Sunday, October 31, 2010

Metropolis (restoration trailer)

Metropolis (1927)

Happy Halloween everyone!

I gave it a good try to attempt to horror-ify my posts in honor of this month but alas outside responsibilities demanded my utmost focus and attention.

I will end the month with a movie that I just recently watched that has been stuck in my mind. This movie was amazing, dark, exciting, and oddly enough disturbing. It's a movie that is referenced in movies, novels, and general geek culture. Crazy thing is, this movie was made in 1927!

"Metropolis" is a german silent movie that deals with human communication, love, and robots. That's right, ROBOTS. There is also alot of reference to Babylon and other biblical references which I didn't get at first which really annoyed me.

Here's how the story goes: there is an upper city, where the rich walk and play, and a lower city, where the workers live and toil. There is a main Rich man who runs the city and his Naive son. The Naive son falls in love with a saintly woman named Maria who resides in the lower city. As he chases after her, he discovers the harsh world of the lower city and empathizes with them.

There is a pretty scary part where one of the workers dies as he is working the main machine. The main machine then turns into a hungry temple where people are led to it's hungry mouth. Without any preparation, it becomes a pretty scary scene. It was pretty confusing and shocking.

I guess it's the film during that time but the graininess and jerky movements of the actors is just plain scary! Especially when your sick out of your mind and watching the movie in the pouring rain. And you have a fat black cat that insists on digging her claws in her leg at every scary moment.

Anyhoo, the Naive son is touched after hearing a rousing sermon by Maria to the workers to wait for the "mediator". The workers are fed up with endlessly working and are ripe for a riot. Only the calm word of Maria convinces them to wait.

Which brings us to the main lesson of the movie: 'The mediator between head and hands must be the heart!". The hands are represented by the workers and the head is represented by the Rich Man.

Meanwhile, the Rich Man meets with a mad scientist named Rothwang. The connection between the two is that the Rich Man married Rothwangs daughter,Hel, who just passed away. In his grief, Rothwang creates a robot in the hopes of capturing Hel's essence.

The Rich Man finds out about Marias sermon and demands Rothwang to take care of her. Rothwang then kidnaps Maria and then inserts her likeness into the robot.

That part just plain confused me. Maria was helping by calming the crowd. Without her as a buffer, anything would spark the workers into a frenzy. How was it going to benefit the Rich Man by wiping out Maria? Dumbass...

So begins a double cross scheme. Rothwang uses the Fake Maria to lead the Rich Man to believe that she is following the Rich Man. The Fake Maria then begins to destroy the solidarity of the workers and corrupts the rich men.

The rest is just crazy, dramatic, and like I previously said disturbing. There aren't any jump scare scenes or gore. The horror comes with the atmosphere and tone of the movie.

The one part of the movie that has refused to leave my mind is the dream dance by the Fake Maria. She does this crazy, uncomfortable dance. It is just weird. Something about her chest seems a huge disconnect from her body. The actress, Brigette Helm, who played Maria/ fake Maria did an amazing job. In fact, this actress is who made the movie really mesmerizing for me.

With silent movies, the acting is often over exaggerated and dramatic to convey the emotions of the actors. You could easily differentiate the real Maria from the Fake Maria. I really loved how she played Fake Maria. Helm would distort her face and twist her body in an awkward way.

There is a reference to Babylon. I have no idea if I'm going to get this correct, but there was a fake pariah that the people followed which led to their doom.That's where Fake Maria comes in. The Fake Maria instigates the downfall of the city just like the Fake Pariah brings the Apocalypse. Right? I dunno.

Theres also a reference to the Naive heading to his fathers place which is the "New Tower of Babel". From what I know, Tower of Babel was supposed to be the epicenter of learning all the languages.

Communication is a strong thread in this movie. With every lack of communication, problems ensues. From the workers listening to the Fake Maria instead of reason results in the flooding of the lower city. Lack of communication between Rich Man and Naive son results in the Naive son placing himself in danger (which is a good thing later however).

This was my first silent movie so it was kind of difficult to get used to it. The orchestra movie was really beautiful and set the tone of the movie seamlessly. The movie is also split into parts so it's a pretty long movie to sit through.

I can understand why this movie was so powerful. It was way before it's time. Even though the movie was silent, the acting was pretty lowkey and to the point. It was just simply amazing and has not left my thoughts at all.

Plus, I think the Naive son looks like Gerald Way...

Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Labyrinth Trailer

Labyrinth (1986)

What would be a better happy counter to "Pan's Labyrinth" than "Labyrinth"?

