By George Rose
September 23, 2009
Girl with a Pearl Earring was adapted from a story by Tracy Chevalier and recounts the tale behind the creation of "Girl with a Pearl Earing," a painting by Johannes Vermeer. While little is known about the painting's actual origin, the movie claims the woman in the painting is Griet, a maid in Vermeer's house. The painting was commissioned by Van Ruijven, a man who wishes to have Griet for himself by the time the work is finished. Since Griet is only a maid without many options, she must help Vermeer complete the painting before his wife finds out, before Van Ruijven comes to claim Griet, before the town gossip begins to spread, and before their attraction can get the best of them. It's a very tense romance, though understandable given the time period. The 17th century wasn't easy for anyone and their cross-class love is no exception.
You won't laugh like you would with America's Sweethearts but you will be just as entertained. The scenery is beautiful, the acting is top notch (Johansson was nominated for a Golden Globe), and the faux-history is gripping. The painting it is all based off of seems so simple and elegant, yet the story behind it so complicated and heartbreaking. It was one of the films that really got me into going to independent movie theaters (I was 17 at the time, so indies were still new to me) and one that makes me wish Johansson would return to the genre that made her famous enough to strap on leather jumpsuits for a superhero role.
Santa's Slay (2005)
Some movies don't require a big budget, artistic direction or A-list actors to be entertaining. If they did, the porn industry would be bankrupt. So would the extremely cheesy, yet wonderfully ridiculous horror movie genre. The great thing about horror is that it's just like porn, just without the sex: you take a beloved concept and turn it on itself to make mock entertainment. After Pirates of the Caribbean became a smash hit, the porn industry made Pirates. When the horror industry saw that Halloween was their staple holiday, they came up with a movie that shares the same name. In fact, the recent release of H2 was a remake of the original's first Halloween sequel. There is no end to ripping off ideas and turning them into porn or horror franchises.
Just because Christmas is all about holiday cheer and gift giving doesn't mean it isn't ripe for the lewd picking. Put a Santa hat on a stripper and porn viewers will forget the very definition of the word "plot." It's so easy, anyone can write a script! Heck, there was already a horror movie about snow men called Jack Frost (the 1996 horror, not the 1998 Michael Keaton family film). With scary snow out of the way, there was only one other holiday figure to honor and turn into a horror icon: Santa! Santa's Slay is about... well, Santa... only this version says Santa was a demon that lost a bet to an angel 1,000 years ago. Because he lost the bet, he had to spend the next millennium being jolly and giving gifts, something only a demon would consider real punishment. Fast forward to modern day and the time limit is up. Santa exchanges reindeer for flying ox and candy canes for anything sharp or flammable that can kill all those on his list.