Double Feature

October 2006 - I'm not a big one for horror films. I generally find them ridiculous, often to the point of being comical. But, in keeping with the spirit (Get it? The "spirit?") of the month, here are two films which have at least some semblance of creepiness.

We'll start with the recently released movie, The Night Listener. Robin Williams appears in just about every scene in this film. It's based on a real-life experience of the movie's writer/executive producer, Armistead Maupin.

Williams plays Gabriel Noone, host of a late-nite radio show in New York City. He's upset over a breakup with his long-time boyfriend, Jess, so he's having trouble doing his job. Then, a publisher friend gives Gabriel an advance copy of a book written by Pete Logand, a 14-year-old boy. The book describes, in graphic detail, Pete's sexual abuse at the hands of his parents and their friends.

Soon, Gabriel is receiving phone calls from the boy and his adoptive mother, Donna (Toni Collette). She tells Gabriel that Pete (Rory Culkin) has AIDS and has just a few months to live. Jess happens to be with Gabriel for one of these phone calls. After listening on the speakerphone, he comments that Donna and Peter sound like the same person. Gabriel gets very angry about Jess's doubts. Of course Pete is real! But, soon, Gabriel starts having doubts of his own.

Overall review: Somewhere between Ehhh, it was OK and Liked it. The movie kept me interested for the most part. But, ultimately, it's one of those things where you just have to say "Weird," and let it go at that. If you start looking for definite answers or reasons why, you probably won’t find them.

The Night Listener is rated R. Look for it soon on DVD.

A woman who can't find pictures of her son is at the heart of The Forgotten, a 2004 drama starring Julianne Moore, Gary Sinise and Anthony Edwards. Moore plays Telly Paretta, a woman grieving obsessively for her son, Sam, who she believes died in a plane crash 14 months and six days ago. Sinise is the psychiatrist trying to help her cope. Edwards is her husband, Jim.

Telly knows she's not dealing well, but she really freaks out when Sam's image disappears from pictures and videos. Then, her husband and shrink insist that Sam never existed. Even the father of another child lost in the crash denies that he ever had a daughter – until Telly rips off some wallpaper and reveals the girl's drawings.

After that, Telly is reported missing and Alfre Woodard shows up as a cop who investigates. The Feds also want to find Telly – bad!

Overall review: Hated it. To say any more about the plot would be saying too much in case, for some reason, you decide you want to see this movie. But, I say you should forget about The Forgotten.

The Forgotten is rated PG-13. If you must see it, you can find it on DVD.