Shutter and Meet The Browns
SHUTTER Toshio, that malicious, pale little boy from The Grudge, will follow you home with his pissed-off mother in tow and maybe rip your jaw off. Ringu’s watery witch Sadako will reach out from your TV set and paralyze you with her stare of doom. Megumi (Megumi Okina), the roving angry spirit at the center of Shutter, will shoot you icy looks from afar and ruin your wedding photos. Oh, and give you a shoulder cramp. Scared yet? Jane Shaw (Rachael Taylor, the blonde-bombshell hacker from Transformers) sure is — so terrified that she occasionally forgets she’s supposed to have an American accent. And yet, if the ghost never actually hurts her, why should we care? A newlywed in Japan alongside jet-setting photographer hubby Ben (Joshua Jackson), Jane first encounters Megumi on a lonely country road, and in several visions and blurred photos thereafter... but nothing really happens until about an hour into the movie, by which point it isn’t long before the inevitable series of fake-out endings and obvious “twists” kick in. Ostensibly a remake of a Thai film — by a Japanese director with a Hollywood cast — Shutter plays more like a video copy of The Ring that’s become so degraded that all the good bits are no longer visible. (Citywide) (Luke Y. Thompson)
GO TYLER PERRY’S MEET THE BROWNS Prolific filmmaker-mogul Tyler Perry’s fifth feature since 2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman (his sixth is already scheduled for a September release) is surprisingly half-decent — surprising because Perry’s not about to switch up his hardly revelatory but consistently bankable box-office signature: African-American familial drama, complete with soapy romance, broadly farcical supporting roles, and motivational Christian principles. Finding a positive, progressive tone in what would ordinarily be played as woe-is-me melodrama, Meet the Browns is the story of single mother-of-three Brenda (Angela Bassett, the film’s soul and highlight), an inner-city Chicago woman of tireless integrity who remains strong even after being laid off: “One thing a black woman know how to do is make it.” Keeping her head up when she and the kids travel to Georgia to attend her long-estranged father’s funeral, Brenda makes earnest efforts to refuse handouts from the eccentric extended family she’s just gained — as well as romantic advances from the amateur b-ball scout (Rick Fox) who may or may not want to cash in on her talented son. Unlike Diary, the drama here is buoyant enough to handle the contrast of its too-silly slapstick; Perry’s pot-smoking granny Madea only turns up in cameo, fortunately, but David Mann’s leisure-suited buffoon Leroy may be too shrill for those Perry has yet to convert. (Citywide) (Aaron Hillis)
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