Little Joe

Little Joe

DVD - 2020
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Alice, a single mother, is a dedicated senior plant breeder at a corporation engaged in developing new species. She has engineered a very special crimson flower, remarkable not only for its beauty but also for its therapeutic value: if kept at the ideal temperature, fed properly and spoken to regularly, this plant makes its owner happy. Against company policy, Alice takes one home as a gift for her teenage son, Joe.
Publisher: Los Angeles, CA : Magnolia Home Entertainment, [2020]
Branch Call Number: MOVIE LITTLE
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (105 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
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Jul 27, 2020

The DVD cover brags "Fiendishly Unsettling" and "Masterful psychodrama."

I say, "Boring High-School Effort."

If you're going to "retread" an established sci-fi plot (vegetation as a threat to humanity; a la Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Day of the Triffids or even the musical, Little Shop of Horrors), you'd better be darn good. In this case: scary as heck, or at least genuinely funny. This is neither.

Instead, this movie is just ... pathetic. For some reason, (low budget?) the writer/director opted to "heighten suspense" or "provide atmosphere" through music bits on the soundtrack. Ham-handedly. Result: irritating, rather than suspenseful. It's tough to do that audio stuff--best example, sound work in Coppola's Apocalypse Now. (Which ironically, I'd watched a couple of days earlier--the difference is stunning).

Emily Beechham, for some reason, won Best Actress award at Cannes for her work in this movie. I can't understand why. No competition last year?

Mar 26, 2020

This movie combines elements of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Frankenstein, with a little bit of Manchurian Candidate thrown in. It's a horror story, but so extremely understated that the suspense is blunted for almost the entire movie. The approach works in a way, since we can't be sure, any more than the protagonist is, whether there's really a threat or if it's just silly overreaction to normal events. The production design - especially the interesting use of colour - and filming techniques are kind of fascinating, and add a great deal to the story. Interesting, but too low key to satisfy a real horror-story lover.


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