Daily Archives: April 19, 2015

Unfriended – movie review

Unfriended is a film with a new take on the horror movie genre, and turns out  out to be a low budget hit. The events of the movie are all on line, and bring the consequences of cyber bullying to their ultimate extreme.

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The movie revolves around the on-line chat of a group of high school kids. They are all very tech-savvy, so they communicate simultaneously via Skype, text messages, phone calls and various other links built into their computers.

Unfriended 1

They are having typical  inane teenage chatter, until they notice that an internet troll has joined their group. No matter what technical steps they take, there seems to be no way to get rid of this unwanted visitor.

The troll also has a sick sense of humor. It claims to be Laura Barns; a girl from their high school who recently committed suicide after an disturbing video of her was posted on-line. This would-be “ghost” is back  to find out exactly who posted the video of Laura Barnes (played by Heather Sossaman) and take revenge.

The teenagers don’t believe for a minute that they are speaking to a ghost. However, they do understand that they are being attacked by a very real internet bully who has far more technical knowledge than all of them put together.

This bully starts attacking them in the same way Laura was attacked. The bully starts releasing to the group intimate truths about each of them.

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The main couple in the film are Blaire (played by Shelley Hennig) and Matt (played by Matthew Bohrer). They seem like a couple of real nice high school kids – until “Laura” starts releasing things about them which the couple never thought would be revealed.

This movie is great. It combines  traditional horror movie scares and sudden plot  twists, with the new and very real threat of being attacked on-line.

No one can watch this film without remembering that there have been a number of tragic cases of teenagers who have killed themselves after having been humiliated on-line.  In the old days, a bully was someone who came up and attacked you physically in a schoolyard.As bad as that was, at least you knew exactly who your attacker was.

In our new, on-line world, you can be attacked by anyone anywhere, even if you are just sitting at home just  trying to enjoy yourself on the computer. The worst part is that the attacker is a faceless anonymous force you cannot even strike back at. Sometimes the anonymous attacker is actually someone you had thought of as a Friend.

We give this movie Four Stars ****

Girl Coming In For A Landing – book review

Girl Coming In For A Landing is a wonderful book of poems by April Halprin Wayland, with illustrations by Elaine Clayton. It is subtitled “a novel in poems” since the poems describe one complete school year in the life of one young girl.

The girl is at that early stage in life where every experience is new and filled with emotions. Later in life it is easy for us forget just how dramatic the life of a young person actually is.

The schoolgirl who is the subject of the book,  is also working on developing her talent as a writer and poet. April Halprin Wayland’s poems give some of the best descriptions I have ever read about what it is like to be a writer. Her poem entitled simply, “Writing Poetry” describes the process as;

     “In the middle of the night

       I turn on my light

     then slowly peel

     off layers of me

     with the press of each key.”

These are poems of every day in the life of an ordinary girl, that remind us that no life is ordinary to the person actually living it.

Girl 1

A poem entitled “It Was Nice Kissing You” describes the devastating moment when the girl realizes the boy she is crazy about does not feel the same way about her.

  “Good-bye,’

I said.

It was nice kissing you.’

I just knew that all the space in the world

wouldn’t be enough for him

and as close as he could ever come

would never

be close enough for me.”

The illustrations by Elaine Clayton fit in perfectly with the poems. They are a combination of doodles and fantasy drawings that express the full range of jumbled emotions running through the girl’s mind.

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This is a beautiful book that reminds the reader of the vulnerability of those early school days. As we get older, we put up walls to protect us from potential emotional hurt. This book makes the reader remember that while those walls do their job, they also seal out some of the joy of life.