Category Archives: Film Posts

Halloween Costumes and Being Fashionably Appropriate

For once it’s about time that people focused on clever costuming for Halloween rather than trashy or vulgar ones.  Yes, dressing up as a cat in a piece of spandex that leaves nothing to the imagination is sexy and tempting but it’s also passe.  Why not try something thought provoking or uncanny instead?  Wouldn’t you rather someone say: Wow that is the best idea for a costume I’ve ever seen! or even, Do you remember that one girl dressed as Princess Diana last night? She looked just like her!  It’s far nicer to look good AND get a compliment for your cleverness than to just have people staring at you because you’re nearly naked.

Although, as adults, trick-or-treating is not a reality – unless you are chaperoning your children – the adult Halloween party is.  In the past I have seen some amazing costumes that left me jealous and bitter because I felt incredibly unoriginal.  The costumes that have topped my list as show-stoppers were:

1. Beetlejuice – for a moment I honestly believed Michael Keaton was standing in front of me.

2. Cloudy with a Chance of Rain – A man in a blue jump suit with cotton balls stuck to it was running around the room with a squirt bottle, spritzing everyone who asked what he was suppose to be.  It was a great play on words.

3. The Scottish Duo – A man dressed as a traditional Scotsman (Kilt, viking beard and all) and his female companion was dressed as a sheep. Yes, it’s vulgar to some degree but it was incredibly funny when you discovered they had arrived together and many people needed the costumes to be explained. Even better.

A great Halloween costume can be a good way to break the ice with people and get a conversation going.  Turning a phrase like “Cloudy with a Chance of Rain” into a costume is brilliant and seven years later – I still remember it!  The more creative you get the better your chances of winning a contest or making a splash at a party.  While dressing up as C3PO or a Star Trek away team will look neat, it’s pretty common.  Think outside the box.  Consider imitating real people (past or present) or consider going as a duo or group.

Some great duos or teams you could imitate are;

  • The Scooby-Doo crew or any combination of the characters
  • A Matador and his/her Bull
  • Prince William and The Duchess (Kate Middleton)
  • The Avengers (their true selves or the superhero versions)
  • Bella and Edward
  • The Harry Potter Kids or Teachers

The options for Halloween costumes are only limited by your imagination and I think it’s time to really put those imaginations to work.  You are not five years old anymore, being a witch, cowboy, vampire, cat or zombie is no Imagelonger acceptable unless you plan to step it up a notch.  If you insist on being a vampire than you should go all out and model yourself after the Volturi (creepy red contact lenses, long hair and all) or if you insist on being a Witch then you better be going overboard in your resemblance to Angelica Houston in Witches or Michelle Pfiefer at her worst in Stardust! Make it memorable and have fun.

Halloween has become an excuse to dress inappropriately and act inappropriately – it’s lost all sense of it’s ghoulish nature and I think that is sad.  Bring Halloween back to it’s true splendor by really dressing up in a fantastical way.  Having children is no excuse either; kids like to go out and if you are going with them then you should get in the spirit and enjoy it with them.  You may think a young child who is unable to walk is a hindrance to getting costumed or taking your other kids out – this is not so.  Incorporate your infant into your costume.  If you have ever seen the original Total Recall film then you can turn yourself, your infant and a baby harness into that freaky being “Kuato” that is coming out of the man’s guys chest and whispers “Quaaaaaaaid.”  It’s really easy if you put your mind to it and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

The road map to deciding on the perfect costume.

1. Decide if you are going solo or as part of a duo/group.

2. Choose whether your goal is to be frightening, clever or funny.

3. Stipulate your budget.

4. Do some research that includes shuffling through proverbs, character lists, literary characters and figures of speech. See what you like and then run with it!

Good luck and Happy Halloween!

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Intruders is Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

Have you seen this film? I realize it was released in 2011 and perhaps I’m a little late in this review…Image

Here’s the thing about scary movies; there is a right and a wrong way to do them. Many horror movies go too far and by that I mean, they start with scary and then push it too unbelievable.  Once something exits the realm of “Possible” it no longer retains the scary factor because our ability to suspend disbelief is compromised.  You can’t plant a story-line in  the real-world and then part way through switch to fantasy or supernatural and expect the audience to stay with you.

Good examples of this would be, Jeepers Creepers, the first one has you believing that this sadistic very creepy man is chasing down two teens.  It’s very scary because it’s possible, completely plausible in our every day lives – there are murders everywhere. However, half way through the film you discover that it’s not a man but a winged demon. This ruins the initial fear the film instills because it just exited real and became supernatural so we no longer feel that we are actually in danger. This does not apply to the second installment of Jeepers Creepers because we know he is a demon and the film is based around that supernatural concept – it does not flip-flop between two different planes.

