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Movie Reviews: The China Syndrome + Insidious

The China Syndrome (1979)
Kimberly (Jane Fonda) is a fluffy tv reporter with big red hair and a habit of puffing pot. Her camera man Richard (Michael Douglas) is a prat with a huge beard. They're assigned to do another fluffy puff piece at a nuclear plant. Richard cannot pronounce nuclear properly. As they lug their HUGE 70's 'tech' around an accident takes place. Richard films it. It's all men staring at dials and yelling and the building shakes.

Kimberly wants to air the film so she can be a real reporter, like Lois Lane. But her boss say no, no, no. Richard rants and is rude and steals the film. Kimberly is patronised. Meanwhile back at the power plant Jack the only decent character in the film looks at computer printouts with a heavy heart.

There is muttering about the China Syndrome and talk of it rendering the area uninhabitable. Jack suspects malfeasance at his company but he is surrounded by idiot bureaucrats and is driven to grabbing a gun. This leads to a totally improbable ending. This was a okay but a bit dull.

~
Insidious (2010)
Josh (Patrick Wilson of 'Watchmen' and 'Phantom of the Opera') is married to Renai (Rose Byrne of 'Damages') and they have three moppets. In their huge new house the family is being tormented by scare chords and creaking doors. Then Dalton falls and bangs his head due to inadequate parental supervision. Renai moans, Josh is feckless and Dalton ends up comatose despite no brain trauma. So far (21 minutes in) and I'm BORED.

But then Renai starts hearing things on the baby monitor. Things get creepy and one leaves aside the question of how a stay-at-home mom and a teacher pay for that huge house, Dalton's medical care and a home help nurse.

Renai gets hysterical, the couple's other two kids Foster and Cali are ignored and Josh's mother Lorraine (Barbara Hershey of 'Black Swan') shows up to be cryptic. Josh is a bit of an idiot and then Elise and her two ghost busting buddies show up to 'assist'.

Soon Elise is babbling about astral projection, family secrets and The Further. A bizarre seance is held and one wonders don't these people have neighbours? The family have to save Dalton and avoid things that want to live again.

Forget misfires like 'Reeker', 'Hell Night', 'One by One', 'Student Bodies', 'Doom', 'Jennifer', 'Warlock II', '28 Weeks Later', 'Poltergeist II&III', 'Jeepers Creepers', 'Valentine' and 'Urban Legend II&III', this is very good. Once past the first 21 minutes it gets really creepy. The ending is brilliant, they can't leave it there and one wonders if Elise did more harm than good.

Best Lines:
"I don't like when he walks around at night."

"I know someone who can help if you're willing to ask."

"She sent us ahead to do some preliminary tests."
"Helps weed out the nut jobs."

"I don't think bad wiring is the problem."

"A place not meant for the living."
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