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The Scariest Movie of All Time?

29 Oct

Mike of Beardy Lollipop fame very generously agreed to lend his opinion on an age old question: what is the scariest movie ever made?  Not only is Mike a horror movie connoisseur with a special love for all things zombie, he even wrote his own zombie homage song, sung to none other than Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi. (Don’t believe me?  This’ll show you!) Check out Mike’s nominee for what should be on your Halloween watch list…

If I told you that this year’s must see horror movie had more to do with Thanksgiving than Halloween you’d probably call me a turkey.

Well to that I say, “Gobble-Gobble Mo’ Fo’!”

If you’re an odd bird like me, you already know I’m talking about ThanksKilling. Made for under $3,500, this flick is a no-budget throwback to the likes of Ed Wood, Rick Sloane and classic B-Movies that end up on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The story involves a cursed fowl-mouthed turkey that is unleashed from the pen every five-hundred years to seek revenge for the mistreatment of Native Americans. In schlocky horror movie fashion, the only people capable of stopping this dirty bird happen to be an eclectic mix of college students running the gamut of clichés: slut, jock, nerd, fat guy and goodie two-shoes. Obviously, you’re not going to watch this movie for the story.

Taking a page from classics like Child’s Play, Puppet Master, Critters, Ghoulies, the ill-mannered villain, in case the turkey, is the standout. The turkey is a sight to behold. It’s nothing more than a sock puppet, possibly Lamb Chop’s diabolical feathered cousin. During the course of the film, turkey masterfully handles human-sized weaponry, takes out a topless Pilgrim, engages in some *ahem* stuffing and manages to pass himself along as a human being with the help of a Groucho Marx getup.

If you’re hanging out with some friends this Halloween, few movies will have you laughing as hard as ThanksKilling. This is B-movie making at its best. File ThanksKilling under “A Great Stuffing.” It’s now available through Netflix streaming, Amazon.com, iTunes and a number of cable providers.

As an added bonus, you can check out turkey’s potty-mouthed ramblings on Twitter.

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She’s Hard-Hearted Hannah…

27 Oct

The vamp of Savannah GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

So, if my title is at all misleading, I just returned from a lovely 4 day trip to Savannah, Georgia.  This is my second time visiting the Peach State, and I have to tell you, it was great–lots to see, do and EAT.  There’s really something to the idea of awesome southern food, and Savannah didn’t disappoint.

Since you’re (probably) not here to read about my fabolous vacation, Savannah does have several movie connections, the most obvious one being Forrest Gump. This multiple Oscar winner (including Best Picture, Actor and Director) was partial shot in Savannah. In fact, the bench that Forrest narrated his story from was located in Chippewa Square, one of Savannah’s pristine park-like squares throughout the city!

Here’s Chippewa Square when Forrest was there…

And here it was this past weekend, when I was there!

Obviously, the major difference is the lack of bench.  According to IMDB, “Chippewa Square, the setting for the famous bench scene, does not actually have any benches on the outside of the square that faces the street, only inside the square. The bench was placed there for that scene only by the production team.”  The bench from the movie is located in a museum here in Savannah, but you get the idea even without it!

Another major film landmark was the Mercer Williams House, which was featured prominently in the movie and book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  Here it is:

And again:

I’ve yet to see the movie, but I just finished the book and I really liked it!

What’s your favorite real-life movie location? Anyone take a movie tour in a city?  I know Boston and NY both have things like that!

Remembering John Hughes

9 Aug

So it’s been just over a year since John Hughes passed away from a heart attack. To remember this fine filmmaker, I spent this past Friday watching some old John Hughes classics.  In order of favorites, from least to most, here’s how I remembered John Hughes:

Sixteen Candles—OK, so Sixteen Candles isn’t exactly my cup of tea. The underlying premise of the movie creeps me out a smidge: senior heartthrob Jake Ryan wants a piece of Sam because he found a creepy survey thingie in which she said she’s most like to “do it” with him, thus putting him on a quest to see what her deal is. Also, her parents forget her birthday, which is terrible. Anthony Michael Hall’s adorable self, the sister’s muscle relaxer-filled wedding and foreign exchange student Long Duk Dong are what really keeps the movie going for me.

Pretty in Pink—while not topping the list, Pretty in Pink leaves no doubt why Molly Ringwald was America’s sweetheart in the 80’s. As a girl from (literally) the wrong side of the tracks trying to make it with her “Richie” boyfriend, Andie has you rooting for her the whole way. Even though John Hughes wanted her to end up with the nerdy, yet sweet best friend Duckie, test audiences got their way, and Andie went with Blaine (which, coincidentally, is the richest name in the world. Look it up.)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off—Ferris comes in second by a hair. What I love most about this movie is it’s the stuff of pure fantasy; but with Ferris at the helm, it totally feels like it could happen to you. With Ferris, Cam and Sloan running a muck around Chicago on the best hooky day EVER, one scene stands out as being among the most memorable:

The Breakfast Club—What else could be the winner? This is by far my favorite John Hughes’/Brat Pack movie EVER. Although I largely find Claire to be Molly Ringwald’s most unlikeable character (especially compared to Andie and Sam!), I still love her to death, with all her snooty rich girl-ness.  With Judd Nelson’s bad boy Bender, Emilio Estevez’s athletic Andrew, Ally Sheedy’s weirdo Allison and Anthony Michael Hall’s nerd Brian, this cast melds together so well, and the result is a classic film that’s above both reproach, and remake (I hope!)