Several reasons why "Labyrinth" is famous:

1. David Bowie
2. "Dance Magic Dance"
3. Jim Henson muppets
4. Jennifer Connonelly

What is it about David Bowie that makes him so ethereal, alien, awesome, and freakin' sexy in this movie????? I'm gonna have to say it was the cape and the crystal balls.

Before "Crank Yankers", muppets use to make the movies or television shows wholesome and silly. Think Alf, Sesame Street, Eurekas Castle, the list goes on."Labyrinth" gave muppets the ability to be creepy and slightly disturbing (come on. those orange things were tossing their own heads around while singing!!!). The designs were grotesque and nothing was friendly about them. Even the big goofy thing was intimidating. It was almost as if Jim Henson had a closet of emo muppets he wanted to unleash upon the world. Thank you!!! Happy muppets can be a bit too overwhelming...

Before I go on, I must say:
I love this movie. I love this movie. I love this movie. This was one of the pivotal movies in my adolescence. I was immediately attracted to the Demon King (I'm not gonna shirk from the truth)and it became my own personal fairy tale. As much as I want to believe I matured, I still feel I am like Sarah before the Demon King: I'm still dancing around living the stories in my mind. Although I do have friends, so not quite like Sarah.

Clarification out of the way, I can talk about this movie objectively. This is not all entirely happy silly movie with muppets.It is a dark and sad movie. Even though the muppets are to add comedy, the music is to somewhat uplift us, there are alot of dark elements: loneliness, kidnapping, delusions, unrequited love, truth, the meaning of friends. What the hell!

"Labyrinth" involves a young girl, Sarah, who loves nothing more than to dance around the park LARPing characters from her fantasy novels. She is stuck babysitting for her baby brother one night. As she attempts to console his crying, she unknowingly summons the demon king (David Bowie in all his glory) to take the baby away. In order to save him, she must solve the labyrinth in thirteen hours.

That's not a happy story right?

The Demon King is hopelessly and cruelly in love with Sarah. He obsesses over her even as he places obstacles in her path. There is a song that Bowie sings towards the end that really shows how much more he wants to possess her instead of loving her. Plus the dance he has with her in the ballroom is incredibly creepy. Really pretty but creepy. Why the hell does he even love her? Why would he love a pansy like Sarah in the first place? I guess a good argument would be that he eventually fell in love with her since she gains the power and strength to work through the labyrinth.Eh. Still kinda weird but I tend to glaze over that.

The muppets are not beautifully made. They're scary and sad almost wiry and underloved. Ugly. Sad. Ew. Think Elmo if Elmo was thrown in a garbage bag full of test tubes teeming with pathogens.

The first ally she meets is urinating against the labyrinth walls.

Stories with labyrinths are RARELY happy stories. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with solving the inner puzzle within out soul conscience. Often times the journey of self-discovery is never smooth and is always full of facing dangers. No one really wants to admit to themselves that they are immensely flawed in any way.

That's why the muppets and the music are perfect in counterbalancing the dark aspects of the movie. It opens up the movie to be acceptable for children. It's pretty much another fairy tale; adult themes hidden in song and dance.

I must have been warped the first time I watched. This was beautiful and romantic to me.
Actually I still think that way....

I though it would be funny if I added a video review from the Nostalgic Chick. See if you agree:

Pan's Labyrinth full length trailer

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

I will give you a better preparation for this movie than I did.

It's not just "scary". It's holy-shit-this-is-my-childhood-fairy-tale-horror-come-to-life- scary. The type of scary where your grabbing the nearest stuffed teddy bear.

It is definitely a movie that everyone must see. After watching this movie, there are usually two extreme reactions : those who absolutely loved it and those who are terrified of ever seeing the DVD cover again.

Why? Simply put, this movie is incredibly hard to watch. Several reasons:
1. alot of darkness
2. very, very, effin' violent
3. alot of blood
4. the Pale Man. Oh,dear fluffy clouds THE PALE MAN
5. Unless you understand Spanish, you have to break the trance by reading the subtitles
(Can be a bit distracting but can also be a relief at focusing somewhere else.)

My advice:
1. don't eat while watching this movie.
2. keep the lights on
3. don't look under the bed/closet
4. don't look too hard into the trees
5. don't watch this alone

It's really easy to stay in my comfort zone of fantasy and romantic comedy movies and just relax. Except that it can just get so freaking boring. You can predict the story line for most of these movies. There's only so much shrugs and goofy grins a person can take before it can become incredibly superficial. To a point where it stops being enjoyable. That's when I venture into movies that shake me out complacency.

