Tag Archives: Kathryn Newton

Review: Paranormal Activity 4

The sun goes down, everyone goes to bed, that low rumble kicks in and the demon comes out to play. The first “Paranormal Activity” was entirely new territory. In the second, the plot thickened and scares still felt fresh. By the time we hit the third, we were well aware of what was coming, but quality character development kept us firmly invested. While “Paranormal Activity 4” does achieve a degree of success, franchise quality is clearly starting to crack and give way to the gimmick.

New town, new family. In round four, the “Paranormal Activity” franchise ditches California for Nevada and puts the focus on Alex (Kathryn Newton), her parents, little brother Wyatt and boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively). They’re a loving family, living in a beautiful home in a quaint suburban neighborhood – minus the weird little boy that lives across the street, Robbie (Brady Allen). When Robbie’s mother is rushed to the hospital, Alex’s parents are kind enough to take him in for a few nights. Cue the traditional “Paranormal Activity” “Night #” labels.

Initially, the idea of having another “Paranormal Activity” without Katie and Kristi at the core was a little disconcerting, but Alex is sweet, charming and believable enough to win you over in minutes, and the same goes for Ben and her family. After quickly reminding viewers of the horrors of 2006 and that Katie is still at large, the film cuts to Alex’s point of view, offering a look at the new family dynamic. Thanks to a well-established norm, Robbie’s arrival is as jarring for the audience as it is for Alex. The concept of the creepy kid next door letting the demon in is both eerie and, thanks to Ben’s commentary, quite amusing, but it does slowly fizzle out.

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Review: Bad Teacher

Think you had some bad teachers in school? Well, Cameron Diaz’s character in Bad Teacher is above and beyond. This is a movie though, so above and beyond can work, right? Of course, but it can also backfire big time and, oddly enough, Bad Teacher manages to do both with its incredibly preposterous titular character. (Keep those minds out of the gutter, please.)

Elizabeth Halsey (Diaz) is on the verge of living the high life. She’s just about to marry a super rich guy and wrap up a job she despises, working as a seventh grade teacher at John Adams High Middle School. Too bad after the “JAMS” team gives her a heartfelt goodbye and a gift certificate to Boston Market, her potential mother-in-law decides she’s had enough of Elizabeth’s money-hungry ways and convinces her son to call off the wedding. Now, Elizabeth has no choice but to return to John Adams, all her bitterness in tow.

On day one, Elizabeth has already completely given up, resorting to screening films rather than teaching her class. However, when she meets the new sub, Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake), she gets the motivation to actually do something while at work, win his heart so she can live happily ever after courtesy of the Delacorte family watch fortune. Unfortunately, Scott’s got eyes for Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch), the painfully peppy perfect teacher desperate to expose Elizabeth’s poor conduct.

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