Another film that blows it in this way is Insidious.  Insidious had the potential to be a very scary movie but once they crossed over into the unbelievable insanity of the dream world or “The further” the movie began to skirt the borders of ridiculous.

The key to a brilliant and effective scary movie (horror/thriller) is to make the audience feel like it could happen to them.  This is where Intruders really hit the nail on the head.  The film focuses around a little boy and a little girl in two different parts of the world but both are dealing with the same scary figure named “Hollowface.” Depending on the copy of the movie you see there may or may not be subtitles; the little boy’s story is told in Spanish but what I came to appreciate was that the conversations going on in Spanish are not relevant.  The movie wants you to focus on the atmosphere and the scene its self – not the dialogue.  It is easy to determine what is generally being said anyway, so don’t fret when you find that you cannot keep up with the dialogue.

This film sort of plays on your typical imaginary boogeyman figure, which may not seem scary, but the fear really comes into play when you realize that adults see it too and you start to wonder if Hollowface is a real person or not. This film never gets too crazy, although there is plenty of spooky imagery and it plays on many natural fears; like being afraid of the dark, having your home burglarized while your in it, losing a child or having a child attacked etc. This film consistently keeps it’s feet planted in reality which, in my opinion, makes the film actually scary.

This film deserves more recognition as a horror-masterpiece and I really recommend it to those horror film skeptics out there – like myself.  The film stars Clive Owen and he always delivers an impeccable performance; this film is no exception, so buy it, rent it or eh um – download it 😉

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Ted, Teddy, Holy F**k!

Have you seen Ted? No? Why not!?

I was very skeptical about this film but I decided to go see it because I was less skeptical about Ted than I was about the Amazing Spider-man. I was not disappointed!  I laughed out loud several times at the inappropriate jokes, weird situations and awkward moments.  The dialogue is just insane and routinely points and laughs at it’s self, which is something few movies do….it really makes fun of the obvious flaws in the plot and the uncanny similarity between Ted and Peter Griffin.

The humor in this film is inappropriate in the way that Family Guy is inappropriate, it’s socially/politically incorrect and dares to comment on situations that, most of us, purposely avoid discussing.  The novelty of this profane insanity coming from a stuffed animal never wears off! You never really get use to the adult attitude, voice or mannerisms…nearly every scene is surprising, solely because it’s such an absurd concept. The plot is a classic romance scenario in which a friendship is broken up in favor of an increasingly serious romantic-attachment.  This traditional storyline is shaken up by an interesting kidnapping scenario (enter Giovanni Ribisi – who plays an EXCELLENT CREEP) and is ended with a reverse-reverse Velveteen Rabbit, which is bastardized by even more political incorrectness.  The ending, which is initially sad and uncomfortable is quickly rerouted into something hilarious and awkward.  This R-rated Pinocchio-like tale is all-in-all a really funny film for those out there who do have a crass sense of humor or who can at least appreciate one.  Many aspects of this film are offensive and derogatory so perhaps keep that in mind if you are planning to see it and remember – yes, the main character is a Teddy Bear but, no, it’s not a children’s movie.  This is as much of a children’s movie as Pan’s Labyrinth is….and I know several parents that made that mistake o.O

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Pixar’s BRAVE

Honestly? Just a great film!

The animation is stunning and the plot is heart warming, an honest to goodness feel good movie. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has yet to see it, so I won’t go into too much plot detail. What I will say is that the story is pretty standard Pixar. They excel in setting animation standards but flop when it comes to original stories. It’s a tried and tested fairy-tale template BUT I still really enjoyed it.

It’s child – even infant – friendly both for the mildness of theme and the one and a half hour time frame. The dialogue was very entertaining and keeps the adult audience engaged and laughing throughout. I highly recommend this film for any age group!

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Fifty Shades of Twilight

I realize that Fifty Shades of Grey is not a film…however – it likely will be in the near future so I’m going to over analyze it now! Also…just in case any casting director sees this blog…the natural choice for Christian is Alexander Skarsgard.  But this is quite beside the point.

