The Signal” is a weird ride.  It’s a gory horror movie lacking plentiful scares and, in its stead, substituting a quirky playfulness about the dire situation.

The story seems like a straightforward scary flick – an end-of-the-world disaster scenario, where the lovers escape amidst slaughter and sprinkling blood.  This is not really what you get, though.  With a dark humor, the story detours deeper into the psychotic world of the crazed killers.

The Plot Goes Haywire

This is how the story goes – a signal comes over televisions, radios and other transmitting devices.  It’s a psychedelic, colorful, moving static across the screen with a technological, unpredictable sound.  Everyone who experiences the signal has a hidden switch turned on in their brain, a primal urge to kill and conquer.

One of the main characters, a controlling husband suspecting his wife of cheating, is afflicted by the static and sounds and hunts down his runaway wife, to possibly kill her.  As he is exposed even more to this signal, he enters an alternate state of mind, talking to himself and seeing his wife’s face everywhere.

The movie turns very odd when he walks into a long scene with a strange pair: a perky perfectionist who killed her crazed husband during the events but continues to obsessively plan her New Year’s party as if the day is like any other, and her helpful, jolly landlord who copes with throwing out everyday politeness and personal virtues in the name of survival.  As the woman blows up balloons, serves cocktails and imagines dancing with her dead husband, it seems we’ve officially entered a crazy world and may have accidentally started watching another movie (this is where the out-of-place dark humor arrives, almost like an intermission).

The plot becomes even harder to follow as we realize that the characters increasingly hallucinate, making it difficult to determine what’s real.  One moment, we see a man’s skull bashed in and cracked open, then we see him get up without injury.

Enjoy The Crazy Ride

It may not be seamless, but I have to admit, the oddball humor and hallucinations kept me watching so I could figure out where it was all going.  And I’m still not sure, though.

We don’t know what the signal is, who sent it or why, and we don’t know what happens after the lovers reunite, both fully exposed to the signal and losing their minds.

But then again, we never really get to know a lot about the characters.  Like a casual date, it’s all thrills and chills, not intimate and open.  So, without this investment in our relationship with the characters, it’s okay not knowing what happens to them afterwards.

“The Signal” is like an unusual theme park ride where you drift through dirty water into a plastic cave and watch animatronic creatures move around – you ride, you have fun, you get off, and you move on to the next ride.  It’s a good watch if you’re looking for something new on Netflix, nothing more.

The Signal Trailer (U.S. trailer: The Signal)

Niagra Falls Rainbow

Niagra Falls Rainbow

 

Illumination – what a perfect word for reaching into your past, finding out who you are and letting it alter your future.  Adapted from Lieve Schreiber’s novel, Everything Is Illuminated stars Elijah Wood as a man in search of his Jewish family history in Ukraine.

If Roger Ebert likes it, somehow I know I’ll agree with the 69-year-old film critic.  The well-reviewed 2005 flick is a wacky representation of cultures and a bumbling yet whimsical journey.  The characters exude personalities bigger, quirkier and cheekier than a Broadway show.

After his grandparents die, Jonathan, a young, hopeful and eccentric man, hires a Ukrainian family business that guides tourists as they track down their Jewish family ties in Ukraine.  The owner’s candid son, anti-semitic father and “seeing-eye-bitch” dog take him through the undeveloped countryside fields in a cramped car.  In the end, irony takes center stage as the Ukrainian family’s own Jewish history is illuminated.

The film underlines the importance of discovering and understanding history in order to become the person you’re supposed to be.  Jonathan  “the collector” scoops up dirt, bugs and other mundane objects and pins the bags of mementos on a wall, preserving and treasuring his memories.  Another older, Jewish woman he meets also collects memories and stores them in stacks of boxes.  Their odd passion lends a lesson in embracing the past, whether sad or beautiful, because it will always remain.  The film shows that no one can completely erase or escape their mistakes, but anyone can grow from them – it all depends on your choices.

“…everything is illuminated in the light of the past. It is always along the side of us, on the inside, looking out.”

Need help discovering your past?  Uncover unconscious present obstacles rooted in your past.

Breathe Me Remix

Joga Remix

Thank You Remix

Unpretty Remix

Hide and Seek Remix

Ramona Pinot Grigio

Autographed Ramona Pinot Grigio

When you become a reality show character, never bow out without a product line.  The Real Housewives of New York City’s Ramona Singer certainly minds her share of mini businesses but none as fitting as her new pinot grigio.  If packaged as a doll, no doubt a wine bottle and glass would be included to accessorize her.  Not only can we  now purchase her weapon of choice among pinot grigios, but we can also have a “ra-moment.”

Her Italian wine, with surprisingly only 12% alcohol content, goes with everything but not in a great way.  Too safe, not crisp enough, it leaves no impression beyond the name.  For a more memorable wine, get it autographed at a bottle signing.

At a Georgia signing, where I met her recently, she casually sat at a tasting bar while fans gazed at her with tasting glasses.  Very professional and polite, yet obviously tired, Ramona appeased all her fans with a signature and a photo.  Like her on Facebook to see where she tours her wine next (Virginia’s in line) or find stores.

Ramona Singer Bottle Signing

Ramona Singer Bottle Signing