Tuesday, August 30, 2011


My annual horrorfest returns with a schedule compiled of new experiences. Out of the 31 films I'll be seeing in the month of October, 26 of them are films I'll be viewing for the first time. I tried my best to include both old and new horror as well as plenty of foreign films. Please feel free to follow along with me on this horror-filled journey I'll be taking during my favorite time of the year. 

Here's the schedule:

October 1ST: The Haunting (1963)
October 2ND: Woman in Black (1989)
October 3RD: A Horrible Way To Die
October 4TH: Mother's Day
October 5TH: The Thing from Another World 
October 6THShaun of the Dead
October 7TH: 6 Films to Keep You Awake: Baby's Room
October 8TH: The Perfect Host
October 9THA Horrible Way To Die
October 10THTales from the Crypt presents Demon Knight
October 11TH: Grave Encounters
October 12TH: Black Sheep
October 13TH: Nightmare on Elm Street 3
October 14THThe Woman
October 15THBedevilled (South Korea)
October 16TH: The Thing
October 17TH: Repulsion
October 18TH: Confessions (Japan)
October 19THIdle Hands
October 20TH: Paranormal Activity 3 (Midnight Showing)
October 21STHansu (Japan)
October 22ND: Ghost Story
October 23RD: Carrie (1976)
October 24TH: Maniac
October 25thRosemary's Baby
October 26th: Wolf Creek
October 27th: Trilogy of Terror
October 28th: The Birds
October 29th:Psycho (1960)
October 30th: The Shining (1980)
October 31st: Halloween (1978)
*White notes films I have already seen. 
*Red notes special days. 
*Blue notes films I'll be seeing for the first time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

68th Annual Golden Globe Nominations

The 68th Annual Golden Globe nominations came out this morning and with arrived quite a few disappointments but I'm not going to go on and rant about them. I just have one question. Did "Shutter Island" not come out this year. Leonardo gets snubbed as well as Scorcese, Ruffalo and the film overall. I'm also hearing really great things about the Coen Brothers film, "True Grit," so it was a surprise to not see that show up. Whatever, here are the noms:

Best Picture - Drama
"Black Swan"
"The Fighter"
"The King's Speech"
"The Social Network"

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
"Alice in Wonderland"
"The Kids are Alright"
"The Tourist"

Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"
Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"
James Franco, "127 Hours"
Ryan Gosling, "Blue Valentine"
Mark Wahlberg, "The Fighter"

Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Halle Berry, "Frankie and Alice"
Nicole Kidman, "The Rabbit Hole"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone"
Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"
Michelle Williams, "Blue Valentine"

Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Johnny Depp, "Alice in Wonderland"
Johnny Depp, "The Tourist"
Paul Giamatti, "Barney's Version"
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Love and Other Drugs"
Kevin Spacey, "Casino Jack"

Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Anette Benning, "The Kids Are Alright"
Anne Hathaway, "Love and Other Drugs"
Angelina Jolie, "The Tourist"
Emma Stone, "Easy A"
Julianne Moore, "The Kids Are Alright"

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, "The Fighter"
Helena Bonham Carter, "The King's Speech"
Mila Kunis, "Black Swan"
Melissa Leo, "The Fighter"
Jacki Weaver, "Animal Kingdom"

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, "The Fighter"
Michael Douglas, "Wall Street 2"
Andrew Garfield, "The Social Network"
Jeremy Renner, "The Town"
Geoffrey Rush, "The King's Speech"

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"
David Fincher, "The Social Network"
Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"
Christopher Nolan, "Inception"
David O. Russell, "The Fighter"

Best Screenplay
Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, "127 Hours"
"Lisa Cholodenko, "The Kids are Alright"
Christopher Nolan, "Inception"
David Sieber, "The King's Speech"
Aaron Sorkin, "The Social Network"

Best Animated Feature
"Despicable Me"
"The Illusionist"
"Toy Story 3"

Best Foreign Language Film
"The Concert"
"The Edge"
"I Am Love"
"In a Better World"

Best Original Song
"Bound to You," "Burlesque"
"Coming Home," "Country Song"
"I See the Light," "Tangled"
"There's a Place For Us," "Dawn Treader"
"You Haven't Seen the Last of Me," "Burlesque"

Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat, "The King's Speech"
Danny Elfman, "Alice in Wonderland" 
AR Rahman, "127 Hours"
Hans Zimmer, ""Inception"
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, "The Social Network"

The 68th Annual Golden Globes airs live on NBC on January 16th, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Ricky Gervais is set to host for the second consecutive year. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TV REVIEW: The Walking Dead "TS-19"

     Opening this week's episode was a nice flashback that further explained how everything went down with Shane regarding leaving Rick behind. It was an exciting start that showed the military partaking in horrible damage control as they tried to keep the hospital quarantined by killing many infected. We learn that Shane did in fact believe Rick was dead, after not hearing his heartbeat. It helped add even more humanity to the great character that Shane is. Things pick up where the last episode ended with the group being let in to the CDC (Center for Disease Control).
     The new environment helped keep things exciting for me as you see the group finally able to enjoy some down time. But that excitement dies down the following day when the scientist, Jenner decides to show them some footage of a test subject. Basically, it's the evolution of someone who is infected and it just came off as extremely tedious. Finding out that the test subject was his wife tries its best to add some weight to it, to mixed results. Our survivors soon find out that the facility is going to shut down and decontamination will commence destroying everything and everyone in CDC. Obviously, this was there to put the group in peril but it just felt manufactured. Jenner knew this was going to happen, yet he still decided to let them into the facility. They try to give him a reason by having him express that the world is over and there's no hope left. But, it just came off as incredibly bad writing. It was just a case of poor character motivation, in my mind.
Just wasn't interesting.
      Rick eventually convinces Jenner to open the door exlaining that he knows the world is bleak but all he wants is a chance. Jacqui decides to stay as she doesn't want to face what's out there. It was a powerful character moment in an episode that was lacking. Andrea decides to stay too but Dale, stubbornly, convinces her to leave and the episode ends with everyone escaping minus Jenner and Jacqui.

     The shortness of The Walking Dead's first season helped caused many issues regarding pacing. On top of its rushed nature, the writing throughout the series was severely lacking. Aside from Shane, I can't name a single compelling character on the show. Rick has his moments and so does Dale and Andrea but their character development just feels lacking.

     The first 20 minutes or so of this episode really kept me entertained. It was nice to see the characters in a new setting but all that was squandered by the end. The writing just isn't getting the job done. Now, don't get me wrong. I enjoyed this first season. It had a great pilot episode and episode 3 was also excellent but everything else was just good, not great.  With a 13 episode second season, hopefully they'll be able to take the time to craft characters in a more subtle and convincing way.



Friday, December 3, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas: Christmas Movie List

    It's that time of the year. December has arrived and with it, brings the joys of Christmas. The holiday has always held a special place in my heart as it does for many of us. When I think of Christmas growing up, I think of sitting in my living room by the beautiful Christmas tree that my family are I decorated together. I would sit there and listen to the Chipmunk's Christmas album, on my toy record player and just anticipate all the great presents that were hopefully awaiting me come Christmas morning. On Christmas Eve night, before going to bed, my siblings and I would always leave out cookies and milk for when Santa stopped by. Trying to sleep that night was always nearly impossible knowing the joys that awaited when we woke Christmas morning.

    Christmas has changed over the years. We no longer leave cookies for Santa. I no longer listen to the Chipmunk's Christmas album and our family doesn't decorate the tree together either. Traditions have come and gone. But the meaning of what Christmas is, for me, has changed. It has become less about presents and more about family. Christmas reaffirms what's most important in life: Spending time and appreciating the people you love.

You all know who you are.

Here are the movies Liz and I will watch this year:
note: Why? Because it wouldn't be Christmas without them. 

Starring James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who loses all hope until he's shown what life would be like without him. It's A Wonderful Life is perhaps, the greatest Christmas movie ever made. 

A Christmas Story brilliantly captures what Christmas is like growing up in the Midwest. Essential viewing.

Macaulay Culkin plays a brat named Kevin who takes his family for granted until they're gone. A film with great gags and a tremendous amount of heart.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone DIRECTED BY: CHRIS COLUMBUS
This film was my first exposure to the Harry Potter universe and I fell in love instantly. Chris Columbus faithfully adapted the source material and Harry Potter has become synonymous with Christmas for me, thanks to its November release. Potter and Christmas just feels right. 

 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets DIRECTED BY: CHRIS COLUMBUS
Another great adaptation that captures the essence of its source material. Chris Columbus was flawless with his Potter work, in my eyes.

