasional subpar special effect and a climactic battle that required all humans involved to suddenly become stupid and forget how firearms worked, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is tightly-plotted and a miracle of modern special effects from start to finish. Moviegoers old enough to remember the days of miniatures and men in costumes bemoan the glut of computer-generated effects in current films, but what they’re really complaining about is bad CGI. “Dawn” is a master class in how to do special effects right, from the contemplative opening close-up of Caesar’s how-is-this-not-a-real-chimp? face to the chaotic clashes between man and ape featuring automatic rifles and armored tanks. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” isn’t just a great summer sci-fi movie, it’s a great movie, period.

RoboCop

February 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton
Directed by: Jose Padilha (“Elite Squad”)
Written by: Joshua Zetumer (debut)

Question: is it fair to judge a remake/reboot by how it compares to the original film? After all, with the near-instant availability of pretty much every movie ever made via streaming or download, its easier than ever to to tick off essential film boxes on your personal movie watching checklist. Remakes don’t exist in a vacuum, especially remakes of beloved modern classics. If we’re being honest, remakes are at least partly banking on the movie-going public having at least a passing knowledge of the original film.

Answer: yeah, absolutely. And when it comes to the new remake of “RoboCop,” the comparison (probably not surprisingly) isn’t favorable.

Like the gory 1987 sci-fi satire, the modern “RoboCop” centers on Detroit cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman). As an undercover cop, Murphy and his partner Lewis (Michael K. Williams) are made by a drug lord (Patrick Garrow) they’ve been investigating. After a shootout in a restaurant leaves Lewis hospitalized, the drug lord’s goons go after Murphy by detonating a car bomb in front of his home leaving Murphy comatose and paralyzed.

Meanwhile OmniCorp, a giant corporation responsible for producing robotic drones that keep the peace in war-torn Middle Eastern countries, desperately desires to bring its killbots to U.S. soil. Federal law prohibits robots from conducting law enforcement, however, due to the fact that the ‘bots aren’t capable of human decision-making, a law that is a frequent target of rage for outspoken talk show host Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson). The promise of raking in billions of dollars in the American market leads CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) to a revelation: put a man inside a machine. After convincing Murphy’s wife (Abbie Cornish) the only way to save her dying husband is to hand him over to OmniCorp’s Dr. Norton (Gary Oldman), RoboCop is born.

Whereas director Paul Verhoeven’s late-’80s “RoboCop” relished in satirizing hyper violence and corporate greed, Brazilian director Jose Padihla’s PG-13 “RoboCop” sets its sights on the ethical dilemma of drone warfare, only with a muddier, more somber tone. The crux of the too-long subplot about the repeal of legislation banning robot cops – what is this, “The Phantom Menace?”- deals with the notion that a man should be the one pulling the trigger seems to ignore the fact that, well, men pull the triggers on robot drone strikes today. The movie also takes too long to get to the RoboCopping, dispensing buckets of backstory that ultimately doesn’t pay off, taking nearly a full hour to show off Murphy’s new cybernetic construction we all came to see.

Speaking of Murphy, the remake lets him keep his humanity from his initial boot up as RoboCop, a decision that significantly blunts the character’s arc. Instead of memory wipes, this Alex Murphy is less of a soulless automaton and instead just gets hyper-focused and emotionless when his dopamine levels are dialed down.

And, in what is perhaps the film’s worst offense, Samuel L. Jackson’s gets to utter his trademark phrase—motherfucker—only to have it bleeped. Which, when you think about it, sums up the mistakes of a straight-faced, PG-13 remake of “RoboCop” better than anything else.

The Dark Knight Rises

July 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy
Directed by: Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight”)
Written by: Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight”) and Jonathan Nolan (“The Dark Knight”)

In full scope, “The Dark Knight Rises,” the third and final installment of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, feels epic. From its majestic production value to its incredible IMAX-worthy set pieces, Gotham City has never looked so grandiose. Look beyond the technical and artistic achievements of this inevitable summer blockbuster and there are flaws. Despite the narrative’s overall maturation over the last seven years, Nolan has lost sight of just how 2005’s “Batman Begins” and 2008’s “The Dark Knight” successfully redefined the comic-book movie through intelligent design. Here, the bloated 165-minute superhero marathon is frustrating, especially with a script embracing a diluted story about the current financial crisis instead of actually entertaining moviegoers.

