Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Birthday: Lauren Bacall

Happy Birthday to Lauren Bacall, also known as Betty Perske, who is 87 today. I have seen a lot of her films, but my favorites are still the ones she made with Humphrey Bogart. I don't care about their age difference. They were marvelous together. My favorite Bogie and Bacall collaboration is 'The Big Sleep' with 'To Have and Have Not' following close behind.

I've read some of Bacall's autobiography. What I have read so far has been very entertaining and quite humorous. I love her stories about Droopy, her cocker spaniel, as well as her romance with Bogie. Yes, I know those are two very different subjects, but they are both awesome to read about.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RIP: Grace Kelly

Today marks the 29th anniversary of Grace Kelly's death. I recently went to a screening of Rear Window (1954) at a theater close to where I live. Seeing Jimmy, Grace, and Thelma on the big screen was spectacular. One of my favorite films of all time with or without the big screen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

True Blood: And When I Die

Vampires are the most interesting undead creatures, in my opinion. They aren't brain dead like zombies; they are improved versions of their human-selves. They are stronger, quicker, more attractive, and possess special abilities and heightened senses. Of course, there are some versions of vampires out there that don't fit this description entirely, such as Vampire Count Orlok who is frightfully unattractive and spooky, but the majority of them do fit this description. True Blood vampires, Bela Lugusi's Dracula, Anne Rice vampires, and Stephen King's Salem Lot vampires are all awesome vampires. All of these vampires would brutally pulverize Edward Cullen and his fellow sparkly vampire clan.

True Blood first started in the summer of 2008 on HBO. The first time I watched an episode, I was a bit overwhelmed with everything. As most of you probably know, HBO isn't afraid to show, do, or say anything and Season 1 is full of gore and it's pretty intense to watch. I also didn't watch the first episode at that time, so I didn't know what was happening in the story line. I decided that I had to start from the beginning and that's when I was hooked. Sookie and Bill's first encounter is all it took. I was just as intrigued by Bill as Sookie was! Although, she was mainly intrigued by Bill because she couldn't hear his thoughts. Being telepathic would seriously suck most of the time. I also liked the story line and how vampires were first being let 'out of the coffin' into the human society, trying to be considered equals instead of monsters.

Season 2 is fantastic as well. The vampires and Sookie are dealing with a religious cult in this season and the cult is determined to rid the world of vampires forever. We are introduced to a Maenad in this season. It's definitely something that you never want to come into contact with, unless you are in the mood for blacking out or being forced to feel excruciating pain, which I highly doubt any of you are. This season also focuses more on what a shape shifter is, which I won't go too much into because it's much more fun to learn about it in the show.

Season 3 is a bit of a let down. Too many different story lines are happening and it would have been better to not have introduced them all at the same time. However, it mainly focuses on the insanity and pure evilness of the vampire Russell Edgington. Russell sees himself as being far above the human race and the majority of vampires. He's not the kind of guy that you would ever want to come into contact with because he will most likely brutally torture and murder you. Werewolves and Were-Panthers are introduced during this season as well. The majority of the werewolves are extra-strong and ferocious due to their drug addiction to V, which is vampire blood. Alcide, however, is an amazing werewolf, very sweet and handsome.

Season 4 was absolutely fantastic. I think it matched Season 1 as being the best season of True Blood thus far. The main villain this season is Marnie, a Wiccan obsessed with power and destroying the vampire race. She is a meek and harmless person until she becomes possessed by the spirit of a witch who was tortured by vampires during her lifetime. Marnie ends up being more frightening and more chemically imbalanced than the Maenad and Russell.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today marks the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks. I will never forget how tragic that day was back in 2001. I was in the 8th grade and someone ran into my science class to turn on the television saying that there had been a terrorist attack. We didn't have normal classes for the rest of the day. Some students had family members in New York at this time. Luckily, their family members were not hurt or killed that day.

My heart goes out to those who lost someone on 9/11. It also goes out to the courageous firemen who did everything in their power to save as many people as they possibly could that day. We will never forget this day. We will always remember to honor those who were lost and impacted by the 9/11 attacks.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall Has Returned

I love this time of the year, despite the cooler weather. I can't wait for apples to be in season and they will be soon. Apple crisp is the best dessert EVER created. The sweet apples mixed with the spicy cinnamon, white sugar, and oatmeal is soooo delicious! 

What I'm looking forward to most about autumn is the month of October! Why? Well, because that will be the time when I watch a horror movie or something related to horror, such as the haunted house stories and haunted attraction segments on the Travel Channel, every single day of the month. I love it! I kind of want to start watching all horror movies already, but I'll try to wait it out! Unless I decide to make my horror movie marathon last for over a month. I'm reading a horror novel right now called Ghosts, so maybe that will be enough horror until October...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Grey Gardens (1975)

There are some strange people out in the world. You never know where you're going to find them, but you usually never forget about them. Edith Bouvier Beale (Big Edie) and her middle-aged daughter (Little Edie) are two strange people that I will never forget. I never met them, but I did watch the documentary about them called Grey Gardens.

Grey Gardens is about Jackie O's eccentric relatives, Big Edie and Little Edie. The documentary captures interesting moments of their lives while they are living in their large decaying estate called Grey Gardens. The two are intent on shutting out what their lives are like at the present time, but they love recalling the past, when they were richer and their lives were full of more friends and a greater quality of life.

The lives of Big Edie and Little Edie are very dysfunctional. This is both entertaining and unnerving to watch. These poor women are living in a house that is filthy due to their hoarding and neglect for keeping the house in better shape, as well as their lifestyles in general. It's odd and it's awful, yet it's so intriguing to watch.

