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Movie Review: Premonition – If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

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So, I went and saw Premonition today, the new thriller starring Sandra Bullock as the wife who keeps waking up every day to find her husband dead. Or alive, depending on the day. My wife was with me.

When I got home, I sat down to write a review. I have a really good Kenmore washer and dryer set. We bought them at Sears a few years ago. They were on sale, and they really do a great job of cleaning all our clothes.

I threw in a load of towels to wash while I was at the computer. I mean, the washer is good; it is one of the 'heavy duty' types and can take many towels and still get them nice and clean.

Our last washer, jeez, it was like using a rock to clean them. We would have to do the same load at least twice, sometimes three times to get them as clean as they come out now. In addition, the dryer, man, it's great. We always use one of those dryer sheets, the ones that are fabric softener and make the laundry smell good at the same time. I can bring a load of clothes out of that thing and it's like smelling a nice spring day, whoo-eee.

Right now, the towels are almost through. I figure I'll finish them and then watch last night's episodes of Smallville and Supernatural; I record them every week to watch on either Friday or Saturday night. Until Doctor Who and Stargate S-G1 return to the Sci-Fi channel there isn't much else to watch.

It was a bit of a coincidence, me doing laundry tonight and Sandra Bullock doing it in Premonition as well. You know, that raises an interesting question. Do you think Sandra Bullock actually washes her own dirty towels, or does she get someone else to do it? Just how rich is she? Well, I find stuff like that interesting.

Oh, and after the movie, we were discussing the Larry Stanley Movie Rating System and I was trying to explain it to the people I was with. I might as well do that here as well, and then everyone will know how it works on the site.

I rate a film with one star to four stars. I also use negative stars as well, an example being Alone in the Dark or the American version of The Ring Two. There are very few films that ever get the coveted four stars, and only a handful that get three stars. While I don't rate a film based on projection, or width of the camera lens, or what style of pants were worn by the star, I do base it on acting, photography, special effects and even CGI. And yes, I do think there is a difference between special effects and CGI.

CGI is done with a computer. People, using various objects, sets, camera stations, visual effects, manipulation of a film image, matte shots, or other situations, create "special effects". In other words, they are done by people and are therefore more creative. CGI might be able to make a realistic dragon or space battle, but it was stop motion and Ray Harryhausen who actually brought dragons and dinosaurs to life.

I also rate a film on music, plot, action, and how I think the actors relate to the characters they are supposed to be creating. It is not always as easy as it sounds. For one thing, sometimes I have to sit through some God-awful movies. Like Gigli. Christ, I wanted to burn out my eyes when I saw that one. Then there was the Mari… Mari… M-A-R-I… God, I can't even bring myself to spell out the title of that one. Some films don't deserve any stars, and I usually make that pretty clear. If there are no stars, then the film stank, but I still reviewed it.

Then there is the last group. These are the film reviews you actually see me in, so you know I watched the film, but there is no review. That means I felt this film was so bad the negative and all the copies of it should be burned, the ashes scattered, the director forced to take a class in filmmaking and the actors should all be removed from the Actors Guild and forced to take up another line of work.

An example of this would be House of The Dead and the 2005 remake of The Fog. Except for Tom Welling. I like Smallville.

Anyway, those are the main criteria I use to grade and rate a film. Oh, my laundry is finished.

What?

Premonition?

What do you think I've been talking about?

 

Premonition
Directed by: Mennan Yapo
Written by: Bill Kelly
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Julian McMahon, Nia Long, Amber Valletta, Shyann McClure, Courtney Taylor Burness, and Peter Stormare.
Runtime: 97 min.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
The Larry Stanley Language-O-Meter Rating: I wouldn't want my kids to listen to it.

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  • Kicki

    Okay, I have got to ask.
    I’ve read several – very many actually – reviews of this movie. And I’ve noticed something!

    Most of them express some kind of dislike for the movie.
    Almost all the reviewers are men.
    The ones that are positive, are mainly written by women.

    This isn’t scientific in any way, but it was impossible not to notice it.

