Idiot Savant Online

John Lichman's third attempt at a personal blog and online savanting idiotic.

Archive for February 2011

Why There Isn’t A Great Moment in Jeffrey Wells 2010

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A funny thing happened way back at the end of 2008 while screwing around one night. At some point or another, I threw myself on the mercy of Karina Longworth–then editor of Spout Blog–about any freelance work. Turns out I got lucky: she was off on a vacation, needed some slots filled for lists and video-of-the-day posts. So I got to listing!

This lead to a few hours of sitting in my living room on the sole chair I owned while plowing through Brooklyn Lagers for ideas. As always, a Gchat conversation led to a favorite past-time among myself and a friend: quoting randomly from an assortment of blogs to see if we could guess the critic or author. The rest, as you could imagine, was history.

Or mainly, me sitting in my apartment drinking a beer and going, “Oh wow. I could totally make a list out of all the stuff Wells wrote during the last year on Hollywood Elsewhere.”

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Written by john lichman

February 25, 2011 at 2:12 am

Vanishing on 7th Street

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Dir. Brad Anderson

iTunes Rental

It’s only natural to fear the dark, but Vanishing on 7th Street takes that concept and then keeps slogging through whether or not we’re in a morality tale. Following an inspired credits sequence wrapped in smoke, we find AMC projectionist Paul (John Leguizamo) reading some craptastic sci-fi novel by literal headlight. From there, he emerges from his hole to demand a soda and get awkwardly hit on by the concession stand girl.

Suddenly, ALL THE LIGHTS GO OFF. PEOPLE DISAPPEAR. THE PLOT THICKENS SO GODDAMN MUCH YOU MAY AS WELL MAKE GRAVY OUT OF THE FUCKING ABSURD NATURE OF DARKNESS CONSUMING MASS CULTURE.

Listen. By this point, you should realize you’re in a world of competent genre classification thanks to Brad Anderson, who can handle interesting concepts and quickly lose them without an incredible cast capable of running with one dimensional ideas. Here: shadows are swallowing people up and acting very creepy while a group of survivors made up of Smarmy Host (Hayden Christensen), Mother Who Lost Her BAY-BEE and Will Inevitable Go Crazy (Thandie Newton) and Annoying Kid (Jacob Latimore) band with Paul in a random bar while discussing what happened.

The “Unknown End of the World” trope gets handled better in The Signal than here. But the atmosphere of shadows coming after you is endlessly amusing, especially when Paul is swallowed up by the shadows after being dropped on his neck. And really, the fact Vanishing treats all of its survivors as nothing more than cattle is astonishing.

There’s nothing remotely interesting here aside from a fun script that could’ve once been a Twilight Zone episode.

Written by john lichman

February 14, 2011 at 2:44 am