Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review: The Rite

Verdict: 2.5 out of 5

Exorcism flick The Rite may lack spewed pea soup, but it does have Anthony Hopkins doing his thing, and doing it well. It seems to have become fashionable to trash the bulk of his latter day output, but I'm content to feast on these morsels in anticipation of the next pleasant surprise, such as the excellent thriller Fracture. Somewhat similar in tone to The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Rite, directed by Mikael Håfström, who helmed the so-so adaptation of Stephen King's 1408, is one of those movies that easily sets itself apart from the baser majority of horror films while, at the same time, failing to ever be truly compelling. It's set in Rome with Hopkins as a veteran exorcist who's given an apprentice of sorts — an American seminary student (Colin O'Donoghue) who is coming down with a bout of atheism. The church has decreed more exorcists are needed, and the student's mentor decides a tour of duty with the exorcist will cure what ails him. The movie offers two exorcisms, the first centering on several sequences with a young girl who contorts and gets fiesty, and the second serving as a twisty curveball in the movie's closing stretch and the ultimate test of the student's doubt. Neither takes us anywhere we haven't been before, but it pushes some of the right buttons over the course of its too-long 120-plus minutes, and Hopkins, as always, is worthy of our faith.

The Rite is available now on Blu-Ray, DVD and pay per view.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cheap Gaga

I had no doubt Lady Gaga's new album Born This Way would pop out a little early, but seeing Amazon pimp it for 99 cents since around midnight is a surprise. It's an obvious pick for deal of the day, which is sometimes as low as $1.99, but this redefines "loss leader." It's probably a smart move by Amazon, which is looking to goose its share of digital music sales, since this will likely be the biggest album release of the year, and the gimmick price will lure sales and a flurry of blog posts.

A quick look over at iTunes reveals they're having none of this madness, with the regular edition going for $11.99 and the special for $15.99, with a bonus remix of "Judas" by Thomas Gold available (hope it's better than all the other ones — sorry, Hurts and Goldfrapp).

I'm wondering: Would it be silly to buy the regular edition for 99 cents and then individually download the missing special edition tracks? Yeah, it probably would. Looks like I'll be going with the special edition on Amazon for $12.99.