    I’ve spoken to several people – all women, because I don’t have any male friends who has seen it yet – who’s seen the movie – and they all say they loved it!
    It was emotional and romantic, it was tragic and sad. It was a shock that Jim ended the way he did but it fit into the movie and what it was trying to say. They say the audience applauded afterwards – not because it was over, but in appreciation!
    They loved the chemistry between Sandra and Julian, and cried for them.

    Above all, and most importantly in this, most of these friends of mine have also read a lot of these reviews, and they claim they didn’t recognize the movie they had read about. (Note! I talked to them separately and they are from different parts of the country!)

    So, you being a man, and you so obviously didn’t like “Premonition”, could you please explain to me what makes this movie so appealing to women? No, scratch that, I can answer that myself. Redirect! Can you tell me what exactly makes it so unappealing to(some)men? Because it seems to me that we are watching two different stories.

    Where did it go wrong? Was it Jim’s fate? Was it something in the message in the movie?
    Was it that it was too much emotion? Was the message that women seems to get fine, lost on men for some reason? Was there something in the way it jumbled the dates that annoyed men more than women?

    I refuse to believe it comes down to “technical” things like “crappy acting/directing/screenwriting/music” because that’s just too easy to hide behind, and women would pick up on that too.
    Is it actually so, that women goes for the heart of the movie, while men judge it by the outside appearance.

    Could it be that women have an easier time getting emotionally connected to the main characters and their plight? That they have an easier time buying into the romance, stick to the main plot even if the director or screenwriter try to confuse it, and see something men miss? Or do they miss the part men see? Which part would that be?

    And, no, I haven’t seen it yet, because it won’t premiere here for many months. I am, however, looking forward to see it very much. If so many men tell me it isn’t worth the time of day – then I just HAVE to see it. ;)

    Thanks for your time and patience reading this far.
    I hope I haven’t offended, because that really isn’t what I intend in any way. I am not trying to be sarcastic, snippy or “funny”.
    I really just want to know what makes this one movie seem like two different movies, depending on who tells me about it.

    Kicki

  • http://www.newmoviefriday.com Jason of New Movie Friday

    Larry, nice review, I was glad that you didn’t give away anything that might ruin the movie for potential future viewers, except that pivotal clothes washing scene with Sandra Bullock. Actually, it was funny you mentioned it, as I had a similar thought during that scene. I wondered, myself, when the last time she washed any clothes herself was.

    Kicki, there is a reason the category of “chick flick” was created.

  • Belle

    Kicki,

    I believe the movie shows a truth about marriage that many people would rather not see.

  • http://www.penguincomics.net larry stanley

    Hi Kicki. I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond, but when I read your questions on Saturday, Kate and Leopold had just started and I love that film. I honestly cannot say why some men disliked the film or why some women did or even why some women did not like it or some men did.

    What I could do is tell you why I didn’t like it.

    SPOILERS FOLLOW

    First, please understand that I actually like Sandra Bullock. I think she is a very good actress who simply sometimes picks films that are not that entertaining to me.

    However, in this film, she seemed to have no real emotions other then self-pity or anger; and even when she demonstrated anger, I found it difficult to believe.

    Jim had a much better performance to me. Nevertheless, while (and I understand why) he seemed remote in many places, it was very refreshing to watch him in his honest emotions that I felt from him when he was spending the day in the park with his girls.

    In respect to the attitude of ‘chemical attraction’, I looked past the chemistry of the two stars and tried to look at how they came across to me, the viewer. Sometimes, that is more important then how they are together.

    In addition, there were massive problems with the story itself. First, there are no stitches in the little girls face on a Thursday, and then suddenly on Wednesday there are. There are no little butterflies on the door then there are, then they are not. However, the calendar is always under the tablecloth and the bird is in the trash.

    See? Too many things would change and change back. It got confusing.

    As to story, I saw something quite like this on “Tales from the Darkside” about 15 years or so ago. Only that time it dealt with a phone call through time.