Picking up eight years after the last film ended, billionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has gone into exile after the death of Harvey Dent. Wayne’s retirement, however, is only temporary and Batman reemerges when a hulky mercenary known as Bane (Tom Hardy) marches into Gotham with plans to sever the city’s economic lifeline, thus causing civil unrest. As Bane, Hardy joins the cast with big clown shoes to fill after Heath Ledger won an Oscar posthumously for his role as the rageful Joker. Sadly, Bane is better suited for a pro-wrestling ring than as a substantial villain with real purpose. New to the franchise are Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman, although the name never comes up), a saucy jewel thief who fights alongside the caped crusader, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays rookie cop John Blake, the most interesting character of the DC Comics lot.

Where the Batman franchise goes post-Nolan remains to be seen, but whoever takes the reigns has a tough act to follow — even if this final chapter doesn’t necessarily reach its full potential.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

January 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson (“Let the Right One In”)
Written by: Bridget O’Connor (“Sixty Six”) and Peter Straughan (“The Men Who Stare at Goats”)

Say the words “British spy” and most moviegoers would probably picture any one of the James Bond incarnations over the last 50 years performing death-defying stunts far above the ground. Whether it’s Pierce Brosnan bungee jumping from a dam in “GoldenEye,” Roger Moore skiing off the side of the Alps in “The Spy Who Loved Me,” or Daniel Craig leaping from construction cranes in “Casino Royale,” Brit and secret agents usually go hand in hand with exaggerated entertainment.

As much as an author like Ian Fleming has engrossed fans of the spy genre with feats of flight in his Bond series, author John le Carré has captured the same interest in a more atmospheric approach with his novels centered on British intelligence officer George Smiley. Think of Smiley as the anti-Bond. In fact, the only real similarity between the two is that Smiley is about as dry as the martinis 007 frequently orders. His subtleness is evident in the most recent of le Carré’s adaptations, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” a complex and sometimes confusing Cold War thriller that might actually require a few viewings to puzzle together all of the narrative’s intricacies.

Still, if you’re familiar with any of le Carré’s work or their cinematic counterparts (search out “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” now), his slow-boiling and meticulous storytelling is what makes his voice in the genre so distinct. Considered by many as one of the greatest British writers of espionage fiction in the 20th century, le Carré’s novels demand attention and refuse to provide easy avenues to maneuver between aggravating plot points. The sentiment couldn’t be truer than with “Tinker Tailor.” Adapting le Carre’s 1974 book (the first of what is considered “The Karla Trilogy” and one of seven works featuring the character Smiley), screenwriters Bridget O’Connor (“Sixty Six”) and Peter Straughan (“The Men Who Stare at Goats”) attempt to simplify the story without sacrificing the elaborate details that make the mystery so intriguing to solve in the first place. To some extent they’re able to play their version of the spy game (noted here as a kind of metaphorical chess board) without knocking over too many pieces.

The featured rook of this game of high-stakes chess is actor Gary Oldman (“The Dark Knight”) who plays Smiley, a retired agent of the Secret Intelligence Service (also known as “The Circus”) who is asked to covertly return to duty to expose one of his former colleagues as a Russian-planted mole rooting around at the highest levels of the SIS. Possible double agents include Bill Haydon (Colin Firth), Percy Alleline (Toby Jones), Toby Esterhase (David Dencik), and Roy Bland (Ciarán Hinds). Also in the already-crowded mix is Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong), another SIS agent sent to retrieve the identity of the mole by the head of British intelligence (John Hurt), rogue agent and whistleblower Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy), and Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), Smiley’s inside man delegated to sift through file cabinets when no one’s watching.

