“Pontypool” Creeped Me Out

My #1 recommendation for a Halloween rental this year is Pontypool, directed by Bruce McDonald. If engaging the audience and provoking an emotional response is a measure of success for a movie, then Pontypool gets full marks from me. Seeing it in a theatre 6 months ago, I remember sitting up in my seat holding onto the armrest for the second half of it thinking, “Man, this is creeping me out.” It took me for a ride. The idea for the story is that language, the spoken word, is a virus — a virus that will turn you into a zombie if you don’t shut up.

The story appropriately takes place in a small town rural radio station where we can’t see what’s happening but we hear live reports from a guy in the street witnessing the mayhem of people slowly turning into zombies — and this is where your imagination goes nuts. As most people in radio will tell you, sound is a visual medium. The audience is engaged by listening, hearing the story unfold. Then we watch the reactions of the people at the radio station. There aren’t many zombies in the movie, but we don’t need to see them to feel their presence. Then comes the question, “How do you prevent the spreading of a verbal disease when you can’t talk about it, especially when you work at a talk-radio station?” The possible answers to this question are intriguing and entertaining. Although not a perfect movie, Pontypool succeeds so well at engaging the imagination to scare the crap out of you, while providing plenty of laughs along the way, it’s a perfect movie for the Halloween season.

“Pontypool” is based on the book of by Tony Burgess.

Moral Complexity in “Eastern Promises”

David Cronenberg seems to get off on showing close-up shots of gruesome things like people getting their faces blown off with a shot-gun (re: A History of Violence). In a world where beheadings make the news at least two or three times a year, showing two separate scenes of people getting their throats slit is unnecessary. That’s one aspect of Cronenberg’s style I could do without. If you don’t like that kind of thing, just close your eyes for the few seconds when it happens, because the rest of the movie is excellent and well-worth watching.

Eastern Promises tells the story of a doctor, Naomi Watts, who delivers a baby from a woman who works in a brothel. The mother dies and the doctor tries to track down the baby’s family and subsequently gets tangled up with the Russian Mafia — and those guys don’t fool around. Viggo Mortensen, as one of the Russian henchmen, has sympathy for her and tells her to go home and forget about it. But she doesn’t. And from there on in it’s, Oh, jesus, what the hell’s going to happen now? I was surprised at the emotional and moral complexity of the film. Eastern Promises is a thriller with a conscience, and the best I’ve seen from Cronenberg.

Best Halloween Candy

J-Walk posted a link to the 16 Worst Halloween Candies. I agree, most of the 16 are lame except Hersey’s Mr Goodbar which is a hunk of delicious chocolate. It’s hard to go wrong with pure milk chocolate. My favourites are just about anything from this box:

CHOCOLATE!

But in order of preference from the box: Kit Kat, the world’s greatest chocolate bar; Coffee Crisp, a bar I never buy because I’ll pick Kit Kat (or maybe a Mars bar) before anything else, but it’s still a appetizing chocolate bar; Aero, a chocolate bar full of bubbles; and Smarties, M&M’s less-addictive second cousin.

The worst Halloween candies are those watered-down toffee candies with Halloween-themed wrappers that nobody except maybe my grandmother when she still had her teeth would eat. Do kids still get those in their trick-or-treat bags?