So is it just me? Or has someone else realized that Fifty Shades of Grey is Twilight minus the vampires…plus Viagra.  You don’t see it? Really?  Well let me break it down for you.  We have Ana, sweet-clueless, self-deprecating and seriously clumsy Ana…who coincidentally is beautiful but thinks she’s average. Hmm…that sounds a lot like Bella Swan to me.  Then we have Christian, gorgeous, rich, built like a god, aloof and brilliant….is that Edward? Why I do believe it is! Furthermore, Christian was adopted and so were all his siblings….now that I think of it…the whole Cullen family is adopted aren’t they? Strange.  Christian is inexplicably drawn to Ana and despite warning her off he just cannot keep away from her and cannot help but be concerned for her safety.  Do I even need to point out the parallel between Edward and Bella here?  Ana’s parents are divorced and her mom is described as “hair-brained” and has remarried.  Ana also has a distant but fond relationship with her father who is emotionally reserved, socially awkward and enjoys fishing. By golly! I seem to remember this family dynamic from somewhere….is this the Swan family and Charlie?! Then of course there is Jose, the Jacob character, who like Jacob, is pushy with his feelings toward Ana who is not romantically interested in him…although he is gorgeous and clearly the safer choice.

So what’s the difference?  Christian is a sex-crazed S&M control freak and Ana is an idiot (willing to concede that Bella is no Steven Hawking). That’s pretty much the dividing principle between the two stories.  So now that we have confirmed that there isn’t a shred of originality here…I’d like to point out a few other issues.  Did you notice the spelling/grammatical errors? I found three in the first half of the book where the wrong suffix has been applied thus rendering a whole sentence unreadable. It’s really annoying.  This is a professionally published work and they can’t seem to find time to proofread?  As a side note, I am available to proofread any of your future publications, Vintage Books.  Did you also notice the repetition of descriptives during the sex-scenes? The same words are utilized repeatedly, the phrase “Oh my,” is now indelibly embossed on my corneas and by the mid-way point of the book I was bored. I’ve been more creative in a 5 line text message than James has been in nearly 400 pages.

So…after doing some research I discovered this tidbit on Wikipedia.

The Fifty Shades trilogy was developed from a Twilightfan fiction originally titled Master of the Universe and published episodically on fan-fiction websites under the pen name “Snowqueens Icedragon”. The piece featured characters named after Stephenie Meyer‘s characters in Twilight, Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. After comments concerning the sexual nature of the material, James removed the story from the fan-fiction websites and published it on her own website, FiftyShades.com. Later she rewrote Master of the Universe as an original piece, with the principal characters renamed Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele and removed it from her website prior to publication.[7] Meyer commented on the series, saying “that’s really not my genre, not my thing … Good on her — she’s doing well. That’s great!”

Perfect…so now that we have confirmed that this is, indeed, a rip-off of Twilight, I can get on with my life and waiting for the film adaptation that is currently being bid on by three different studios. My only hope if that this film is acted better than Twilight!  Good Grief.

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Snow White and the Hunstman…such a Painful Cinematic Experience.

What a flop.

I have to acknowledge that Charlize Theron plays a crazy bitch, wickedly well!  She was absolutely the shining star in this film.  Unfortunately that is the only positive thing I can merit this film with.  I understand that this is suppose to be a re-take on the classical story but is it really? The only ‘new’ concept in this film is portraying Snow White as a Joan of Arc type figure – only much less capable. Truthfully, I can’t even say that’s a new concept. If you have ever watched the television show Once Upon a Time, the Snow White character in that series is also a warrior and that show wrapped it’s first season before this film was released. So I guess there goes that original concept.

Another shortcoming was that the storyline felt disjointed and rushed. The Huntsman and White never really have a strong scene together to solidify there relationship (whatever that may be) or get the audience to invest in them emotionally….then we are expected to “buy” into the idea that the Huntsman’s feelings are strong enough to wake Snow White from her slumber? He’s still carrying a torch for his deceased wife, he has zero interest in White and then he kisses her….why would he kiss her? The other man, William, her childhood friend who has loved White from the start (and who she presumably has feelings for, hence how she was poisoned to begin with) kisses her to no effect. WTF? It makes no sense.  True love’s kiss is what breaks spells….not a smooch from a morally bereft alcoholic. Then there are the dwarves. Where to begin? The fact that they were played by regular size people is an issue, the fact that there dialogue was largely frivolous (completely unnecessary) and the ambiance they provided was strange and awkward….another issue.  They really serve no purpose in the film and seem to be inserted into the story as mere compliance to the Snow White theme. I would even hazard to say they were an afterthought….something written into the plot after the fact – that’s how poorly their presence fits into the film.