Plus the adrenaline thrill that your alive is a good jump start to living.

I can pretty much force myself to sit through a gruesome movie (admist wiggling and covering my eyes) once and then my brain goes into complete shock. An overload of cruelty and violence triggers the automatic mental metal door to slam shut (cue in the "Get Smart" theme song). I'm limited to only one or two of these kinds of movies a year. I'm that much of a pansy.

After I spend a few months breathing and recapturing my thoughts from where it has scattered, I start to analyze. I try to understand my fear and coax it into submission. Slowly and steady I will started to analyze the movie itself. If I'm brave enough, I will force myself to watch it a second time to let the reluctant appreciation set in.

I have to admit appreciation for the dark and the scary. It either takes an incredibly unhinged person to release their inner demons or a person who just understands Fear. It goes back to the whole balance of yin and yang. Light and evil. In order for me appreciate the light I need to look back and recognize the evil. It won't do anygood if I don't understand that it's there.

Although the movie is fictional it's still realistic in it's proportions of human cruelty. That exists. Worse acts exist. I just hope that I will be lucky enough not to experience it.

Guillermo Del Toro (director and creator) is one who understands inner fear. Just watch the "The Power of Myth" featurette on the DVD.You can tell that he understand what was triggering the inner fear in his audience.

"Pan's Labyrinth" is a modern fairy tale/ horror. A young girl on the edge of adolescence along with her pregnant mother is forced to stay with the stepdad in the country. The stepdad is a fascist leader hell-bent on killing the rebels hiding in the woods and all who aid them. To escape the torture and oppresion, the young girl runs off to discover an ancient faun. The faun informs the girl that she is the long lost princess of the fantasy world. In order to claim the throne, she must go through several tests.

Through the fantasy there is a lot of violence tucked in every possible corner. I know the movie is set a few years after the Spanish civil war. Of course there's going to violence. I just hate watching it. I always flinch when someone get's slapped or punched. I'm squealing at the moment a knife heads towards the body.I'm just completely overburdened by the sadness and horror of it all.

It's been a year or so since I've seen this movie. It still terrifies me. I had to force myself to listen to what other people had to say about the movie before I could even begin to analyze. I just remember not registering that this movie was a fairy tale. My mind just started going into shock once all the crazy stuff started happening. My mind was refusing to focus on the movie. It was frantically focusing on anything on the screen that was visually pleasing. Anything. There was nothing. It's all scary. Even the little girl kinda makes me nervous.

This is the way fairy tales were described originally and Del Toro really nailed that. It is an amazing movie in it's layers of meanings. I only caught on to the "girl on the verge of adulthood" part. But there's also the grouping of threes and facial mutilation. Wow. Alot of stuff.

I'm pretty much gearing myself for a second viewing of the movie. Slowly gearing up.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ever After Trailer (Good Quality)

Ever After (1998)

Brace yourself for another reimagined story.

This inspiration came close on the heels of a debate that my storytelling class had on fairy tales. When you mention fairy tales, Disney is going to pop in the conversation sooner or later. I am getting pretty tired of everyone harping on Disney. Yes they are not perfect and they have shit bricked alot of crap. But classic Disney was literally where the magic was at. Where the company took elaborate pains to take a fairy story and myth and make it like by little kids practically universally.

Before you take up arms with the complaint that they're tainting the public minds: THERE ARE OTHER FRICKIN' VERSIONS OUT THERE. Fairy tales and myths are constantly recycled and reimagined given the handlers culture, time, and interest. Some people can view fairy tales as precious and timeless archives that should be preserved. Other see fairy tales as in sorely need of updating. There are groups that understand that fairy tales were remodeled in order to make the warning in the story approriate. I am of the of the group where I like to ask the "What If?" in the fairy tales.

And you've seen this happen.
Gregory Mcguire asked, " What if the wicked witch wasn't wicked?" when he wrote "Wicked".
Bill Willingham asked, "What if fable characters existed in our world?" when he created "Fables".
Frank Beddor asked , " What if Alice in Wonderland was really a princess named Alyss"? in the "Looking Glass Wars".

"Ever After" pretty much asks "What if Cinderella was a real human being?"
Damn do I love this movie. It is a beautiful reimagination of Cinderella and romance movie.

In the movie, Danielle (played by Drew Barrymore) is a girl forced to be a servant by her abusive stepmother (played by Anjelica Huston). The stepmother is concerned with having her daughter, Margarite, gain the attention of the Prince (who is absolutely scrumptious....). Danielle couldn't care less as long as her home and servant family stay together.