The Muppet Christmas Carol DIRECTED BY: BRIAN HENSON
The Muppets and Christmas go hand in hand as this particular adaptation of the classic tale is just pure holiday joy. 

This has quickly become a Christmas classic as it portrays the mainly kinds of loves that fill this world. A truly wonderful film that will leave you happy as can be. 

 National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation DIRECTED BY: JEREMIAH S. CHECHIK
A ridiculously hilarious holiday classic featuring the comedic genius of Chevy Chase and Randy Quaid among many many others. Great cast and a great Christmas film.

The Nightmare Before Christmas DIRECTED BY: HENRY SELICK
It works for Halloween or Christmas, how swell! But more so for Christmas. 



Happy Tree Friends: Christmas Episodes (MY GIRLFRIEND  HATES THESE)


Monday, November 29, 2010

TV REVIEW: The Walking Dead "Wildfire"

     The Walking Dead slows its pace in this week's episode drastically. For good reason, as last week's episode ended with a massacre at the camp in which Amy (Andrea's younger sister) got bit, among others. The episode opens with Rick at dawn, trying to contact Morgan over the walkies, to failed results. I understand the need to help build Rick's character as someone with a high moral code but the scenes just rung false to me. The rest of the folk back at the camp are busy disposing of the zombie bodies (burning them) and the victims of the attack. Glenn has a nice scene where he explains to Daryl that there's a pile for 'Geeks' (zombies) and there's a pile for the one's who lived among them. Obviously, humanity is a big part of any zombie story and it's clear that this episode focused on the theme extensively.
     The death of Amy isn't going too well with Andrea, expectantly.  She's been up all night just kneeling over Amy's body. The others are clearly worried as it's only a matter of time before she comes back as a zombie. But they are respectful and give Andrea her time as she clearly is a capable and sensible woman who knows what needs to be done, when the time comes. Tension during the episode runs high as Rick proposes the idea to go to CDC (Center for Disease Control). Shane doesn't agree with Rick but his option involves them having to travel 100 miles. Shane also expresses to Rick how unwise it was to have left them there and that many of the casualties that were suffered resulted from that decision. They built the tension well as Shane has a rather ugly moment as he contemplates shooting Rick, unknown to Rick but observed by Dale. Rick later confides in his wife Lori, looking for some peace of mind but she doesn't lie to him about how she feels. It helped build Lori's character, who has come off a bit cold, and I found myself starting to get a sense of who she is.
      Dale pays his respect to Amy as he tries to console Andrea. The scene between the two of them started off a bit disingenuous but the scene took its time and grew into something more. Amy's reawakening was absolutely heartbreaking, as you see the sadness and vacancy in her eyes. We also discover Jim's been bit and his eventual death is chronicled throughout the episode. Rick wants to try to get him help, that's why he offers up the whole CDC idea in the first place. Hopeful thinking doesn't go too far, as they eventually leave Jim on the side of the road on there way to CDC, at Jim's request. Another scene that could have been heavy-handed is handled with care as Jim refuses to take a gun (to kill himself) that the group is clearly going to need.

     At this point in the episode, the twist comes in as the viewer is brought into CDC headquarters. As a sole scientist (presumably) is working on a cure, a la "I Am Legend." He's on the brink of giving up as his tests go wrong on him and he considers taking his life. Our survivors eventually make their way to CDC. When they arrive to CDC the entire area is in disarray. Bodies surround the building as they make their way to the front. Most of them quickly decide that no help is to be found here but Rick is adamant that someone is in the building and this is confirmed when Rick notices the camera on the outside of the building move, as the CDC scientist is watching them, hoping they'll go away. But his conscious gets the best of him as he opens the door for them and we are left with another great cliffhanger.
     I was surprised by this departure but I feel like it's a minor thing to help set up the final episode for this season. The slower pace of this episode was bothersome at first, but all the quiet moments were given enough time to blossom into something more. With one episode left, I feel like it was way shorter than it should have been. As much as I've enjoyed the show, up until this point, I don't feel a connection to most of the characters aside from Rick, Shane and Andrea. And I feel this is due to season one's time constraints. It's been a solid season but it needs more characterization. I need and want to care. 

