Now that Halloween and Election Day are behind us, it's just a slow burn until the holiday season kicks into high gear. With the sun now setting in the middle of the afternoon, having fewer items on the agenda is something I certainly welcome. Is it obvious that the dreariness that accompanies Daylight Savings Time has already begun to affect me? If you, too, need a shock to the system in order to stay awake after 5:30 p.m., follow my lead and scare the pants off yourself.
FEATURE FILM: "Paranormal Activity"
For those who are already afraid of the dark and leery of dark shadows near the bedroom door, "Paranormal Activity" will likely affect the ability to fall asleep peacefully for at least a few nights.
It's the final moments of the film that are truly scary. Until then, there are many moments that are similar to watching paint dry with the occasional creepy instance. It's a very slow build to the terrifying final scene - at times, painfully slow.
Katie and Micah are a young couple who recently began cohabitating in a San Diego home that seems too nice for two 20-somethings (one, a college student) to be able to afford. Katie has been haunted by an entity of some kind since her youth and when strange things begin to happen at her new home, Micah buys a camera to capture the ghost on film. The camera is set up at the foot of the bed before the couple turns in and with each night that passes, the entity stirs up more and more trouble. Ignoring Katie's pleas to avoid provoking the spirit, Micah goes out of his way to spur on the supernatural action. He's a complete jerk and I wanted to see him get what he deserved by the film's end.
Like "The Blair Witch Project," it's designed to seem like a true story, with title cards at the beginning and end alluding to the footage being real, part of an actual case being handled by the San Diego Police Department (disclaimers are in the fine print). The lack of end credits further implies that "Paranormal Activity" is nonfiction. In order to reinforce the "realism," we see parts of Katie and Micah's everyday life as well - having dinner, arguing, joking around. These scenes seemed to go on for far too long. The actors do a fine job of making it all seem authentic but I paid for a horror movie and wanted less talk and more haunting.
The pace picks up near the end of the movie as the haunting becomes more intense and the rift between Katie and Micah grows. When things finally go down in the last couple of minutes, I actually jumped out of my seat and heard a few of my fellow moviegoers scream. The last image is burned into my brain and will haunt my dreams for awhile.
Fans of scary movies who aren't into gore might enjoy the handful of thrills that "Paranormal Activity" offers. Most of the "activity" happens offscreen, with heavy footsteps and unexplained noises downstairs - which is why it only cost $15,000 to make and how the filmmakers are now filthy rich. Suffer through the dull moments and you will be rewarded with chills, constant paranoia and the need to sleep with the light on.
WHAT REALLY GRINDS MY GEARS
Expressing my vexation concerning this particular topic requires the admission of something which I am ashamed: I have dabbled in the inane Internet social networking site known as Facebook. Now that I've made my confession, I'll tell you what's really been bothering me: the narcissistic individuals who cannot go more than an hour without posting an update on their most recent thought or action. I don't care what you had for breakfast. Unless you have a devoted stalker on your friend list, it's safe to assume that no one cares.
Oftentimes, the true motive is communicating a certain message to one particular individual - perhaps a current object of affection, the friend-request of which was fraught with uncertainty; an ex-boyfriend whom you need to convince that you're having the time of your life (you're totally over him - you swear!), or a former high school friend that you secretly want to convince how successful and superior you are now. Why must your other "friends" suffer updates containing lyrics from an indie rock song?
Of course, no Facebook updates are actually necessary and it can be fun to find out what your pals are up to, but when it comes to up-to-the-second reports on your whereabouts and constant ambiguous scrawlings intended to reflect the innermost desires of your tortured soul - please, spare me.
"The Real Housewives of Orange County" return for more sunny California drama at 10 p.m. tonight on Bravo. A new housewife, Alexis Bellino, joins the gang for season five and since she's blonde, young and more attractive than the majority of the other housewives, the forecast is cattiness with a chance of backstabbing. I'm still hoping that Tamra and Gretchen finish what they started in the last season and finally rip out each other's extensions before this season concludes.
The "Mad Men" season finale will be on Sunday at 10 p.m. on AMC. How have we reached the finale so soon?! After several extra-juicy episodes and not nearly enough Joan Holloway, what kind of cliffhanger will Matthew Weiner leave us with this time? I don't see how episode 11 could possibly be topped.
Turner Classic Movies will pay tribute to Richard Burton on his birthday, Nov. 10, with five films beginning at 8 p.m. The first two, "The Taming of the Shrew" (1967) and "The V.I.P.s" (1963) at 10:15 p.m. star Burton and his better half, Elizabeth Taylor - the ultimate Hollywood power couple.
The Lakeshore Humane Society's annual "Picture Your Pet With Santa" fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Tractor Supply Co. on Vineyard Drive in Dunkirk. Pet owners can bring their pets to the store and have their pets' pictures taken with Santa Claus. Photos can then be purchased to benefit the work of the LHS to help orphaned animals.
Prices for the photographs are $6 for a 4 x 6 print, $8 for a 5 x 7 print or both for $12. Additional reprints and photo Christmas cards will be available for delivery within one week. Multiple pets and children are always welcome but no exotic animals, please. There will also be items for sale. More information can be found at www.lakeshorehumanesociety.org or call 672-1991.
There will be live music at 41 West each night this weekend, with Big Tone at 9 p.m. on Friday, New Traditional and Murphymen at 10 p.m. on Saturday, and Tara Graves from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
On Sunday in Rosch Recital Hall, Reggie Watkins with The Fredonia Jazz Ensemble with special guest Bruce Johnstone will perform hot jazz at 8 p.m., free and open to the public.
My fellow children of the '90s may recall the Hawaii season of "The Real World," the star of which was definitely the hard-partying Ruthie, who gamely cast her clothes aside and hopped into the pool within the first few minutes of the premiere episode. Ruthie Alcaide will visit SUNY Fredonia on Nov. 11 as keynote speaker for the college's first Diversity Day, with her presentation at 7 p.m. in the Williams Center Multipurpose Room. Other Diversity Day events will be held in the Williams Center throughout the day, beginning at noon.
April Diodato is an OBSERVER Staff Writer. Give her the dish on what's happening at firstname.lastname@example.org or 366-3000, Ext. 492.