Through sheer accidence, Daniellle is blessed with money to free one of her servants who is being shipped off. Danielle pretends to be a lady and fights for the servants rights. During the tussle, the prince intervenes and is immediately impressed by Danielles beauty and intelligence.

So begins the love story between Danielle and the Prince. The story is really fun(especially with the gypsys). I love Danielles character. So beautiful, unique and strong. When she is standing in the white costume facing the royal court, wow! Plus she loves books!

The story also adds the involvement of Leonardo Di Vinci whose role is to be the fairy godmother. Da Vinci's role in the movie is sweet and endearing. Almost like that uncle that would tell you an interesting story while pulling a magic trick.

It's a love story and girls swoon over it. If your looking for historical accuracies, look away. It's funny, sweet, and romantic. A great movie to watch after a long day.

(once again, i chose to wrote this blog really late and i'm tired. so i apologize for any glaring grammar mistakes and such!)

Sleepy Holllow (1999)

If I insist on persisting with my halloween theme, then of course a Tim Burton movie would be involved. I've mentioned Tim Burton a couple of times and I will mention him again. I enjoy his style of movies, it's just dark, whimsical, personal, and entertaining.

I absolutely LOVE it that Burton loves to collaborate with Johnny Depp over and over and over. And I love to watch Depp over and over and over.

Verging dangerous close to a tangent, I've always wondered why I love watching Depp. There are other handsome and brooding men but I could only pinpoint that none has his quirkiness. Depp is just more willing to immerse himself in outlandish characters in an intensity that would weaken any other actor. Frankly, Depp is just sexy weird. I love weird!!!

I believe everyone is familiar with the story of Sleepy Hollow. If not then the folk tale is as follows:
In a place called Sleepy Hollow, the residents are haunted by vengeful ghost. The ghost is headless horseman called appropriately enough "The Headless Horseman". Not only is he spooky as hell, but he decapitates his victims! The town either enlists or is visited by Icabod Crane. Crane attempts to help the town and tries to solve the mystery of the Headless Horseman.


Compared to other stories (think stories collected by brothers Grimm), there are way more interesting mystery stories. Stories that are slightly more complex, exciting, fun, scary, stories with more oomph!

Stories of Sleepy Hollow are usually told in an almost comedic tone with Ichabod clumsily finding the clues. There have been many renditions, remakes, and different versions of the story. And they would just fall short of being interesting by insisting on keeping the style of the story the same.

Then Burton breezes in and makes the story the most exciting and scary version I have ever seen. Hoorah Burton!

He re-imagined the story in a way that it should have been; a scary story set in the country. He pretty much wrote a story around the elements that were already there: country, isolated town, and ghoul beheading people.

Small towns set in the country in the middle of nowhere are the perfect foundation for a scary story. Always! It's the vulnerability of the small town. The paranoia of knowing that the town was surrounded by dark enemies and no help on sight. The dark is free to victimize the town.

That's what I see in Burton's version. This small town surrounded by fog and haze. The town is so tiny and at the whim of the ghoul. You can sense the dank and depressing atmosphere. Darkness is everywhere.From the first scene of the town I am terrified.

In most tales, Ichabod is tall, lanky, wimpy, and pathetic. Some tales have Ichabod usually flailing around like a dork and he happens to solve the mystery. Hence why I love Burtons' take on Ichabod. Depp plays Ichabod as geeky ( with his gagdets and knowledge), wary, cautious, and absolutely clever. Adorable.

Burton also seems to adore having my favorite actress appear once again, Christina Ricci. She plays the beautiful and I mean stunningly beautiful love interest. Ricci is just etheral and magical. Not only is she beautiful but she is one of the most astute women in town and quickly Ichabods assistant in solving the mystery.

Although the atmosphere of the movie, the mystery, background, and the Headless Horseman makes Sleepy Hollow the scariest of all the Tim Burton movies, it is also beautiful, magical, and just wildly entertaining.

I wouldn't recommend it for kids however....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pretty In Pink (1986)

Not all cinematic Proms end up with all participants massacred.What better balance to Carrie but the ultimate Brat Pack movie, "Pretty In Pink".

If "Carrie" was the mother of teen horror, then "Pretty In Pink" is the founding royal of Rom-Com.

