CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
Film Review: ‘As Above/So Below’ Scrapes Bottom of Barrel
CHICAGO – “As Above/So Below” is strictly the pits. It’s a found footage horror film set in the Paris catacombs that defies logic, and relentlessly keeps digging itself into a hole until it’s dragged everyone in the audience down with it. It’s a movie that starts at stupid and then somehow proceeds to get progressively dumber and dumber, until it’s completely nonsensical and insane – and not in a good way. It’s quite simply the longest 90 minutes I’ve spent in a theater all year.
By this point, the “found footage” horror genre has become as formulaic as a mad slasher movie. Its beats are familiar, its tropes increasingly annoying and ridiculous. It takes either a fresh new twist, or a master stylist to wring shocks out of this kind of premise, but “As Above/So Below” doesn’t even seem to be trying. It barely manages a single jump-scare.
Perdita Weeks stars as Scarlett, a sort of Indiana Jones-type “urban archeologist.” She’s continuing the sometimes quixotic quest of her father for the alchemists holy grail – it’s an ancient metal which, depending on the needs of the script at that particular moment, is either a stone with magical healing powers, or one that can turn ordinary metal into gold.
The quest drove her father to madness and then suicide, and she is determined to devote her life to the pursuit. She leads a documentary filmmaker, her skittish American friend (Ben Feldman), and a team of Parisian underground explorers down deep into the catacombs to look for the secret chamber full of treasure. But the catacombs quickly become a hall of horrors as they each enter the gates of their own personal hells thousands of feet beneath the Paris streets.
Down in the Depths: George (Ben Feldman) and Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) in As Above/So Below’
Photo credit: Universal Pictures