More bad movies

Because The Happening wasn’t enough for me, I guess.

21Based on Bringing Down the House, Ben Mezrich’s “non-fiction” account of the adventures of the MIT blackjack team. The film is even harder to take seriously than the book, which saved its more unbelievable claims for the last few chapters, but the real problem, as Lisa pointed out, is that “Movies about gambling are supposed to be exciting,” and 21 isn’t. Kevin Spacey just phones it in.

Mother of Tears (La Terza Madre) — The final chapter of Dario Argento’s “Three Mothers” trilogy, which began way back in 1977 with Suspiria, a film whose TV ads gave me nightmares as a kid. Argento is overrated as a horror director, so I wasn’t expecting much, and I didn’t get much.

The Strangers Liv Tyler and the guy who played Kate Beckinsale’s werewolf boyfriend in Underworld come home late from a wedding and spend the wee hours of the morning being terrorized by creepy people with masks. I was a bit leery about this at first, because while I love deadly cat-and-mouse games, even gory ones, I hate extended exercises in sadism, and it wasn’t clear from the trailer which way The Strangers was going to lean. Turns out it’s (mostly) a cat-and-mouse game, but with really, really stupid mice.

For example: boyfriend comes back from a run to the convenience store to find Liv cowering on the bedroom floor with a butcher knife in her hand. He asks what’s going on, and she tells him that, among other things, this creepy person in a mask was looking in the window at her. They go to a window, look out, and sure enough, there’s a creepy person in a mask standing in the middle distance, staring at the house. At this point I am (a) calling the police, (b) arming myself, and/or (c) making a run for the car. Boyfriend opts for (d) assuming Liv is overreacting—when she tells him the creepy people came into the house and stole her cell phone, he replies, “Come on, no one’s been in the house!”—and (e) going outdoors, unarmed, to tell the creepy people to get lost. And that is one of the smarter moments.