Oh, I almost forgot. The piece de resistance! Kristen Stewart.  Let’s talk about awkward.  The pre-battle speech near the end of the film was weird and unbelievable.  I’m sorry but that rally wouldn’t have won anyone over. I know she didn’t write the script, so perhaps the writer’s need a slap on the wrist there but her delivery was horrendous. It was like she didn’t understand the context in which she was speaking. She raised her voice at the wrong parts of the the speech and when she enters the room initially (upon waking from her poisonous slumber) she doesn’t get much of a delighted or celebratory reception – then she busts into a battle rallying testament. Once again I cry – WTF?! Who wrote this!?  The chick pretty much just woke from the dead and the only sound is crickets? A precursory conversation with the Duke and then she morphs into a warrior? Holy hell this is going to get a lot of Razzies.

My personal feeling is that Kristen kills characters.  Truly.  I read Twilight, the books were very engaging, yes it’s teen fiction, but they were page turners! I was invested in those books. Kristen killed Bella. I feel like she looked the part but her tendency to attempt to appear reserved, unsure and nervous makes you feel ashamed to watch her.  Example? The kiss she gives William in the Woods before she eats the poisonous apple (and the scene after eating the apple :S).  She looked like she wasn’t sure what a kiss was…or like she was kissing a bear-trap. Perhaps I’m being too harsh and all the blame should be lain at the feet of the script-writers? Poor Kristen, really. How could she have possibly embodied a character that was so poorly defined? Snow White starts as a helpless child, then helpless girl in a cell, then bold escape artist, then helpless girl running (aided by the birds), then helpless girl in the woods, then helpless girl aided by Huntsman, then brave powerful woman having a Mexican-standoff with a troll, then a negotiator, then mother-nature, then lover, then martyr, then walking-dead, then crusade captain, murderer and finally Queen.  Seriously, that’s the progression of the character with ZERO transition explaining or describing her evolution. She’s scared and helpless, then she’s not, then she is again and then she’s not.  So bizarre.  Honestly, this isn’t even the tip of the awful iceberg but I can only tear something apart for so long before I start feeling sorry for it. I’m at that point now.

I’d like to hear your take on it, did you enjoy it or do you want your money back?

 

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Prometheus: A Film Review

Let’s start by stating that, yes, it is a prequel to the 1979 film, “Alien,” even the movie poster pays homage to it – so lets not argue! Interestingly enough, it received a 74% approval rate from critics and viewers alike, according to Rotten Tomatoes.  However, if you are anything like me, then your tastes never coincide with Rotten Tomatoes statistics…sometimes I wonder if critics and viewers just saw the same film I did, but that’s neither here nor there at the moment!  Typically I find Rotten Tomatoes to be right about 60% of the time (where viewers votes are concerned) but if a movie has been touted as being AMAZING or OSCAR-WORTHY for weeks before it’s debut, viewers become zombie’s and rate a film really well even if it was not the greatest. So I believe in making up your own mind about a film and don’t avoid watching it just because you heard some things or your friends didn’t appreciate it.  Keeping that in mind, I am attempting to be honest about the films I cover, giving credit where it is due and pointing out the flaws, when they exist. So get your grain of salt ready.  Also, I have my own built-in biases – naturally. I love movies with really clever dialogue and humor and I strongly dislike slap-stick comedy, I am also very critical of modern horror movies BUT I will try my best to remain impartial. Feel free to point out if I am being unfair!

Without further ado, let’s get to it!

The acting in this film was incredible, it was visually stunning and the dialogue was well-written. So where did it fall short? Probably the biggest failing, if you can call it that, was the tempo of the film. It was slow moving – which made it difficult to sit through a midnight sneak-peek and it was fairly anti-climactic. Somehow I was expecting much more action.  If you are going to create a film of this nature and have as much build-up throughout the movie, as this one does, it better be worth sitting through that build-up.  I mean, you better blow my mind with action sequences, edge of my seat thrills and a bombardment of horrifying creatures for a decent portion of the film. I wanted more suspense and more pay-off for that suspense.

Although this movie should be considered to have its own identity, being a ‘prequel’ means that comparisons are unavoidable. It has a lot to live up to in the action department where the other ‘Alien’ movies are concerned. It just didn’t fill the shoes of its predecessors in that department.  Another beef? It was in 3D and once again, it was actually a movie that could have truly utilized 3D, but didn’t.  Why use 3D if you’re not actually going to USE 3D. You know what I mean? Things should be flying at my face, blood splattering at me, weapon and debris whizzing past my head…I feel that making a film in 3D these days, simply means they can charge you an extra $6.00 for your ticket which includes cheap glasses, that they expect you to return after the film.

I would recommend seeing this film for certain components, just like True Grit or Avatar. True Grit was incredibly acted and Avatar was visually mesmerizing….but were any of them the whole package? No. Neither is Prometheus. It is worth seeing for certain aspects but overall…I’d wait for the Blue-Ray to hit the shelves.

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