There has been decades of Rom-Com's before this movie,don't get me wrong. To establish a high school time of a Rom-Com is all "Pretty In Pink". If I'm correct the timeline goes as follows:

1. Establishment of hottie, nerd, and bully
2. provokation for the climax: bet, secrets, lies
3. Courtship of nerd and hottie
4. self revelations galore!
5. showdown of emotions
6. Prom= declaration of love

Before I go one, I have to wonder if Proms are held in such high regards in reality. I know for my own high school, it was just a more expensive homecoming dance. None of us were too crazy for the events. The only exciting component of it was the date choosing which led some pretty hilarious and/or dramatic outcomes. Get this shocker: I went to my prom stag! I mildy cared when the couple photos were going on. I still stood solo for own picture but I was proud. Just like Andie in "Pretty In Pink" my dress was homemade. I designed the dress ( based off of Belles ballgown in "Beauty and the Beast") and my mom made the dress. It was the most elegant and beautiful gown in my eyes compared to the overpriced copies of Dior and other fancy brands. I ended dancing with my friends to Offspring on the dance floor. Prom drama must be prominent outside of California, I guess.

As with most John Hughes movies, the main character is full of angst-ridden drama. In this case, it's Molly Ringwold in her most iconic role as Andie. Andie is a poor girl who has a major crush on the popular boy, Blane. Never mind that she has a perfectly adorable dork as her friend who is in love with her, (I love Duckie!) she only has eyes for Blane.

You know they're going to end up to prom together. I'm not going to deprive you oh devoted reader to it's progression to that point.

What was freaking wrong with Duckie?!?!?? He was sweet, kind, in love, and he did the most awesome lipsynching in the record store. That scene is where Andie becomes a stuck up snob and I hate her. So I don't feel too bad when she's upset. Other times I'm siding with her.

Similar to "Carrie's" simplicity in the horror of teen angnst, "Pretty In Pink" is simple in it's depictions of teen love and anxiety. The unknown of the answer is the driving force for any outpouring of sweat down the forehead.

I have to also add that I really don't like Andies prom dress. Was that really fashionable in the eighties? Really? No matter how many times I watch it, she looks like a pink cactus. Ignoring fashion, the soundtrack is timeless and just adds that wonderful shine to the movie.

All I can leave you with is the question I wished my high school crush would have asked me;
"Will you go to prom with me?"

Carrie (1976)

This is the mother of all teen horror. It's not the teen horror where scantily clad hotties parade as high school kids as they shrill and prance in circles. Its a reflection of a teen's horror. It's the kind of teen horror that tightly squeezes your deepest insecurities until your gasping. WIth the guise of comedy and calm, It seeps subtle and slyly while taking a hold of your fears and ripping them open.

Whenever I watch "Carrie" I just flash back to every negative emotion I had in high school. Waves of self-esteem issues, self-loathing, fear, anxiety, the need for attention, and so many others just hit me until I'm feeling as miserable as Carrie.

I've been thinking about horror movies lately and what makes me so terrified of them yet I still watch them. Then I realized that most of these modern horror films are easy to escape from.
Blood and guts can make me wiggle uncomfortably until I safely retreat behind my closed eyelids. Sudden jump scenes will make me shoot out of my chair until I snuggle into the safety of my boyfriends arms. Repetitive eerie music will freeze me until I can stop my ears with my hands.

Classic horror from before the nineties were something all together. It wasn't sugar coated or packaged. It was raw emotion amplified. Carnal desires that had no boundaries. Nightmares that wouldn't stay locked in the mind. I usually find movies, not just horror, from the seventies to be an age where boundaries were nonexistent and filmmakers were free to explore anything. From sex to horror, movies were gritty and unbound making it feel pretty chaotic and out of control. So having such a movie like "Carrie" to come of that time period is a huge feat in itself.

There is no place for me to hide when I watch "Carrie". I've never read the Stephen King novel and I have no interest. Something about horror novels gives words such power that they taint the beautiful and safe world in my imagination. Naive but there's already too much horror in reality.

What freaking makes Carrie so freakin scary? My simple answer: Contained rage and it's outcome.

In further scattered thoughts, I also realized that "Carrie" embodies every suppressed thoughts from your high school fears: painfully shy, ignorant, and being a door mat. These are the kind of fears that sits deep within the folds of your soul. It's pretty much there for the rest of your life. Each phase in your life will invoke these fears and only through experince can impose self-control.

Carrie is young girl in high school. She is bullied by the girls in school as they yell and throw tampons.Her mother is a religious extremist that doesn't think twice about whacking Carrie with a bible to get her warped thoughts across. Carrie endures abuse after abuse until she eventually cracks. She begins to harness telekinetic abilities which slowly begins to raise her confidence. Until it all comes crashing down on Prom Night.

I honestly can't remember if there were any previous teen movies that featured Prom Night as the scene for the climax for horror. Prom is already terrifying for teens as it is. It's full of angst, shallowness, and nerves. Now add a horrible prank gone wrong that turns into a massacre is just plain nuts.