Directed by Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson (“Let the Right One In”), “Tinker Tailor” is far from the sprawling BBC miniseries released back in 1979 starring Oscar winner Alec Guinness (“The Bridge on the River Kwai”). Clocked at a very reasonable 127 minutes, Alfredson’s version (his first English-language film) is most satisfying when we witness – through flashbacks – the evolution of a once powerful foreign intelligence agency into the equivalent of a whispery sewing circle. The contrast between old guard and new guard principles is a frightening look at how corruption is able to snake its way into even the most secured venues. The emotional aspects of these events do tend to have an impersonal bitterness to them, but it’s a fine complement to the bleak Cold War-inspired world Alfredson has set his players in. The emphasis on the grim atmosphere is made even more significant through the technical aspects of the film. Credit production designer Maria Djurkovic (“The Hours”) and cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema (“The Fighter”) for turning 1970s London into a place even the sleaziest spies wouldn’t want to wander.

Red Riding Hood

March 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Shiloh Fernandez
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight”)
Written by: David Johnson (“Orphan”)

No matter what version you’ve heard, when it comes to traditional folklore and fairytales, there isn’t one that comes with more thematic baggage than “Little Red Riding Hood.” Whether as a parable on a young girl’s sexuality or simply a cautionary tale for kids about the dangers of wandering off the beaten path, most written adaptations over the last 300 years tend to follow the same narrative pattern before offering some type of intrinsic morale.

In “Red Riding Hood,” director Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight”) communicates none of the above, nor does she pretend to have the least bit of interest in capturing any of the enchantment, eeriness or menacing quality of the original fable. Instead, Hardwicke is out to tap into the 13-18-year-old tween demographic who funds these gothic soap operas with their babysitting money. “The Twilight Saga” might shamelessly placate the horror/fantasy world, but at least Stephenie Meyer’s vamps and wolfboys brood vehemently. In the passionless “Red Riding Hood,” you’re lucky to get a blank stare and whimper.

Set in the medieval, snow-covered village of Daggerhorn (fortunately not the most optimal weather conditions to show off werewolf abs), a bloodthirsty beast has killed a human after 20 years of feasting only on the livestock appetizers he is served. Amanda Seyfried (“Letters to Juliet”) plays Valerie, a pretty little thing caught in a love triangle with a poor woodsman (Shiloh Fernandez) and a well-to-do blacksmith (Max Irons). Paranoia sweeps across the village when werewolf hunter Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) rides in and deems everyone a suspect, including creepy, old grandma (Julie Christie).

Unintentionally hilarious (the “what big eyes you have” scene begs for ridicule especially), “Red Riding Hood” piles on the dreadful dialogue and unconvincing romance like salad-bar fixings. The only way it could have possibly been hokier is if the climax actually featured a computer-generated wolf dressed in granny’s nightie knitting a doily.

The Book of Eli

January 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis
Directed by: Albert Hughes (“From Hell”) and Allen Hughes (“From Hell”)
Written by: Gary Whitta (debut)

In comparison to other films that feature lone travelers living in a post-apocalyptic world (“Mad Max,” “Children of Men,” “The Road”), “The Book of Eli” would be the end-of-days-movie-of-the-week. It spouts off religious banter as if it was poetic dialogue and relies on a thoughtless narrative and plot twist, which does nothing to tie up any loose ends.

Oscar winner Denzel Washington (“Training Day”) takes the lead as Eli, a road warrior-type who is traveling west on the desolate highways through a world destroyed by some type of nuclear war 30 years prior. In his backpack he carries the last-known Bible, a book he has kept safe from anyone who tries to take it from him. A machete and shotgun get the point across to the thieves and cannibals who try and make trouble for the isolated journeyman.

But trouble has a way of finding Eli no matter how many limbs he hacks off would-be agitators. When he strolls into a tumbledown town as cool as a cowboy on horseback, Eli is confronted by Carnegie (Gary Oldman), the leader of a renegade gang who has been sending his men for years to search for a copy of the Bible. He believes possessing the last Good Book on earth will give him limitless power and help him conquer the rest of humanity as an all-knowing messiah. “It’s not a book, it’s a weapon,” Carnegie gripes to his henchmen.

