Tag Archives: movies

Scream Queens – The Best of the Best

30 Oct

Scream Queens

Halloween is tomorrow and my annual Halloween horror movie marathon is in full swing. Fact: I am a fan of the horror genre.   I blame it on my Mother – she always made Halloween so fun and magical when I was little. From costumes and trick-or-treating, to staying up late each year, vegging out on the living room floor, eating candy while watching Michael Myers. I grew up thinking horror movies were fun.

One of my earliest memories is watching The House of Long Shadows starring the fantastic Vincent Price. Granted, this is probably one of my earliest memories because it scared the ever living crap out of me and scarred me for life. Nevertheless, I love me some scary movies. Particularly the cheesy nineteen-eighties films like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and my absolute favorite, Halloween. Since it’s that time of year again, I’d like to dedicate this blog post to all the classic Scream Queens of the silver screen.

Neve Campbell – Scream series

Neve Campbell Scream

Scream was released in 1996, a time when good horror movies were few and far between. When it was released, Scream took the world by surprise, reinventing the slasher film genre by none other than Wes Craven – the man who helped build it more than a decade earlier. Neve Campbell portrayed Sidney Prescott, a high school student who is targeted by a crazed, knife-weilding murderer known as Ghostface. Sid and her friends battle the murderer(s) while learning the “rules” of horror movies, which include (according to Randy): “1. You can never have sex. The minute you get a little nookie–you’re as good as gone. Sex always equals death. 2. Never drink or do drugs. The sin factor. It’s an extension of number one. And 3. Never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, say ‘I’ll be right back.'”

Scream movie poster

I will never forget seeing this movie in the theater when it came out and it is still one of my all-time favorite movies. Fans will always remember that creepy voice asking “What’s your favorite scary movie?” at the opening of the film. And Sidney is my top choice for Scream Queen in terms of what a good horror heroine should entail – she was a good girl who was determined to stay alive at any cost. Campbell went on to star in all four additional Scream movies, all of which were note-worthy horror films – something that rarely happens in the world of sequels.

Heather Langenkamp – A Nightmare on Elm Street series

Heather Langenkamp

In 1984 we were introduced to one of the most recognizable monsters of all time, known for his striped sweater, stylish hat, burned face and of course, the infamous knife hands – Freddy Krueger. The lead in A Nightmare on Elm Street was a character called Nancy Thompson, played by Heather Langenkamp. Nancy was a high school student (starting to notice a trend here with horror movie leads…) who, along with her friends, begins experiencing horrific dreams that are all too real, starring none other than Freddy himself. As her friends are killed off one by one in the most gruesome of ways, it’s up to Nancy to stay awake and figure out how to take down Freddy. Langenkamp went on to star as Nancy in 2 sequels –  A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Sadly though, her reign as a Scream Queen came to an end in Dream Warriors when Freddy finally caught up to her. But then she comes back in New Nightmare. Go figure. RIP, Nancy.

Nightmare On Elm Street

Linda Blair – The Exorcist series

Linda Blair

What do I say about this next Queen? She starred in one of the most scary movies of all time – The Exorcist. Linda Blair portrayed 12 year old Regan, a little girl who is possessed by a very, very evil demon while her mother is forced to helplessly watch. Regan endures some pretty sick torture by the demon possessing her, things involving crucifixes and pea soup that I don’t wish to repeat. And then there’s the head-spinning horror of the actual exorcism performed by the priests.

 

 

The Exorcist movie poster

Linda Blair starred in the sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic, which follows Regan years later, where she finds that some of the evil that once possessed her still lives inside her. All I can say is, if you don’t want to be thoroughly creeped out and not be able to sleep at night, absolutely do not watch these movies.

Jamie Lee Curtis – Halloween series

Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween

And finally, we come to my all-time favorite Scream Queen – Jamie Lee Curtis herself. Halloween was released in 1978 and starred Curtis, in her first movie role, as Laurie Strode, an awkward teenage girl who got stuck babysitting some neighbor kids on Halloween. Poor Laurie had no idea that her psychotic, long-lost brother, Michael Myers, would decide to come get his kicks by killing all of her friends and coming for her in the end. But Laurie kept her wits about her and was determined to live and keep those kids safe! She fought back (with a coat hanger to the eye) and made it to the sequel! Halloween II picked up right where Halloween ended – following Laurie to the hospital after her traumatic fight for survival. But once at the hospital, Michael rises from the dead in the  morgue and goes on another killing spree.