Something about how Sissy Spacek plays Carrie during the prom scene that is just bone chilling. She stands with a straight back, her arms stiffly held to her side as she wrecks the deaths around her. Her eyes are unfocused and unblinking as she walks slowly through the mayhem. People are falling over another, there's blood, fire, screams, and lots of red everywhere. And Carrie just keeps on walking.

Other scenes in the movie are just disturbing and sad. That's pretty much the whole gist of the movie. I feel so horrible that I can't help or defend Carrie as she's bullied. The massacre is horrifying in it's gruesomeness but the movie doesn't terrify me. Instead of being shocked in the horror, I feel immensely vindicated and I'm cheering her on. Except for the killing of the sympathetic teacher, I just watch as they all die.

The mother scene leaves me feeling horrified and satisfied. The use of the knives is precise (symbolism!) and scares me. I just hate seeing knives slice through flesh in the movies. Geez, I'm shuddering right now. Even as the knives pierce the palms, I still can't help but think, "serves you right".

I think the majority of the audience agrees with my reactions. It is a classic horror movie but it's a story that has a reason. And it's a reason that anyone can ultimately relate to. Most horror movies just plaster some flimsy reason to have the killer just go on a rampage.

"Carrie" is a wonderful and simple masterpiece in it's use of horror and portrayal of emotions. That sounds really general but it has layer upon layers of meaning and it really depends on the viewer. It's just that kind of movie that you have to watch. In the daytime and cuddling with your honey.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sydney White (2007)

I just got into a debate with my coworkers on Disney princesses (we tend to have alot of these pointless talks to mediate the otherwise dreary work atmosphere). So I feel I must start off by saying that my two most DETESTED Disney princesses are: Cinderella and Snow White. I could write a blog that goes on for miles on why I hate these princesses so won't do that.

Just because it's my blog: BELLE IS THE TRUE PRINCESS!!!

Okay, moving on.

Even though I hate the aforementioned Disney duo, it should not be confused that I love their original stories. I'm familiar with the Brothers Grimm versions and all other versions. The core of the story for both is the same: waiting for the prince to come. It's this archaic and pointless story core that makes it an excellent foundation for movie retellings and such. And boy are there alot of them.

I already wrote about my own favorite Cinderella rendition (which was based on a young adult novel), "Ella Enchanted". I thought it would be fitting to write a feel-good movie counter to my scary movie blog with a snow white-type of movie. Phew,what a sentence.

This movie is another one that completely flew under the radar of the public. I only knew about it when I was able to catch a special screening of it. It was hosted by a program from Myspace called "Black Curtain Screenings". It was a great experience. Amanda Bynes even made an appearance! I remember she was promoting her clothing line, Dear, featured in Steve and Barry stores (which I just found out that the store went bankrupt and are no longer in business).

Now Amanda Bynes should be familiar to those in my generation. She was one of the actresses on the Nickelodeon funny show, "All That". She has pretty played the same constant character in all of her movies; goofy and lovable. That is perfectly all right with me. In a media world where child actresses grow up to be the next Lohan/Cyrus tragedies, it's nice to see some cute consistency minus the whore factor.

Even if your not familiar with her from Nickelodeon she was just in the recently released great movie, "Easy A" (Go watch it! I couldn't stop laughing!)

Bynes is still cute even though she plays a more subdued, mature role for "Sydney White". I have to admit that she was easily overpowered by her supporting cast members whose characters I really love.

On a second thought, I wonder if she was directed to be subdued to try to embody as much of the demure "Snow White" princess ideal as long as possible? Bynes does burst out in personality towards the middle of the movie where she steps out of placid "princess" to headstrong awesome! I'm going to go with this thought, it puts Bynes in a more positive light.

The premise of the movie is as follows: Bynes plays Sydney White, a humble and poor mans daughter who goes off to college. Whites' mother used to part of an exclusive sorority so she's granted a special spot as a "legend" (:"snicker"", cute). This sorority is headed by a mean and superficial sorority head named Rachel Witchburn ( I don't care how corny that is, the name is cute). White doesn't agree with the sorority (ahh that reminds me of own sorority feud...) and is kicked out.

White lands on the doorstop of the rejects of the campus (are you sensing a common thread between this post and the previous one?). The house is full of seven dorks( like the seven dwarves). They are adorable dorks too! They pretty much do and act the way I do. The tallest dork becomes my favorite when he utters a Doctor Who joke! I wouldn't even call them dorks, I would call them my friends.

