Stir of Echoes (1999)

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Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon) is a hard working husband who seems to be grinding his way through life. He and his wife Maggie Witzky (Kathryn Erbe) are invited to a party where the sceptical Tom his asked if he would like to be hypnotized. Tom believing hypnotism to be a joke, agrees, thinking nothing will happen. However to his surprise he completely goes under. When he awakes from the hypnotism, he tells his sister in law Lisa (Illeana Douglas) that it worked, that she managed to hypnotise him.

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However something has awoken in Tom. He is seeing things that he doesn’t want to see. Having reoccurring dreams, and some very disturbing visions. He asks Lisa to reverse the hypnotism, to turn it off, but it’s too late. Now Tom must use his new ‘gift’ to solve a crime. One that is a little closer to home than he’d like.

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There is a lot going for this film that I really like. To begin with the story is very intriguing. Based on a novel by Richard Matheson, and written and directed by David Koepp, this really is a supernatural mystery you’ll want to get behind. It was released around the same time as The Sixth Sense and Blair Witch, when all of those types of movies were really getting peoples attention. Sadly Stir of Echoes was lost amongst the bigger names, which is sad as it’s definitely the better movie. Kevin Bacon is fantastic as Tom. Playing the everyman role fabulously and really reacting like you’d imagine someone would in such strange circumstances. The supporting cast are also really good, with a lot of faces you’ll recognise.

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I have never been hypnotised myself, so I can’t say if it actually works. But the premise is played out quite plausibly, and doesn’t seem too far fetched.  There are some cracking scares, and the whole thing is quite creepy. I would definitely suggest giving it a watch if you have never seen it before.

4/5

JM

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Scrooged (1988)

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Since it’s Christmas I think it’s only right that I review a few crimbo movies. So to kick us off this month we have, my favourite Christmas movie, ‘Scrooged’. It’s basically a retelling of the classic Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol. Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is the a head of a TV network which is soon to show a live version of A Christmas Carol. However Frank is not a fan of Christmas as it really doesn’t hold good memories for him. One night he is visited by his old, long dead boss who tells Frank that he’ll be visited by three ghosts in order for him to change the error of his ways.

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Frank used to be happy. However somewhere along the way he became consumed by work and completely miserable. He had a great girlfriend called Claire (Karen Allen), and things seemed fine. However that was a long time ago and now he’s a sour, hateful man. The first ghost to help Frank see where he went wrong is the Ghost of Christmas Past (David Johansen), an alcoholic, chain smoking cab driver. The ghost takes Frank back to when he was a small child, however all it does is remind Frank of how much he hates Christmas. The ghost then takes Frank to the time he met Claire, which slightly improves things, but not enough to change Frank.

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The next opportunity falls to the Ghost of Christmas Present (Carol Kane). She shows Frank all the people he is making miserable now, trying to somehow shake Frank into changing. This ghost is batshit crazy. She pokes, prods and punches the shit out of Frank all whilst giggling manically. I could go on and tell you the rest of what happens, but pretty much everyone knows the Scrooge story.

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Everyone is on top form. Bill Murray is fantastic as the sour faced, cynical Frank Cross. Carol Kane and David Johansen are brilliant as the ghosts. You have excellent supporting roles from great actors like John Glover, Robert Mitchum, John Forsythe, Alfre Woodard and even Bobcat Goldthwait as the screechy voiced Elliot Loudermilk. I do love this film, with it definitely being my favourite Christmas movie. I always try to squeeze it in at least once a year. I’m sure many have seen it, however if you haven’t then give it a go.

4/5

JM

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