Halloween

 

Jamie Lee survived the hospital too, and went on to appear in two other Halloween films – Halloween H2O, which also starred Josh Hartnett and Michelle Williams, where she played Laurie as a mother and head mistress of a boarding school. Of course Michael comes for her there and she now has to protect her son and some kids at the school. (This one was also one of my faves!) And sadly, Jamie Lee’s reign as Screen Queen came to an end in Halloween: Resurrection in 2002, where Michael finally catches her in a mental hospital – where she has stowed herself so he couldn’t get to her. I gotta say, I was pretty upset when they killed her off. But Halloween isn’t the only horror movie Jamie Lee is known for. She also starred in such films as Prom Night, Terror Train and The Fog. I think she will always be the ultimate Scream Queen.

So, what’s your favorite scary movie? 

Happy Halloween!

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Book vs. Movie – “Beautiful Creatures”

1 May

Beautiful Creatures Book Cover

Since I love to both read and watch movies, I’m going to do another book vs. movie review! This time I chose a Young Adult novel that my best friend and I recently read, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Let’s begin with the book…

Our narrator is 16-year-old Ethan Wate, who lives in the small Southern town of Gatlin, South Carolina. Ethan is haunted by a recurring dream where he is desperately trying to save a girl, whose face he can not see. He doesn’t know who she is or why he’s dreaming this but he is so drawn to her and feels he would do anything for this beautiful stranger. Ethan’s mother died last year and his father has been cooped up in his study “writing” ever since, leaving Ethan to be looked after by their superstitious, grandmotherly housemaid, Amma.

The people of Gatlin’s favorite pastimes include attending church and participating in the annual re-enactment of the town’s historic Civil War battle, complete with Confederate soldier costumes and big antebellum dresses. (The authors goes on to paint the perfect picture of small-minded, Bible beating hypocrites for us.) At Jackson High School, where Ethan attends as a Junior, you are either on the inside or the outside with the popular group, and Ethan has recently broken up with his cheerleader girlfriend, thus leaving him dangerously close to being on the outside. But he doesn’t mind much as he longs for something more than a close-minded life in Gatlin. Ethan immerses himself in books that take him far away and applies to colleges anywhere and everywhere outside of Gatlin, which he sees as his ticket out of there.

But the peace in Gatlin is disturbed when Macon Ravenwood’s (the town’s alleged “Boo Radley”) niece, Lena, comes to live with him. As all of the town’s people consider Macon and his kin to be Satanists (told you these people are small-minded), when Lena Duchannes shows up at Jackson High…it ain’t pretty, y’all. She is quickly outcast and everyone’s fears are fueled by a strange incident that occurs at school – suddenly all of the windows are blown out in the classroom while Lena is being publicly ridiculed by the other students – causing mass chaos in their quiet little town.

On his way home from school that day in a severe thunderstorm, Ethan almost runs someone over in the road only to find out it is Lena Duchannes. He offers her a ride home and quickly learns she isn’t as bad as everyone thinks. The two begin to spend more and more time together and Ethan soon finds out that Lena and her family are more different than he could have ever imagined. They are “Casters” and all have special powers – kind of like witches. Ethan and Lena fall in love and he realizes Lena is the girl from his strange, recurring dream. This is when it starts to get real good.

Her 16 th birthday is rapidly approaching, and we find out Lena is in grave danger as she nears her “claiming”, where every Caster female is claimed as either a Light or a Dark Caster on her 16 th birthday, regardless of what they wish to choose. (Obvs a Light Caster is good and a Dark one is evil.) Since all of the females in Lena’s family have been claimed Dark, she fears she will follow in their footsteps and become a monster who will no longer recognize or care for Ethan, and could possibly even hurt him.