    MASSIVE SPOILERS FOLLOW

    Up to now, nothing has been stated that actually destroys the film for most viewers. That is about to change. I repeat…

    MASSIVE SPOILERS FOLLOW
    MASSIVE SPOILERS FOLLOW
    MASSIVE SPOILERS FOLLOW

    Finally, the ending. Now I can accept and even respect the fact that Linda is chasing Jim down a crowded highway, and trying to call him at the same time. I can even accept that Jim is speaking to Linda’s answering machine and finally that Linda gets through to Jim, as he is speaking to her.
    What I can’t accept is what follows. Jim is parked, EXACTLY where the original wreck occurs.

    Linda sees this. However, instead of telling him to pull completely off the road or to drive to the DIRT ROAD a HUNDRED FEET in front of him where he has a clear view, she (are you ready for this?) Tells Him To Make A U-Turn In The Middle Of A Blind Series Of Hills.

    That’s right; she basically tells him, “Take a chance on suicide and take someone else with you.”

    I’m sorry, but Linda up to this point has never acted like a dunce. Here every move she did after catching up to Jim says she is wearing a sign that reads ‘I’m Stupid’ on her back.

    She has him turn the car around on a blind hill, where no one coming up behind him will EVER have a chance to stop, and she is well aware that the cause of death was a truck jack-knifing in the middle of the road. She had already driven out there once before, and seen the area, she knew what the road looked like.

    But, she was smart enough to stop a quarter mile away from where the wreck occurs. Hmmmm. And yes, that last one was a joke. That was the writers doing.

    Still, a fairly intelligent story premise destroyed (For Me) by the climax.

    Now, I could have written all this in my original review. But I honestly felt like writing about my laundry was more fun then the actual film. And, tell the truth, if my review had consisted of all this would you have been moved to write me and ask those questions?

    Would we have (to paraphrase 300) ‘reasoned together’? Would we have communicated? And isn’t that what the internet is all about, Communication? I mean, contrary to widespread belief, it is not a storage site for all the porn you can find. Lol

    Best,

    Larry Stanley
    (Who actually likes most of what is known as ‘chick flicks’)

  • http://www.penguincomics.net larry stanley

    Hiya’ Jason.

    One of the kids I like to say I mentor is named Jasos. One of the greatest kids around, I think. Anyway, thanks for the comments. I admit, when I see ‘major stars’ do their own laundry or cleaning their own commodes, I often do wonder when the last time they did it actually was.

    Knowing what little I do about politics, racial attitudes and the social climate in Southern California, I figure they all have Mexican employees who do this, then go out to a demonstration about how terrible white people are for treating the brown people like second class citizens. But that is another story for another section of BC.com.

    But, you have to admit, it is funny to see rich people do stuff like this and know they have a script. I keep think of Mr. Mom with Keaton from a few years ago.

    How many of these ‘upper class’ folks would burn dinner, ruin their colors or flood the house with soap the first time they tried it? Now, THAT would be a reason to watch Americas Funniest Home Videos again.

    And I like a lot of ‘chick flicks’. No, stop laughing. There are some that are actually pretty good, and most of them have something funny as well as emotional to bring to the point. And lets face it guys, if it wasn’t for us sneaking a peak at ‘chick flicks’ we would never know how to treat our partners.

    Best to all,

    Larry Stanley

  • http://www.penguincomics.net larry stanley

    Hi Belle.

    I think you are correct. I know that since I watched Premonition I have questioned my attitude toward my marraige. But, I have been married for 20 years this September.

    After a certain number of years, a couple do tend to feel like the other one is simply ‘used’ to them and less emotionally involved.

    They feel like they are both being taken for granted and yet neither one is brave enough or sure enough of what is happening to say anything.

    The answer is communication. It takes more then ‘good morning’ over coffee or a quick good night kiss. It takes committment and that is something our society is not always good at anymore.

