Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween: A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Horror Movie!!

There's nothing better than snuggling up in bed on Halloween night and watching a great flick. That's what I'm planning on doing tonight - I just got "The Shining" on Blu-Ray from Netflix, and needless to say, I am very giddy.

But Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece isn't for everyone; so how do you decide which movie to rent? I want to break down horror movies into simple categories, maybe this will help you decide what's right for you:

Examples: "The Amityville Horror," "The Others," "Poltergeist"
These are always a hit. It's scary to imagine your home being invaded by unfriendly spirits. Most of the time, the characters end up going insane and killing their families.
USE CAUTION IF: You live in a large home and the person you're watching with has a record of scaring the crap out of you when watching such movies.

*Creature Features*
Examples: "Alien," "Jaws," "The Hills Have Eyes"
Probably not as scary as you'd think, since off the bat you know that these things don't exist. But they will give you a good fright.
USE CAUTION IF: You believe in things such as chupacabras and Bigfoot.

*Blood and Gore*
Examples: "Saw," "The Devil's Rejects," "Dead Alive"
What would Halloween be without a little bloodshed? Ok, tons of bloodshed. Brain matter, intestines, severed all reminds you how terribly delicate the human body is.
USE CAUTION IF: You are squeamish and you just downed a plate of nachos.

Examples: "The Strangers," "Last House On The Left," "Funny Games"
For me, these are the movies that haunt my dreams. Nobody ever wants to imagine a home invasion, and these movies remind you to get that home security system you've been needing - and a shotgun.
USE CAUTION IF: You've watched too many episodes of "Cold Case Files."

*Satanic Cults*
Examples: "Rosemary's Baby," "The Omen," "The Exorcist"
What can be scarier than the Prince of Darkness and his followers using you as a sacrifice? Or impregnating you with his son? These movies certainly leave an impression on you, although they probably won't give you nightmares.
USE CAUTION IF: You have a strong aversion to all things Lucifer.

Examples: "Paranormal Activity," "Blair Witch Project," "Quarantine"
Thanks to the invention of the hand-held camera, being an amateur filmmaker is easier than ever. These movies scare you with real-time documentation of some pretty horrible events. Infrared and night-vision help to creep you out even more.
USE CAUTION IF: You are susceptible to motion sickness.

Examples: "Shaun of the Dead," "Ghostbusters," "Young Frankenstein"
If you want to skip the scary all-together, your best bet is to choose one of these. They're kid friendly and easy to deal with.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Vault: "Labyrinth" [Blu-Ray]

"Don't tell me truth hurts, little girl, 'cause it hurts like hell..."

I have fond memories of watching this movie before nap-time when I was in preschool. Don't ask me why the teachers thought it was a good idea. I mean, the music is amazing and it's a fun story to follow, but OMG - how many creepy creatures are in this thing?! It's no wonder why I turned out to be an unsuccessful, pot-smoking writer and film enthusiast...damn you and your wickedly awesome imagination, Jim Henson! You convinced me that adulthood is for pussies! Now I'm stuck here behind my netbook drinking coffee from 7-11 thinking I have it all figured out.

Sarah (played by a very young Jennifer Connelly), is fed up with her adult responsibility of caring for her infant step-brother. Oh drats! She accidentally summons the Goblin King (David Bowie) who steals her step-brother away in his castle at the center of the Labyrinth. Sarah encounters several strange creatures, perhaps not appropriate for toddlers:

- Hoggle, a nasty looking dwarf with a fetish for plastic
- The Worm, a cute British worm dressed to the nines in round glasses and an ascot
- Brownies who change the lipstick arrows mapping Sarah's path
- The Foxy Guards who love to 69 it
- The Door Knockers, who are obviously piercing-enthusiasts
- The Wiseman, armed with a taking bird for a safety helmet
- Birds who rip off their own heads and limbs all in the name of song and dance
- Ludo, the gentle giant who can summon rocks...WTF?!
- Sir Didymous, the fox who rides an English sheepdog

And of course...

David Bowie's terrible costume. It is a creature all on its own. I counted how many times Jareth's crotch was directly in view of the camera, zoomed in, sometimes facing the mouth of the other character facing him: 5. Really? And early on in the movie, when a 5-year old would still be awake to see it...

Anyway, it was a real trip watching this movie again. It looks amazing on Blu-Ray, and it's sold for a decent price @ Frye's. Enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Jackass 3D" shocks and entertains - 3D was done right: B+

The boys are back in town!

Just when you think you've outgrown the outlandish antics of the Jackass crew, the third installment makes you realize that, like them, you'll probably never grow up. The movie opens with a surprise introduction from two very famous MTV icons...any guesses? (HINT: It's not Carson Daly or Daria).

In coordinating rainbow colors, the movie opens with the boys doing some pretty crazy stunts in "Time Warp" fashion. Think super-slow bullet time, but with paintball guns and very large fish.

"Jackass" is probably one of the only movie franchises that DOESN'T blow its wad in the trailers. The high-five is just the tip of the iceberg, but still remains my favorite part of the movie. Let's just say that when the Jackass crew asks you to bring in some hot soup on a plastic tray, you don't do it!

Without spoiling the movie too much, I'd like to make a short list of my favorite pranks:

1. The High Five
2. Rocky
3. Stun Gun Jailbreak
4. The Invisible Man
5. The Field Goal

It's not getting a perfect score from me, simply because there was too much human excrement for a normal person to handle. (I couldn't watch the turd volcano or the port-a-potty bungee). But other than that, "Jackass 3D" was pretty damn awesome. I hear that Dickhouse is going to release "Jackass 3.5", which will include all the stunts that didn't make it into the movie. (If you haven't watched "Jackass 2.5" rent it NOW!)

By the way, I was happy to hear from Johnny Knoxville on "The Daily Show" that the movie WAS shot with 3D cameras. So many movies are doing the whole post-production thing and it's completely terrible. So, go ahead and pay the extra dough to get the 3D glasses for this one: it's well worth it!

Monday, October 4, 2010

You Need To Watch This: "The IT Crowd"

Just got into Season 4 of my favorite British series, "The IT Crowd." If you've never heard of it, you fall into the category of most people here in the states. I'm not writing this to convince you to watch it, but I do want to share my enthusiasm for the show.

Moss, Roy, and Jen work for Reynholm Industries in the IT Department. The official greeting being, "Hello IT, have you tried turning it off and on again?" Roy (Chris O'Dowd) and Moss (Richard Ayoade) are the brains of the department. Moss is incredibly awkward and socially inept, while Roy dreams of a better life outside of IT. Jen (Katherine Parkinson) is the Supervisor, the only one of the three with absolutely no computer knowledge. The three of them together makes for perhaps the funniest satirical take on office life - something the Brits are really good at making fun of, vis-a-vis Ricky Gervais on "The Office".

The show is completely absurd, and will surely not get big over here any time soon. I really can't say enough for the show, show here's some of my favorite "IT Crowd" moments, thanks to YouTube:

Jen tries her hand at speaking Italian.

Moss figures out how to store his cell phone.

Roy goes on a date with chocolate on his head.
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