There are so many other little interesting elements to this story that I will briefly summarize: there is an underground Caster Library where Ethan finds out his mother worked as a “Keeper” of Caster records; Ethan’s maid and grandmotherly figure Amma turns out to have supernatural powers of her own and can communicate with spirits; Ethan and Lena find a locket that when they touch transports them to the Civil War where they observe Lena’s ancestor bring her dead lover back to life (whose name also happens to be Ethan Wate…mmm hmmm) with a powerful Dark cast, thus cursing all future females in her family to be claimed as Dark Casters. And then there’s Lena’s evil, estranged mother, Sarafine, who is so desperate to have Lena join her on the Dark side that she is willing to harm Ethan in the process.

All in all the book was very intriguing and had a climactic, exciting ending that left me eager to read the second book, which I am currently reading. There are four books in the “Caster Chronicles” and I am looking forward to reading each one.

Beautiful Creatures book review – 7/10

Beautiful-Creatures

When I heard there was a movie based on the book I was excited to see it as I obviously love reading a book and then watching it’s characters come to life before me on the big screen. As we all know though, not every movie adaptation turns out as well as fans of the book would hope. Unfortunately, this was the case for me with the movie Beautiful Creatures. Here’s my review of the movie…

The movie starts out with Ethan’s dream so I’m thinking, “ok this is good, they’re following the book already!” but I soon realized that was one of the few things that would be exactly like the book in this film. Ethan, played by Alden Ehrenreich, definitely lets the audience know the film is set in the South with an overwhelmingly Southern accent. (Side-note –  It makes me absolutely sick how the media portrays ALL Southerners as having this insanely twangy country accent in any movie set in the Southeast. Hello! We’re not all rednecks! Ok I’m done now.) Amma is introduced, played by Viola Davis, a much younger version of the grandmotherly figure we get from the book, and Lena is played by Alice Englert, who perfectly captures what I imagined Lena would be like in my mind while reading Beautiful Creatures (I love it when that happens). Uncle Macon is also spot on and played by the great Jeremy Irons, and I honestly can’t picture anyone else in the role.

Ethan & Lena

Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert as Ethan & Lena

Things in the movie get tricky as we jump around from scene to scene, and plot twists from the book are revealed to us in a somewhat distorted way. I found myself confused and saying “that’s not what happens in the book!” a lot throughout the film. For example, Lena’s family in the movie are not at all what we have come to know in the book. In the film they are almost comical and do not come across at all as they do in the book – like supernatural beings who you do not want to mess with. Take the character of Ridley (Lena’s cousin who is a Dark Caster) for example. She is supposed to have a hot pink streak in her hair, wear extremely short school-girl skirts and is constantly sucking on a lollipop (which drives all of the men wild) but she’s quite the opposite in the movie. Yes she is seductive, but played by Emmy Rossum, Ridley in the movie is dark, regal and sophisticated – nowhere near Valley-Girl-evil enough! And then there’s Larkin, Lena’s other cousin, who plays a very big role in the book with a huge twist at the ending. In the movie he is just an afterthought with only two scenes and plays no significant role to the plot.

Beautiful Creatures Ridley

Emmy Rossum as Ridley. Where is your lollipop, Rid?!

There were other disappointments as far as plot changes including a character being completely left out of the movie, the lack of Kelting – a special and very rare ability Lena and Ethan share that enables them to communicate with each other without speaking (I felt that leaving this out made it harder for the audience to understand just how close their relationship is), and the ending was totally different than the book ending.

beautiful-creatures-still-amma-ethan

Alden Ehrenreich and Viola Davis as Ethan & Amma

beautiful-creatures-stills-macon-lena-ethan

Jeremy Irons as Macon Ravenwood

beautiful-creatures-stills-lena-larkin

Alice Englert and Kyle Gallner as Lena & Larkin

Overall, the movie was entertaining and did feature some pretty cool special effects, but if they hadn’t read the book I don’t think the viewer would fully appreciate this bewitching and intriguing Caster world. I do not think they will be making a sequel or carrying on with four movies to match the books, as the estimated overall budget of the movie was $60 million and it only brought in $19 million in theaters (source). It will be released on DVD May 21, and may have more success as a rental.

Beautiful Creatures movie review – 5/10

If you have read Beautiful Creatures and/or seen the movie, leave me a comment with your thoughts! I would love to hear how others thought the movie compared to the book, or just what you thought of either one in general!

