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The Obsessed Mysteries of Witch Mountain

By The Pajiba Staff | DVD Releases | August 4, 2009 |

By The Pajiba Staff | DVD Releases | August 4, 2009 |

Obsessed: Steven Wilson writes that you’ve already seen this movie: “Let me give you the short review first: you’ve seen this movie before. They’ve made this film at least once per year, for as long as I can remember, at least since Fatal Attraction back in 1987. Fatal Attraction is like the Die Hard of bad suspense movies. At least a third of action movies can be dismissed as: it’s just Die Hard on a boat, it’s just Die Hard at a hockey game, it’s just Die Hard at the junior Special Olympics. Well, Obsessed is just Fatal Attraction with a black rich guy instead of a white rich guy. At least Die Hard On A [something] films have explosions to keep them interesting. The Fatal Attraction clones depend on suspense, which just does not exist in the thirtieth version of the exact same film. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know everything that happens in the film.”

The Soloist: The Soloist is basically junk food for the NPR crowd, so writes Dustin: “Most bad movies know they’re bad — it’s not always fun to pick on them, since it’s like calling Perez Hilton a cultural terrorist. He knows it, celebrates it, and greedily collects his money in spite of it. But every once in a while, a bad movie that actually thinks it’s great comes along, and it feels nice to use this little corner of the interwebs to tell that movie to pulls its nose out of the sky and put it back where it belong — halfway up its own ass. The Soloist is that kind of film - decidedly mediocre but so arrogant and confident about the intended message it’s peddling that it forgets to wrap it around some actual substance. Indeed, The Soloist is a movie designed for well-off white people who carry their NPR tote bags into the theater and assuage their liberal guilt, not by contributing to the homeless, but by giving money to a studio that hires a millionaire to pretend to be homeless. Liberal guilt properly assuaged, the well-off white person can go home, drink their Trader Joes’ wine, and watch Bride Wars without any remorse.

Race to Witch Mountain: Even Agent Bedhead, who has a soft-spot for The Rock the size of Montana, couldn’t buy into this one: “In the meantime, for those adults who attend Race to Witch Mountain out of some romantic notion that Disney will honor your nostalgia by lovingly treating the progeny of a few of your beloved childhood movies, well, you should know better than that. Screenwriters Matt Lopez and Mark Bomback have very loosely based this film upon a few ideas from the old films and that novel by Alexander Key. Consequently, Race to Witch Mountain has very little to do with Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) and its sequel, Return from Witch Mountain (1978). Essentially, the filmmakers have taken the title of the book, along with a general concept or two, and reconfigured the whole schbang under the guise of a contemporary “re-imagining” geared towards updating the franchise. “

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh: The Boozehound, who is another one of our writers sadly on sabbatical (he will be back, goddamnit!) bought in, with reservation, to the adaptation of Michael Chabon’s beautiful novel: “Much like the term chemistry in describing the success of ensemble casts or sports teams, the concepts of tone and mood in films and novels defy ready explication, though they are generally vital to success. In adapting Michael Chabon’s much-loved debut novel The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, writer and director Rawson Marshall Thurber captures the essential but hard-to-define feel of Chabon’s book by largely re-focusing the narrative to feature more prominently the novel’s most intriguing character, while at the same time retaining the fundamental depiction of the protagonist’s teetering steps across the tightrope running from what society or family expects of us to what is true to our nature. While Thurber’s adaptation has its flaws, the film version of Mysteries penetrates to the core of that breathless sensation of jumping blindly from the familiar, guided only by the trusting embrace of one’s sense of self.”

Delgo: Poor Agent Bedhead, who suffers through more bad movies than any of us, endured Delgo and came to this conclusion: “Delgo comes across as J.R. Tolkein meets Romeo and Juliet meets The Clone Wars meets Lord of the Rings meets Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties meets intergalactic space opera (not exactly in manner of L. Ron Hubbard, but almost as cringeworthy). Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being derivative. Hell, just about every filmmaker pays homage to one or more of their cinematic idols, but that’s not all that they do. Homage should be a mere ingredient of a writer’s own recipe, and, unfortunately, Delgo’s menu is more likely to encourage projectile vomiting than repeat visits to anywhere but the nearest restroom.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.