First up is Paranormal Activity 4, the latest in the long-running horror franchise. While The Blair Witch Project introduced most modern audiences to the "Found Footage" genre, it was the Paranormal Activity series that popularized it to an insane degree, inspiring dozens of filmmakers to design their movies to be shot on hand-held camcorders and conveniently-placed security cams. The genre is cheap to produce and creates all but automatic moneymakers, but with all the lame copycats that have been released, only a few are really worth seeing. Until recently, the PA series was firmly in that group, especially after a very good prequel Paranormal Activity 3, by Catfish directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost. With both returning to direct the sequel, Paranormal Activity 4 had to do little more than promises of the same to meet my expectations.
|Paranormal Activity's first blond?|
|She's 15, so there's only so far I'll go with the sexual innuendo.|
Sleepwalk with Me. Never heard of it? Neither had I, but this gem was brought to my attention by Todd, who had heard of it off of one of her hometown radio stations. Formerly a one-man show by Massachusetts comedian Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk with Me is the truth-based story of Mike's struggles with becoming a successful stand-up comic, his relationship with his girlfriend, and a debilitating sleep condition that causes him to act out his dreams, often to his own detriment. Mike gradually manages to improve his conditions on all three fronts, and the film chronicles his journey towards success and happiness with hilarious results.
Probably the most shocking aspect of Birbiglia's tale is that the most outrageous details of the story are based on truth; Birbiglia really does suffer from rapid eye movement behavior disorder, which once caused him - in his sleep - to jump out of the second story of a motel while on a comedy tour (a leap which is chronicled in the film). Birbiglia's brutal honesty about his condition, as well as his self-depreciating approach to himself as a subject, is a main factor that the whole thing works so well. His inability to put himself on a pedestal connects him to the audience with ease, and it is this connection that allows him to be frank about the troubles he was getting into as a younger man.
|Is this the face of a sleepwalker?|
|Something bad is about to happen...|