    It takes working to keep the passion alive. And sometimes a marriage is not 50/50; sometimes it is 70/30 or 60/40 or once in a while it is even 89/11 and believe me when you are the 89 it is hard not to think about the fact that if I had just killed her/him I would be out of jail after 20 years. Not that I ever thought that honey. Honest.

    But, today people break up or get divorced over silly things. They give up all to often much to fast.

    So, yes Belle; I agree with you.

    Best

    Larry Stanley
    Who deeply, deeply loves his wife and never lets her have a sharp object after they argue.

  • http://www.penguincomics.net larry stanley

    You know, no one made any comments about my Dead Silence review. It was a good review. Intelligent, or at least I thought so. Maybe all my reviews should be written tongue in cheek from now on?

    Larry

  • http://www.newmoviefriday.com Jason of New Movie Friday

    Larry, don’t get me wrong, I have watched my share of chick flicks and some movies that fall into that category are actually really good. Guys, in general, won’t admit to liking them, even when they do. This could be part of Kicki’s problem, of why there is such a split between men and women regarding movies she finds an emotional connection with.

    I saw a commercial recently that plays off that idea. Two couples in a car driving along that have obviously just come from watching a chick flick and are talking about it. One of the women talks about one of the guys being about to cry or something at the pivotal scene in the movie. He denies this and tries to tell everyone that he was just really trying to concentrate.

    Speaking of concentrating, this movie requires you to do a little of it and pays off your efforts with a climax that is really more of a dip in the road. In more ways than one, if you have read all of comment #4.

  • Belle

    I love movies that make me think, especially movies I can relate to my own life experiences. Premonition did that for me. Sure, the car scene at the end was quite a stretch and there were inconsistencies in the movie, I guess.

    However, the overriding messages are interesting. Do we take our marriage for granted? Do we assume everything is going to stay the same? What would we do differently if we knew what was just around the corner? Would the damage of having an affair be worth the excitement? How would losing our spouse impact our children? How would it impact our day to day routines?

    The scene where Linda encourages the girls to give daddy an extra hug gave me chills. Scary, because I think anyone who has been in a long term committed relationship can relate, even a little, and I appreciate a movie that is willing to state the truth.

    I agree, communication is the key to any relationship, yet it is lacking in many!!

    Now, I’m going to read your review of Dead Silence. I need to see for myself which type of review I prefer.

  • http://www.penguincomics.net larry stanley

    Belle, I am one of those that can’t see how an affair could ever be worth the pain it inflicts. It is a sign of selfishness and immaturity.

    Somewhere in our society we got the idea that the orgasam was the overwhelming reason to get married and that if and when we ever thought we could do better, then we should just go for it.

    Divorce is rampant mainly because people think the next hump is going to be the “One that made the Earth Move” when in reality that event will only occur when you find someone you can love and are willing to spend the rest of your life with.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I look. God knows, I look. And I am a Christian, I love my wife, I think she is beautiful, wonderful, caring and I am devoted to her. But I will by God look. If I touch, most likely no one would ever find my body and, shoot, if I happen to look or think to long I am liable to get smacked in the back of the head.

    But I do look. And I know she does as well, even though I am not supposed to admit that she does.

    But, do I trust her? If I were about to fall off a cliff, I believe she would die before she would let me fall. In short, I trust my wife Patti as far as death. I know I can trust her.

    And she knows she can trust me.

    I have known several couples over the last two decades who have broken up over an affair and I have watched as it destroyed the lives of the adults and more importantly the children involved.

    I have two dogs. And I would not want to hurt them in that manner. Why would I do it to children.

    Well, enough rambling. Go, read my other reviews. Tell me which you prefer. I might not change anything, but feedback is always nice.

    Larry

  • http://www.noface4film.com/ Kaonashi

    Kicki- I’m a woman, and judging from the trailer, I chose not to watch Premonition because it looked boring, like it was better off shown on the Lifetime network. I could care less about “emotional connections” between characters. I also care about plot, acting, dialogue, characters, etc. That’s not to say that I don’t like the occasionally weepy chick flick. But I’m a geek as well, and I prefer comic book movies like 300.