Alright Breaking Dawn, Let’s Get This Over With

9 Nov

Five years ago I read a book that had been getting a lot of attention and sounded right up my alley: an introverted teenage girl falls for a God-like, mysterious young man only to find out he and his whole family are vampires, and that he is absolutely in love with her and would do anything to keep her alive. Forbidden love, supernatural elements, suspense and did I mention the God-like vampire? What’s not to like? Thus began my love affair with the Twilight books. And a year later the movie came out which was just ok, but I let that slide because it was so exciting to see one of my favorite books come to life on the big screen. Now, four years later we will finally see this movie butchering franchise come to an end with Breaking Dawn Part 2, which comes out next Friday.

I loved all of the books (Breaking Dawn wasn’t my fave), and have been giddy like a school girl going to see each Twilight movie on opening day. Heck, I even had an Eclipse pre-party at my house when the movie came out, complete with “blood” punch and Twilight trivia and prizes. Aren’t we cute?

Yes, I actually have a shirt that says “I’d rather be in Forks”.

But I’m about to get real honest here…I’m ready for all the Twilight hype to come to an end. Yes, the movies are exciting and for some reason keep me coming back for more, but it seems like I end up criticizing each movie more and more.  Maybe it’s just that I loved the books so much and don’t feel like the films live up to them, or maybe it’s that the media focus has been more on Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart’s off-screen romance than on the actual movies. This is just my opinion and I realize this is an extremely sore subject with a lot of girls (please don’t hate me, Twi-hards!), but here are a few of my biggest pet peeves with the Twilight films.

The Acting

The only thing that has kept me hanging on in each movie is Taylor Lautner’s portrayal of Jacob (Team Jacob!) and I feel like he’s the only one with real talent amongst the cast. Everyone else just seems so hokey to me and do NOT get me started on Kristen Stewart’s acting skills. Her go-to moves include a lot of blinking, shaking her head, sighing and stuttering. See example below:

And Jackson Rathbone as Jasper is pretty much the master of what I like to call “Face Acting”. If there was an award for looking intense/suspicious/confused all the time, this guy would win it.

What is his face?

The Make-Up

In her novels Stephenie Meyer describes the Cullens as perfect creatures, fantasy-like and absolutely beautiful. The idea is, once you become a vampire your features are enhanced to the utmost beauty, making you irresistible to any living person. The Cullens live among regular humans in Forks, WA and while everyone is drawn to their stunning beauty, no one seems to suspect them of being “undead”. In the movies however, the makeup department went a little overboard with the white face paint and the contacts. I guess their goal was to make it clear to the audience which ones are actual people are which are vampires? I’m sorry but if I saw people who looked like this in real life I would be more than a little suspicious.

I do think that all of the actors in the Twilight movies are beautiful people. I do not think, however, that their makeup is very believable.

The Media Hype

At first it was ok. I was glued to my television watching all the specials that came on when the first Twilight movie was released in 2008, and was chomping at the bit to go see the movie. But now it’s gotten a little bit out of control.  And by out of control I mean I fear for those poor people’s lives at every premiere they go to. I mean, the actors went from being nobodies (Robert Pattinson will always be Cedric Diggory to me, though) to superstars overnight and are hunted down everywhere they go by crazed fans who practically foam at the mouth at the chance to ask them to please “bite them”.

Having said all that, I do plan on going to see Breaking Dawn Part 2 next weekend with my BFF and I am absolutely certain we will squeal like five year olds in the theater and I seriously can’t wait. I guess everyone has a guilty pleasure.

Are you ready for the Twilight Saga to be over? Take my poll below!

Quick Chick Flick: “P.S. I Love You”

7 Nov

As you probably know already, I am a sucker for a good chick flick. I will stop everything and sit down to watch a good movie (which I have already seen like five times) that makes me bawl my eyes out like a crazy person, knowing I am just going to end up bawling again if I watch it. This very thing happened to me this past Sunday afternoon. I had a list of things I needed to do and had a firm plan of action, but when I noticed that P.S. I Love You was coming on in the background, all my plans flew out the window. Two hours and half a box of Kleenex later I finally got around to starting my day. Here’s my quick review of this wonderful chick flick.