Note: Some reviews have mentioned the fact that Daryl made no mention of his missing brother, Merle, which is clearly a misstep in character continuity. But I don't like Daryl or Merle enough to care.

Monday, November 22, 2010

TV REVIEW: The Walking Dead "Vatos"

     Tonight’s episode was written by Robert Kirkman himself and opens with a nice scene with Amy and Andrea reminiscing about their father. Sometimes you forget the gravitas of the situation these characters are in and the scene forced the viewer to step back and contemplate this. It's a sweet scene that sets up symmetry to the episode, which gets spelled out during the climax of the episode when all hell breaks loose.

     With the last episode, we were left with quite the cliffhanger and we pick up right where we left off with Rick and company. They don't find Merle but the search for him takes them on quite the adventure. In the midst of them trying to retrieve the lost weapons, Daryl gets jumped, by some 'vatos' and Glenn gets kidnapped. But Rick and company capture a hostage of their own, who guides them to the gang's hideout. The scenes that follow showcase Rick's level of courage as he decides to get Glenn back, at all costs. But the gang isn't who they seem to be and there's a nice little twist that was welcome. The way they handled the twist was pretty damn cheesy and that took away from its desired effectiveness. But at the same time, it was nice that the unexpected happened, so points for that.

     Back at the camp, one of the survivors, Jim, is going a bit crazy (digging graves) and just all around creeping out the rest of the campers. Andrew Rothenberg does a fine job playing a man who clearly is starting to lose it. Shane does a fairly good job handling it and it ends in Jim getting tied to a tree. Jim makes mention of dreams he's been having and it leaves us with some foreboding warnings of what's to come. And boy do those warnings come to fruition. During a seemingly peaceful night around the campfire, shit hits the fan as some zombies show up to spoil everything. Things get really bad and many characters, who we've come to know die. Rick and friends show up just in time to join the fight. The gore is heavy during this intense and tragic action sequence. KNB didn't fail to impress with their excellent make-up work.
     The Walking Dead comic has a knack for killing off characters that you've come to know and it's great to see the show doing the same. Unpredictability is a great thing. I'm excited to see where the show is taken from here, as they clearly will be leaving the camp. The departure from the comic is something that I thought I would dislike but it helps keep me excited about the unknown future of the show. Only two episodes left, not nearly enough for my liking.  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

ALBUM REVIEW: My Chemical Romance "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killyjoys"

     My Chemical Romance returns after a 4 year hiatus. They follow up their critically acclaimed "The Black Parade" with their post-apocalyptic vision of the future in "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys."

     Clearly inspired by Road Warrior/Mad Max and Power Rangers with a little bit of Akira thrown into the mix, they marked the announcement of their new album with their first single, "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na). It's a great way to start the album, as it's upbeat as ever and lyrically a lot of fun. The album as a whole doesn't have a vast amount of hits like previous albums but there's plenty of bright spots. Their second single "SING" is the first time the album slows its pace and it's a brilliantly simple song that just grew on me. Following "SING" is the tremendously fun, pedal-to-the-metla Planetary (GO!), which happens to be the official theme song of the upcoming racing sim, Gran Turismo 5.
     Other bright spots are the cleverly titled , "Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back." It's a fun song with a hook very reminiscent of 90's grunge as Mr. Way wails away. "Party Poison" is another entertaining track but unfortunately sounds a bit too generic for my taste but thankfully not as generic as "The Black Parade's" third single "Teenagers." The track "Destroya" features Way screaming away. The song resembles the band "Coheed and Cambria" but is missing that much needed hook. If you listened to the album you can immediately tell I'm skipping over pretty much all of the slower paced tracks but it's for good reason. They all miss the mark. "Scarecrow, The Only Hopes For Me Is You, The Kids From Yesterday and Summertime" all fall flat. They're not bad songs but there's nothing particularly memorable about them either.  I always felt I didn't care for their slower songs but after re-evaluating their previous albums I realize that, on the contrary, I've loved most of them. (Ghost of You, Demolition Lovers, Cancer)

     I absolutely love the imagery and world they created that the album exists in but musically and lyrically, it falls short. I still think it's a damn good album, though. What's good here is a lot of fun and there's no taking away from that. But comparatively, not quite as the rest of their discography. The vision of the world is amazing and it's why I love My Chemical Romance but the music has to be there too and it just misses the mark of excellence that I hoped it would reach.