Even though White was resigned to the reject house, she still garners attention and admiration. Her popularity begins to go up as is monitored by a website called "Hot or Not"(Don't laugh too hard, these kind of websites actually do sadly exist). This really pisses Witchburn who begins to feel threathened and starts to retaliate. This stirs up a war between the dorks versus the sororities. To add more fuel to the fire, White catches the attention of the hot male (Witchburn's ex) on campus.

So begins our Snow White modern retelling. Waaay more fun!

It's a trademark of Byne's movies to be enjoyable. The characters are sweet but not annoying. It's always a nice balance.For a modern retelling of Snow White, it's pretty cute and kinda clever. Every time the movie ends, I release a happy sigh of contentment.

My favorite part is when White is on the podium during the debate. I won't ruin it by saying but happens but yeah, I would totally stand up and proudly say, " I love Doctor Who and I'm a dork!"

I'm gonna start something new and actually add the movie trailers. Can't believe it took me that long to do...

The Craft (1996)

Way before Netflix, way before getting the courage to rent a movie at the extinct Hollywood Video store (WHY????I loved Hollywood Video...), my mother took my brother and I to her friends small video rental store on Melrose Blvd.

As I waited for my mom to finish gossiping with her friend, I used to play this mini game with myself. I would slowly browse the aisles and see how many horror video boxes I could look at before freaking out. It would usually average about.......two. The minute my eyes would alight on "Hell raiser" or "Chuckie", I was rushing to my mothers side for a nice cuddle.

Fast forward to a few months ago (heh, that's kinda confusing isn't it? Remember what the Doctor said,time is "wibbly wobbly timey wimey"), I suddenly remembered the cover of a movie I noticed during those mini games that I was always curious about. It featured four girls walking with an eerie bunch of lighting behind them. I have no idea why I thought of it then.Either way,I blurted out the description to the right person who told me the title: "The Craft".

I'm not too sure why...but they title has me thinking about Ghostbusters....

This is not the scariest movie in the horror industry. I don't even think it's even horror, more like a thriller. To even subdue it even further, it's thriller-lite. Yet it still makes me a little bit nervous every time I watch it. Just a teeny weeny bit nervous.

What makes this movie pretty awesome is that it's a thriller with a female cast. What a refreshing change. For once, there are females that are not stuck as a sexy screaming victim. Instead, they're sexy witches!

"The Craft" involves the drama between four high school girls. A new girl named, Sarah arrives at a Catholic school where she makes friends with three other girls; Nancy, Rochelle, and Bonnie.The three girls are the outcasts of the school, each suffering from their own personal crisis. The trio wishes and tries to become witches to escape their problem by investing their energy into learning witchcraft. As they welcome Sarah, they are delighted to realize that Sarah actually has magic powers. Along the way, the rest of the group develop powers and just go absolutely crazy. The girls not only solve their personal problems, they go even further by improving their social status in school.

As to be expected, the extra power the girls obtained have ultimately gone to their heads. Their heads begin to swell with arrogance and drunken power,they wreck destruction around them. Ever the voice of sanity, Sarah begins to question their actions. This begins to widen the gap between her and the trio. As typical of any female herd, they begin to turn against her the more she stands up to them.

Then they all decide to attempt the summoning of a demon. The consequences lead to their unraveling.

What ultimately scared me was the thought of what would happen if I or my own friends were able to obtain such power. I'm pretty sure I would end up doing the same deeds as the trio. That is what witchcraft is to a woman. The ability to harness powers to triumph over others. To be unabashedly powerful.

It would definitely change a person. I don't give a fig on how much "you would never stoop to do such a thing". Bull.

If I had to choose between the long and difficult road of self discovery and overcoming my obstacles versus the super speedway to getting whatever the hell I wanted then Bing! Option B it is. The disclaimer? If I knew what the consequences were, then I would change my tune.

That's the pea in the mattress. It's knowing what will happen that will have people twist that stick further up their butts and claim they would not do as the girls did in "The Craft". But what if you didn't know the consequences? Not even one bit? What if you were so far down from getting kicked that all you saw was the glimmer of hope? Even the light was held by a demonic hand? Then would you still hold your high moral ground?

I highly doubt that.

The final fight scene towards the end is one that really terrifies me. It's not even because of the three girls. It's the supposed sweet and wholesome Sarah. At some quick point in the movie she turns into a chillingly modern day witch. I think it has something to do with hearing her mothers voice. But damn! She has completely changed to a Sarah that scares the crap out of me! Almost as if she accepted the witch within her and has brought her out. I end up feeling sorry for Nancy as she's yelling out in the cell.