What he does not count on, however, is Eli’s stubbornness and refusal to give up his prized possession. Tracking him on the road when he escapes the town (not to mention taking along a pretty sidekick played by Mila Kunis of “Max Payne” and TV’s “That 70s Show”), Carnegie and his band of greasy-haired thugs will stop at nothing to get the faith-based text.

Directed by Albert and Allen Hughes, the brotherly duo who gave audiences 1993’s “Menace II Society” and 1994’s “Dead Presidents” before taking a 9-year hiatus from filmmaking after the dismal Jack the Ripper-inspired “From Hell” of 2001, there’s not much of a defense the Hugheses can give for their decision to stand behind this work. While there are some well-choreographed scenes, “The Book of Eli” lacks any common sense with a script penned by first-time screenwriter Gary Whitta. What Washington saw in this script is beyond comprehension. This is the type of role that someone like Vin Diesel was made for – a kind of second-rate addition to his “Chronicles of Riddick” series.

God may be all-forgiving, but for The Hughes Brothers and Washington, it’s going to take a little more time to get over this one.

Planet 51

November 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Justin Long, Jessica Biel
Directed by: Jorge Blanco (debut), Javier Abad (debut), Marcos Martinez (debut)
Written by: Joe Stillman (“Shrek”)

There’s literally been an alien invasion this year at the movies. From the entertaining extraterrestrials of “Star Trek” and “District 9” to the less than stellar offerings of the animated “Aliens in the Attic” and the thriller “The Fourth Kind,” life forms from galaxies beyond have taken over the cinema.

With the new animated film “Planet 51,” audiences are bound to go into alien overload. The excess of little green people isn’t the problem, however. Instead, it’s Oscar-nominated screenwriter Joe Stillman (“Shrek”) who doesn’t know when to let up on other sci-fi references. It makes another alien encounter feel like a worn-out welcome.

Humans and aliens trade roles in “Planet 51” when astronaut Chuck Baker (Dwayne Johnson) lands on a planet inhabited by anatomically incorrect creatures living in what is reminiscent of small-town America in the 1950s. As much as Chuck is scared of them, he is actually the one that has “invaded” their planet. With a much-anticipated movie about alien invasions about to hit theaters, the aliens go into full panic mode when they find out something from another world has made contact with them.

Desperate to get back to his abandoned spacecraft, which he parks in the middle of a suburban alien neighborhood, Chuck puts all his trust in Lem (Justin Long), a typical high school dweeb and aspiring astronomer who can never muster up enough courage to ask the alien of his dreams Neera (Jessica Biel) out on a date. Lem takes on the responsibility of getting Chuck safely back to his ship before General Grawl (Gary Oldman) and his army captures him. There’s also a mad scientist, Professor Kipple (John Cleese), who wants to dissect his brain.

While most of the slapstick humor will sit well with younger kids, “Planet 51” is far too imitative to give it a pass. Sure, it’s always fun to see a couple of really nifty movie references sprinkled into the story at just the right times, but when Stillman delivers them in droves, it’s hard to tell where his admiration for the sci-fi genre ends and unoriginality begins. From “E.T.” to “Alien” to “Star Wars,” no sci-fi film of the last 30 years is left unturned. Even a joke about the 1983 Oscar-winning film “The Right Stuff” gets overused so much, it becomes trite and obvious.

In a year where animated films are just as abundant as alien ones, “Planet 51” floats aimlessly in the cinematic solar system. It might be harmless enough for the most nonjudgmental of tikes, but everyone else will only be reminded of movies that have pushed the genre to the outer limits instead of simply rehashing the past.

A Christmas Carol

November 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis (“The Polar Express”)
Written by: Robert Zemeckis (“The Polar Express”)

After dozens and dozens of retellings of the classic 19th century Charles Dickens story “A Christmas Carol” over the past century, you might think there would be nothing left to gain from another go-around with the timeless text. How many different ways can you say “Bah-Humbug” anyway?