If you haven’t seen P.S. I Love You, I highly recommend it. It’s a great story about life, relationships and a wonderful lesson on not taking the people you love for granted.  Holly (Hillary Swank) is married to Gerry (Gerard Butler), an extremely hot Irish man and they are living the dream in New York City. They have everything anyone could ever want – a great apartment in the city, good friends, a fun social life, and each other. But that is not enough for Holly and we find out within the first ten minutes of the film she is struggling with finding out what to do with her life. She wants to have a baby but thinks they need to live in a better place to raise a family, she is not happy with her current job and she hasn’t figured out what she wants to do with her career.  Sound like some of the things we stress about, girls? Gerry proceeds to cheer his wife up by saying all the right things and even dancing a little jig for her in his boxers (drool), making us love him that much more.


Fast forward to several months later and everyone is gathering at a wake… Gerry’s wake. I know, right?? Cue the tears. Sadly, our beloved Gerry has passed away from a brain tumor, and of course Holly is absolutely devastated. She spends weeks alone in their apartment doing things like calling his cell phone just to hear his voice on the outgoing message, smelling his clothes in the closet and wearing his shirts and boxers. I’m going to warn you, it’s really sad and is a harsh reminder that anyone can be gone in the blink of an eye, even the ones we love most. But on her 30th birthday when all of her friends come over and surprise her, Holly receives an unexpected gift: a letter from Gerry.

He wrote her the letter before he died and in it tells her he wants her to get all dolled up and go out with her girlfriends to celebrate her dirty thirty in style. He also tells her that she will receive another letter the next day. And, just as he promised, she starts receiving letters from Gerry regularly with assignments, if you will, of things that he wants her to do. He even planned and made arrangements for her and her friends to travel to Ireland, where they first met and fell in love. As she reads each letter and carries out Gerry’s wishes for her, she reflects on their life together and begins to come to terms with her loss.

The letters are Gerry’s last gift to Holly, helping her cope, heal and even find herself along the way. Watching the movie, you are taken on an emotional roller coaster as you laugh out loud and cry, of course. (Oh come on, who doesn’t love a good cry every now and then?) P.S. I Love You is one of my favorite movies, and always makes me try to imagine myself in Holly’s shoes for just a minute, wondering how in the world I would survive if something like that happened to me. It leaves me feeling thankful for the people I love and reminds me to cherish the time I have with them. And that’s a good thing to be reminded every now and then.

What movies make you cry every time you watch them? Do you have any favorite chick flicks? 

Quick Chick Flick: “Footloose” (2011)

15 Aug

This weekend I finally got around to watching the new Footloose movie. I’ve been saying I wanted to see it since it came out last year, but being the original 1984 Footloose lover that I am, I was extremely hesitant. I just knew this remake would be a letdown. And although it definitely wasn’t as good as the original, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. If you’re a fan of the original Footloose like me or just a dance movie lover, I would definitely recommend this movie.

 The movie follows high school senior Ren (played by Kenny Wormald), who transfers to the small Georgia town of “Bomont” (I thought the original took place in Texas, but I could have just imagined that) from Boston when he comes to live with his aunt and uncle after losing his mother to Leukemia.  He meets and instantly is attracted to the local “wild child” and preacher’s daughter, Ariel (Julianne Hough), and also befriends the lovable Willard (Miles Teller), who is a big source of comedic relief in the film. Ren is taken aback by the town’s strict laws for teenagers which include a nightly curfew of 10:00 pm, a ban on dancing and on listening to rock and roll or loud music. These laws are the result of a car accident that took the lives of several high school seniors (including Ariel’s only brother) after a party three years earlier. The town elders blame the party’s dancing and music for the deaths of the teens, hence the ban on all things fun to teenagers in Bomont. But of course the teenagers rebel against the laws and always find a way to sneak in a dance montage at the local diner or blast some music out in the Georgia countryside.

Part of the reason I liked the remake was because (almost) everything was exactly like the original. I even wondered at one point if the movie was line for line the same. They kept all of the good songs from the original like “Holding Out For A Hero”, “Let’s Hear It For The Boy”, “Almost Paradise”, “Dancing In The Sheets” and of course the title track “Footloose”. Most of the songs were remade by modern artists but they found a way to mix almost all of the old songs in at some point throughout the movie. Also, I was floored when I saw that the wardrobe for the final Prom scene was identical to what the characters wore in the 1984 version. Ariel in her light pink, ruffly, chiffon dress and Ren in his cute maroon with black trim blazer. Classic!

