Draft Day, Oculus – Movie Review

Draft DayDraft Day – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 11 Apr 2014

Kevin Costner plays Sonny Weaver, general manager of the Cleveland Browns football team during a very busy draft day. His girlfriend and colleague (Jennifer Garner) has just informed him that they will have a child. His father passed away the week before, and his mother (Ellen Burstyn) is choosing this of all days to scatter the ashes on the field.

The movie is completely telegraphed and not one moment comes across as genuinely surprising, heartfelt or particularly humorous. Director Ivan Reitman captures fairly good performances on this by-the-numbers sports movie script that shows every key moment in its trailer.

Fans of sports movies will likely not get much out of what is essentially a movie about people talking about the NFL draft rather than any games or much in the way of characters. The movie’s abrupt timeframe, taking place in a single day does not help with how trivial the whole thing feels. This isn’t another Moneyball, nor is it among Reitman or Costner’s best work. Throw a flag on the play and go see something more entertaining.

Cal and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car:

OculusOculus – R
Release Date: Fri 11 Apr 2014

Oculus is a competent haunted house style horror movie, with a supernatural mirror causing its victims to hallucinate. This leads to misunderstandings, accidental death and mutilation but not to a large body count or overly gory degree. Instead, the psychological element and the mystery of what is real vs. in the minds of the characters pull you into the experience to see whether the mirror or the people will prevail.

The story deftly weaves together two timelines. In one, a brother and sister are children watching as their parents begin behaving very strangely. In the other, they are fully grown adults. This allows some of the twists of the earlier timeline to be revealed right along with the present-day action, and the added mystery of which version of events is true changes minute to minute and sometimes, depending on the character as well.

Fans of movies like Insidious and The Conjuring will probably enjoy this, though it does seem to have a little bit less content and more of a focus on the four main family members (in the past) and the brother and sister in the present, making it feel a little smaller in scope and lower in stakes than those other movies. Still, it’s an effective psychological horror story that is intriguing all the way to the end.

Cal, Jeremiah and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car:


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