Abandoning the gimmicky defining premise of itspredecessor, about the ghost of an evil littlegirl exacting blood-curdling vengeance on anyone who watched a hauntedvideo tape, "The Ring Two" seems also to have jettisoned allnotions of pacing, creative chills and common sense.
Catching up with newspaper reporter NaomiWatts (whose talents are wasted on B-movie screams)and her hollow-eyed son (David Dorfman) after they've survived the firstfilm by slipping through a gaping hole in its own internal logic, "TheRing Two" gives its poltergeist arbitrary new powers to track thesetwo down to a small West Coast town and possess the boy's body.
Little else happens in the course of the story, exceptthat Watts' suspicious attempts at exorcism draw the attention of the localChild Protective Services. The kid ends up in the hospital (from whichhe easily escapes and no search is ever mounted) while Watts tracks downthe ghostly girl's asylum-confined birth mother (Sissy Spacek) for somelong-winded exposition laying out the new rules of the plot.
Continue reading: The Ring Two Review
A brilliantly observant, darkly humorous and immaculately acted movie about an average suburban father in the throes of a midlife crisis, "Panic" bears an vague, off-kilter resemblance to "American Beauty" in style and subject.
Its central character is a meek and neurotic man in his 40s (William H. Macy) whose growing fixation with a sexually conflicted nymph (Neve Campbell) half his age is turning his life upside-down. The two films share a similar dysfunctional domesticity as well, and a crisp but sparse visual elegance with just a pinch of excess color.
But Alex (Macy), the sympathetic anti-hero of "Panic," has a much bigger secret than his newfound temptation for a younger woman. Alex is a hit man -- and he's just not sure he's comfortable in that line of work anymore.
Continue reading: Panic Review
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