The film did have some differences from the original, though, like the focus on the relationship  between Ren and his deceased mother, which I don’t remember being in the original. Also, Ren had a major Boston accent in the remake (Kenny Wormald is actually from Boston) and Kevin Bacon sure didn’t talk like that in the original. The dancing was of course more modern which means there was way more grinding on the dance floor in this one than in the original (kids these days). But the biggest disappointment for me was the infamous scene where Ren dances in the warehouse to relieve all of his pent-up stress and anger. You know which one I’m talking about, ladies. Here is the original scene in all of its Totally Awesome 80’s glory.

 

Does it get any better than that? I just don’t think so. So that I don’t spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t yet seen the movie (has anyone really NOT seen Footloose??) I will only say it was exactly like the original, which is pretty much the best part of the movie. Overall, the movie was enjoyable but if you haven’t seen either movie, watch the original.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to go turn on some Kenny Loggins and shout “LET’S DANCE”!

Quick Chick Flick – Father’s Day Edition

15 Jun

As many of you already know, Sunday is Father’s Day. And if you didn’t already know that, then shame on you! Father’s Day is the one day of the year devoted to good ‘ol Dad – the man who tucked you in every night when you were little and checked under your bed for monsters; the man who can fix anything and who you always turn to first for car advice.  Dads play a huge role in our lives, and it’s only natural that they get a day of recognition for all that they do.

Some of the all-things-manly festivities that will be happening across the nation this weekend include backyard barbecuing, sports watching, couch lounging and beer drinking. However, being the girly-girl that I am, I of course had to squeeze something into all of the hoopla that the females would appreciate, too. How about piling up on the couch with the fam and watching a father-friendly chick-flick movie!? Here are some choices that are guaranteed to channel some fatherly love.

Father of the Bride

 

Three Men and a Baby

 

Mr. Mom

 

Big Daddy

 

National Lampoon’s Vacation

 

The Lion King

 

Mrs. Doubtfire

 

Cheaper By The Dozen

 

Taken

Do you have any other Father’s Day inspired flicks to add to this list? Leave a comment below with your suggestion! 

Character Fashion Inspiration: The Women of “Dark Shadows”

20 May

Yesterday I went to see Dark Shadows with my mom and my hubby, and I absolutely loved it! I can remember watching reruns of the original series with my mom and sister when I was a little girl. We watched again in 1991 when NBC remade the series, which unfortunately lasted only one season. Dark Shadows reminds me of my childhood and no doubt played a big part in the development of my love for scary movies and tv shows!

I thought Tim Burton’s remake was hilarious and definitely captured the spooky, sexy, and vintage feel of the series. Of course the star of the film was Johnny Depp as the vampire Barnabas Collins (he was so good) but the other cast members also drew the audience in with their mysterious and quirky behavior. With the film taking place in 1972 the costume and set directors were tasked with recreating a super groovy and mod atmosphere, complete with vintage cars, furniture and of course, clothes.

The fashion of Dark Shadows was right on and being the vintage lover that I am, I was thrilled with the women’s fashion of the film. Here are my recreations, by character, of the women of Dark Shadows.

Josette / Victoria had my favorite style in Dark Shadows. She dressed young and sweet, always looking feminine.

Carolyn was the classic 70’s teenager whose favorite pastime was brooding in her room while listening to rock and roll.

Elizabeth was glamorous and always seemed to be wearing an evening dress, no matter what time of day it was. I loved how she was kind of the “glue” that kept the family together, keeping all their dark secrets. Oh, and don’t forget the macrame!

Dr. Julia had a no-nonsense attitude and a style to match. She always seemed to have a bit of a hangover and I imagine her favorite accessories are her oversized sunglasses and cigarette case.

Angelique was the villain of the story and her style was fierce and edgy, always sexy with a hint of wickedness.

Did you see Dark Shadows yet? Which character’s fashion would you wear today? 

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