Check out last year’s very sweet tribute from last year’s Oscar’s:

What’s your favorite Brat Pack/John Hughes movie? Do you agree with my ranking of these 4, or am I way off with my Sixteen Candles verdict?

Weekend Watchings: Inception, On Demand and HBO

25 Jul

This weekend was FULL of watchings! With the threat of rain hanging over the forecast, late nights on both Friday and Saturday and no real plans to speak of, this weekend was a perfect opportunity to catch up on movies and shows I’ve been meaning to see.

First up, Inception (which will be out on DVD and on demand on December 7!).  I got around to seeing this trippy thriller, which is at the top of the box office for the second week running now.  It’s been on the receiving end of A LOT of positive buzz, and I have to say, I think it’s well deserved!  I really enjoyed Inception, for a few reasons: a really intricate, detailed storyline, which we’re seeing less and less of from the studios these days; an excellent cast, including Leo (obv), Joseph Gordan-Levitt (he’s come a long way from 3rd Rock from the Sun!), Ellen Paige and Marion Cottilard; and that Inception is a new, original concept film, not a sequal or comic book or foreign remake or anything but pure imagination from Christopher Nolan. If you’ve seen Inception, you know what I mean when I say I’ve never had this kind of fantastical imagination to even come close to dreaming up something like Inception.

I think Inception has strong Oscar potential; possibly a Best Picture and Best Director nod for Nolan (likely to both honor Inception and to make up for 2008’s slight of The Dark Knight). I’d also be surprised if we didn’t see Inception in the running for several visual effects categories.

Next up, on demand watchings, or: how streaming Netflx has changed my life. Ever since we signed up for Netflix, which also includes streaming movies via our Wii, we have been on serious show back watch. Nick and I are 5 seasons into Showtimes’s Weeds, which is my new crack (no drug pun intended). We’ve averaged a season a weekend, that’s how good this show is. Next on tap for streaming is The Tudors, Lost and old seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Phenom.

And finally, two awesome cable shows on tap for a Sunday night! Tonight marks the halfway point for HBO’s True Blood, one of my favorite shows. Based on Charlaine Harris’ series of Southern Vampire mysteries, True Blood is a mix of supernatural action, sex, violence and straight up fluff. I consider it a grown up Twilight, complete with vampires and werewolves!

Following True Blood is the season premier of Mad Men on AMC. This is the start of season 4 of life at a 60’s ad agency, and I am SO EXCITED FOR THIS. Last season left off on an awesome cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to see where this season goes!

Any other Mad Men fans out there? Or True Blood? Any thoughts on Inception? What was up with that ending? Mildly confusing, but still a worthy flick!

In Theater: The Kids Are All Right

17 Jul

Woah, 2 in theater’s in one week? Yeah, I’m a baller like that. So last week, I saw a notice on Boston.com’s Love Letter’s blog about a screening of The Kids Are All Right, a new movie with Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Mia Wasikowska.  Hosted by Meredith Goldstein, the blog’s author, the screening was held at Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge—and it was totally free.  Free is my favorite.  Of course I got my name of the list (along with my friend and coworker Ciri) and we headed off to Cambridge for a delightful Thursday night!

This movie was already on my radar before I found out about the screening for its Oscar potential (more on that below), and this was my first time at the Kendall Square Cinema.  Here’s what I thought:

The Setting: The Kendall Square Cinema is a great place to see a movie. It’s easy to get to and it has an attached garage.  With a validated ticket from the theater, parking is $3 for 4 hours, plenty of time to see the movie and get a drink nearby (which we did, with the Love Letter’s after party at Flat Top Johnny’s). The theater plays an eclectic mix of independent films, foreign language cinema, restored classics and documentaries. And the popcorn was really good. AND Ciri spotted Stephen King in the lobby while buying popcorn. A celeb sighting and a free movie?  Two thumbs up.

The Movie: In my opinion, the movie was EXCELLENT. Quick storyline review: Annette and Julianne play a lesbian couple, Nic and Jules, with 2 kids, Joni and Laser (Mia and Josh Hutcherson, respectively). The kids were created with the same anonymous sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo as Paul, an adorably scruffy organic farmer/restaurateur), and as a 15 year old with 2 moms, Laser persuades Joni to look him up. Obviously, his emergence into their lives isn’t without issue, and the movie (who’s tagline is “Nic and Jules had the perfect family, until they met the man who made it all possible.”) explores the different relationships Paul starts with the family. I really liked that this movie looked at an average family (albeit with 2 moms), and explored real issues that are easy to identify with. You can really put yourself in any of these character’s shoes, and empathize with what they’re going through. Another plus for me was how well developed each character was, which was really augmented by the extremely talented cast.