Like I said, it's not really a horror or even remotely a thriller. For me, it doesn't even have to be marketed as such to inflict such feelings. The movie would really resonate with the female outcasts of the world. Granted it's a little bit stereotypical with each girl representing some major teen issue. But hey, it's the nineties. Generalizations and stereotypes are a given.

Even after being chilled, I still have that small wish to be a witch.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stick it (2006)

Life through my eyes have a constant soundtrack. Music is an integral part of how I view everything around me. If I had a choice, there would just be music flowing around. Therefore, I tend to love musicals or movies that have alot of musical montages. There is no shortage of this at all in the movie industry so I have alot of feel-good movies to watch.

"Stick It" is a very under-rated teen comedy drama. If I hadn't watched it out of boredom then I could see why this movie flew so far under the radar. The promotions advertised a comedy involving female gymnasts and their catty world. Gymnasts? Pish posh!

This movie centers around a bad-ass female delinquent, Haley. After Haley runs out on her team during Gymnastics championships, she leads a life of punk glory. She gets caught after causing alot of property damage, she is given a sentence to go back to the gymnastics team she betrayed. Not only does she have her stubborn rebelliousness surrounding her, she has to deal with the backlash of her actions from her teammates. That's alot of frustration, anger, resentment. Have you ever pissed off a group of young hormonal girls? I have and it's freakin enough to jump off a cliff!

Gymnasts are already one of the most amazing athletes there are. Cartwheels are pretty much the hardest tricks in my back. The movie goes ahead and shows how grueling and hard gymnasts have to work at. Like any movie that follows an competitors progress from training to the Day, it's all the more satisfying and fun when the competition showcase starts since your rooting for your favorite characters.

I just absolutely adore Haley's character. Her rebelliousness nature mirrors my own and just echoes what I wish I could do sometimes. Her strength and courage is amazing. She is so cool!

As typical of most teen comedies, there is some really great musical montages. One of my favorite is the rock montage of the gymnasts in action. But what really gets me happy is the end competition. The sequence towards the end is one that took me by surprise. It was an ultimate message of putting things in a bigger perspective and cherishing what's more important like trust and friendship.

As an added bonus to this great movie, Missy Elliot did a really great song for this movie (I LOVE Missy Elliot)

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

It's October! Bring on the scares, the pronounced shadows, shrilling screams, and supernatural monsters!

Although I am terrified of any noise that echoes from the shadows, I absolutely adore this month. Its okay to scream and feel that release that comes from being scared. It's thrilling, exciting, and silly.

I have to admit that I tend to play around in the low meter of the horror spectrum of movies. I am even ridiculously scared of movies geared towards children.

I am a complete hypocritical wuss. Some one once commented that I must be unconsciously working through my fears. I don't know how true that may be but lets do so for this month. I will try my hand at writing about the many movies that have terrified, thrilled, or made me nervous.And so I won't wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares, I will try to counteract with a feel good. Well that's the plan, we'll see how it works.

It's easy to give an audience a cheap thrill. How effective that thrill is executed is up to the skill of the filmmakers. For me, I am more terrified and awed of movies that leave me paranoid for days. These movies project some invisible menacing horror that just stays in my mind for days. I'm eyeing people on the streets and double-checking the locks on my door.

One of the first movies that popped in my mind when complying this list definitely embodied this category. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. "Rosemary's Baby" is one of the top horror movie of all time. Hands down.

"Rosemary's Baby" is a thriller movie involving a young housewife Rosemary( as played by Mia Farrow). She and her actor-to-be husband live in an apartment with very suspicious elderly neighbors. Suspicious to Rosemary. The neighbors appear to be normal and meddlesome. Most elders are meddlesome so that shouldn't be too suspicious but something about it just makes it terrifying.To Rosemary's chagrin, her husband seems to become closer and closer to these neighbors.

The young couple decides to conceive a baby together. During a celebration of the husband getting a chance at a role (through, gasp, suspicious means!), Rosemary ends up eating something from the neighbors which causes her to pass out. During her feint, she believes that she is raped by a demonic being.

As Rosemary carries her child, her fears begin to escalate as she suspects that her baby is not human. No one believes her and we watch her spin out in hysteria. It's a movie full of suspense and questions. The ending shouldn't be surprising but it was.

There are no gimmicks or special effects. It's one of those human relationship movies that tap into our inner paranoia. This simple movie is able to make me question on what I perceive to be real. The original "monsters walk among us". You won't be screaming after watching this movie. However, your eyes will be straining out of your sockets to track every detail around you.