Roger (Ron Livingston) and his wife Carolyn (Lili Taylor) have moved, with their five daughters, to a rickety farmhouse. What the do not know is that it is terribly haunted, and soon they are getting no sleep and experiencing lots of unpleasantness. They turn to paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) who come to the house to try to find a way to deal with this.
This is one of those films that, even watching in a well-lit house during the day with company, still scares me to pieces. There is no way I can watch this type of thing in the cinema because I am totally unable to stop myself screaming at the screen. I found the first half totally freaking out, but once the Warrens had arrived, things got better. I mean, they got worse, but I was just less scared. In the end, I felt as though I had actually achieved getting through this whole film.
Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) hates his job in the office. The work is meaningless, the cubicles unbearable and each of his eight bosses (including the ever- wonderful Gary Cole) take him to task over even the slightest error. His girlfriend takes him to an occupational hypnotherapist who has a heart attack mid-session leaving Gibbons relaxed and honest – leading to a promotion at work, a break-up with his cheating girlfriend and the confidence to ask out the beautiful waitress, Joanna (Jennifer Annisten). But when his friends are to be fired, he needs to get out of his haze and try to do something.
I expect that for those working in offices, this is still a highly relevant film. It has definitely dated (well, with references to Y2K compliance, it was bound to age) but the themes have not. Micro-management by incompetent bosses, dreams of more (or in the case of Gibbons, less) and mis-use of stationery.
Luke (Jake Johnson) and Kate (Olivia Wilde) work together at a brewery. They hang out a lot and are best mates. It is unspoken that there is the potential for much more there, but both are in relationships. Kate’s boyfriend is the upright and almost boring Chris (Ron Livingston) and Luke’s girlfriend is the chirpy Jill (Anna Kendrick). And then… nothing happens.
I’m not saying this is a bad film; just a bit, you know, dull. Like so many films that were part of the MIFF 2013 selection, nothing much happened. Director Joe Swanberg works using only a basic outline and letting the actors improvise the specifics of the scenes, and I think this can be an extremely effective way of working; provided the final product is well-edited. Instead, most scenes were long and rambling which meant that any great scenes were lost in the mix. There definitely was the sense that there was a good film struggling to get out; but it just couldn’t break free.