Check out the trailer (Thanks YouTube!)

Gripes: However, I do have a few gripes. First, it really plays up the stereotypes. Nic takes more of the male gender role of the pair, the breadwinner and the strict parent, while Jules is clearly more the female—she stayed at home with the kids and is more earthy crunchy of the two. Second, I thought there was a bias in the way the intimate scenes were portrayed, with hetero sex getting the graphic treatment, and Nic and Jule’s intimacy limited to some kissing and a comic scene involving them watching gay male porno. Reading reviews and comments, it seems some in the gay community don’t feel enough was done to make Nic and Jule’s relationship as legitimate sexually as a hetero relationship.

Finally, what’s up with Laser? Who names a kid Laser and then fails to explain where/why/what that’s about? Weird.

The Oscar potential: High. With a Best Picture field of 10 films, I think there’s a good chance The Kids Are All Right will grab one of those spots. I can also see acting nods for Ruffalo, Bening and Moore and maybe a director nod for director/writer Lisa Cholodenko.

Final verdict: This move is more than all right, go see it! It’s currently in limited release; see where it’s playing here.

Have you seen TKAAR yet? What’d you think?

Weekend Watchings De Lux

2 Jul

Happy Fourth of July weekend! The weather is supposed to be awesome in the Boston area, and best of all, the weekend is L-O-N-G! First up for me this weekend is seeing Eclipse, which I am so beyond excited about!  Not only am I seeing it with two of my best girlfriends, but we’re seeing it at a Showcase Cinema De Lux (their spelling, not mind)! Now, unlike Chunky’s, where I saw Sex and The City 2, Cinema De Lux is a separate seating area reserved for 21+ only. Similar to Chunky’s, you can order food and drinks brought right to your seat at the push of a button—AMAZING!  Another De Lux perk is that you can choose your seats (which are big and leather and super comfy) when you purchase a ticket online or in the theater.  For the last 2 Twilight movies, my friend Annemarie and I were able to avoid the screaming teenyboppers rush for seats and sip on martinis while watching; I mean, what’s better than that? This is probably my favorite thing about seeing movies here; especially for new pictures that are likely to sell out, you don’t have to worry about not getting a seat, or getting a bad seat (front row, anyone?).  And today, Annemarie and I are introducing Ashley to the De Lux lifestyle too!

A De Lux Hostess sits inside the theater with a cocktail and some food. (Courtesy of the Boston Herald)

After the excitement that is Eclipse, I have a post almost ready to go up about The Hurt Locker, the 2009 Best Picture Winner.  Did you know that The Hurt Locker is the lowest grossing Best Picture Oscar winner, adjusted for inflation (with a box office take of $14 million) according to IMDB. Me neither!

See you after the long weekend! Be safe =)

Sequels, Prequels and Remakes: Are original movies dead?

16 Jun

So this past weekend, two movies duked it out for the top spot; one a remake of an 80’s movie and one a big screen adaptation of an 80’s TV show. As you might have seen, The Karate Kid beat The A-Team—by a pretty large margin too, $56 million to $26 million.

We all know that remakes have been all the rage lately, and the concept is a hard one to find fault in; unless you’re the loyal fan of the original. Take what was once a popular film idea and make it over with a bigger budget, new actors and a new audience, and it’s a surefire formula to roll that money in.Besides remakes, sequels have enjoyed a serious foothold in movies today. With the fourth installment of Shrek hanging in the top 10, along with Ironman 2 and Sex and the City 2, it seems that any movie that crosses a (insert million dollar figure here) mark, automatically gets greenlighted for a sequel…or two.

The long awaited Toy Story 3 opens this Friday…seriously, though, was anyone actually waiting on this one? What, is Andy 25 and married now? Is he still really playing with Buzz and Woody? Toy story 2 came out 11 YEARS AGO. That, in my opinion, is too long to wait before rocking the sequel.

But I digress. With sequels and remakes becoming more the norm, we haven’t seen a lot of re-releases—but we’re in for a treat come July 10th. Apparently, Grease, the sing-a-long edition is coming out in limited release this summer. WTF?!?  So apparently, this version has been seriously sanitized from the original and encourages a whole theater full of regular (read: not people I want to pay money to hear sing) people rocking out to “Summer Lovin” and “Sandra D.” Yikes city.

With so many movies now just extensions of other movies, it begs the question: are there legit no more ideas for a feature length film? Is the only avenue left to remake old movies, tack on sequel after sequel to successful movies (which are now likely to be based on a book or comic) or make some bogus pre story up and call it a prequel?

Though I don’t have a strong feeling one way or the other about the Karate Kid remake, there are some movies that I feel cannot be remade; you don’t want to mess with perfection. On the top of my list is John Hughes’ 1985 classic, The Breakfast Club. If for some unknown reason you haven’t seen the Breakfast club AND for everyone else who loves it, here’s a clip:

What movie remakes would you hate to see if done?