But in Robert Zemeckis’ latest animated version, the director behind such films as “Forrest Gump” and “Cast Away” has created a brand new vision that’s much darker and visually pleasing than anything that has come before. Add to that an assortment of lively voice performances by Jim Carrey (“Horton Hears a Who!”) and “A Christmas Carol” is a holiday treat despite its emotional shortcomings.

While the film doesn’t hammer home the true importance of family or make a character like Tiny Tim a target for pity like others have done in the past, Zemeckis’ “Carol” still has an ace in its stocking. His name is Ebenezer Scrooge and the penny-pincher is grouchier than ever. The iconic Christmas character, who has been portrayed numerous times before, gets his first transformation into motion capture animation, the process Zemeckis used in his last two films “The Polar Express” and “Beowulf.”

In case you’ve somehow never heard the tale before, Scrooge, a bitter old miser living in London, is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley. Marley, who drags around weights and chains to signify the miserable life he once led, informs Scrooge that he will be haunted by three ghosts who will take him on separate journeys through his past, present, and future. The supernatural experience is supposed to reveal the true meaning of Christmas to Scrooge. It’s a life lesson that he could truly use. Not only does he snarl at the idea of paying his employee Bob Cratchit (Gary Oldman) for personal time off for the holidays, he’d rather get frostbite on his beaky nose than spend time with his only nephew Fred (Colin Firth).

Carrey’s turn as Scrooge might not rise to the performances of actors including George C. Scott or Alastair Sim in their respected versions, but Zemeckis gives his character a bit more free range to be sillier and brasher than his usual personality traits allow him. Carry never overdoes it with his voice work either, which is crucial to Scrooge as an introvert. His gangly frame, much like Carrey himself, is more surreal because of the amazing attention to detail in the character’s face. The 3-D spectacle attached to the film only enhances the experience.

The animated film, however, might be a bit too intense for little ones. While Zemeckis unintentionally made “The Polar Express” frightening with his demon-looking elves at the end of the movie, he is well aware of the dark tone that hovers over “A Christmas Carol.” Depending on your own level of comfort for nightmarish imagery in your holiday movies, this one might trigger tears for some kids (then again, so does Santa Claus at the shopping mall).

The Unborn

January 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, Meagan Good
Directed by: David S. Goyer (“Blade: Trinity”)
Written by: David S. Goyer (“The Dark Knight”)

When another horror movie shamefully follows the blueprint of pathetic horror movies of the past and continues the tradition of dismal American horror nonsense to hit a specific and brainless demographic, it almost becomes too exasperating to reel off another negative review.

It’s especially hard since we are in January, the month where studios are releasing both their lagging Oscar hopefuls and those movies they hope will get lost somewhere during all the awards-season chaos. “The Unborn” falls in the latter category, of course.

A hellacious hybrid of two of the worst films of last year, “Mirrors” and “The Haunting of Molly Hartley,” “The Unborn” regurgitates everything that is wrong with the horror genre today and plasters it across the screen for a short and fright-less 87 minutes.

Odette Yustman plays Casey Beldon, a young girl plagued by nightmares who is fighting off a demon trying to possess her. The demon turns out to be her twin brother, who was never born but has now found a way into the world through her body. Casey learns of her past with the help of Sofi Kozma (Jane Alexander), a Holocaust survivor who may have known her deceased mother (Carla Gugino), and a rabbi (Gary Oldman), written in as the token spiritual guide.

Director/screenwriter David S. Goyer has tried and failed before in this genre with “Blade: Trinity” and “The Invisible.” Third time is not a charm in this tasteless offering riddled with boring CGI effects images. Goyer wants to tell you a ghost story, but there’s simply no substance to mend an effective plot together much less captivate an audience with a terrifying narrative. Instead, he relies on basic set pieces and quick editing like so many others have done in the past. Just like in class, it’s the bare minimum where you might not have to take the course over again, but everyone else who managed a decent grade is snickering at how lazy you’ve been all semester.