The Killing (1956)

When I think of Stanley Kubrick, I don't usually think of film noir and crime. I think more about The Shining and A Clockwork Orange, but that's all changing now. The Killing is one of the best heist films that I have seen. I can't believe I knew basically nothing about it until I watched it on instant.

The Killing is about a group of crooks who plan and execute a dangerous racetrack robbery. The amount of planning they do is very detailed and precise. However, things get complicated when one man's wife gets involved and a little dog accidently intervenes.

I love watching films that involve a lot of scheming. I have to watch to find out if the schemers are going to be caught or if all of them will actually get away with the heist. Even if the crooks do get caught, it's still interesting to see what they get away with up until that point. The ones in this film get away with quite a lot, it's pretty impressive to see.

This film requires your attention at all times. If you must take a break to go get a snack or a glass of water or whatever, be sure to pause it! I guarantee that you will miss a piece of the puzzle if you do this, so don't do it!

The 39 Steps (1935)

Oh, Hitchcock, you've done it again! Believe it or not, I watched The 39 Steps for the first time this weekend. Love that the Hitchcockian motifs are in this film as well. I wish I could see the play version of this, I bet it's awesome.

The 39 Steps is about a man, Richard Hannay, who leaves to go on vacation in England. When there, he unwillingly gets involved with a murder. He is then accused of committing the murder himself. As a result, he is forced to go on the run to save himself, as well as stop a spy ring from obtaining top secret information.

The 'innocent man' in Hitchcock films is one of my favorite motifs. It plays out spectacularly in this film. It sure would be awful to be the one in the innocent man's shoes, but it sure is entertaining to watch one of them deal with the situation.

Black Narcissus (1947)

You'd think that a film about a bunch of nuns would be pretty boring, right? I'll admit, that's what I was thinking when I first started watching Black Narcissus. I was very, very wrong though, this movie is weird enough to be awesome in my book.

Black Narcissus is a film about a group of nuns who are sent to establish a new convent far into the Himalayas. This proves to be a very difficult task, due to the location, culture, and sanitation differences that the Sisters must become accustomed to. Despite the difficulties they are up against, they soon are able to accomplish building both a school and infirmary. However, the altitude of the mountains seems to be having a strange effect on the Sisters. One in particular, Sister Ruth, ends up gradually losing her mind, as well as developing an unhealthy obsession the local general's agent, Mr. Dean.

The best part of the film is when Sister Ruth loses her mind. A lot happens during this point of the film. It's full of action, suspense, and it's a bit chaotic.

I also love the rich use of color throughout this film. It makes the costumes look that much more vibrant and exotic. It also adds to the scenery and set design of the film.

The Red Shoes (1948)

I'm surprised about how many awesome ballet movies there are out there. I've seen a couple of twisted ballet films: Black Swan (2010) and Suspiria (1977). The Red Shoes is not nearly as disturbing as either of these two films, but it does contain the element of determined dancer who is possessed by the thought of becoming the perfect ballerina protege. In fact, it's much more similar to Black Swan than I was expecting it to be. Not to the extent where I was freaked out by what I was watching, but the amount of devotion to the dance that both of the main characters exhibit is frightening similar.

The Red Shoes is about an amazingly gifted ballerina, Victoria Page. She loves the art of ballet and is entirely devoted to perfecting her technique in order to become the best in the business. Boris Lermontov, the overbearing director of the ballet company, recognizes her potential and is intent on pushing her to be the best prima ballerina ever. Everything seems to be working out perfectly, but life changes once Vicky falls in love with the brilliant music composer, Julian Craster. Boris is excruciatingly jealous of and against the love affair and decides that he will do anything to end the romance. As a result, Vicky is torn between her two loves, ballet and Julian.

This film is so pretty. The colors are vibrant and the dance scenes are absolutely beautiful to watch. Even if you're not a big fan of ballet, I'm sure that you will be able to recognize the true beauty of it if you watch this film. The scenes are that glorious.

My favorite scene, besides the Red Shoes scene, in this film is the Swan Dance scene. I've always loved that song and the ballet dancing that goes along with it. It's powerful and it's lovely.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dazed and Confused (1993)

Comedies about life during high school are generally pretty great. Who doesn't like The Breakfast Club (1985), Sixteen Candles (1984), Pretty in Pink (1986), Carrie (1976), Risky Business (1983), Donnie Darko (2001), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), or Mean Girls (2004)? Chances are, you like at least one of those films, if not all or the majority of them. Dazed and Confused is another high school comedy that's worth seeing.

Dazed and Confused is about the adventures of both upperclassmen and incoming freshmen students on the last day of school in 1976. The upperclassmen have taken it into their own hands to make sure the freshmen are hazed, just like they were when they were freshmen; it's tradition. All of them are set on partying as much as possible in order to celebrate the last day of school, by getting high, drunk, and/or laid. 

This film has an awesome soundtrack. In fact, I think it's safe to say that it's my favorite thing about the film. It went perfect with all of the scenes, especially the party scenes. I also love the 70s clothes and hairstyles. Awesome time period! I wish I had been alive during it. The hazing that happens in this film looks like it would be dreadful to partake in, especially if you're the freshman (obviously). I never had to deal with any myself, but that doesn't mean it didn't exist at my school. It just seems more like a thing that high school guys get involved with.   

Heaven Can Wait (1943)

I first watched Heaven Can Wait a couple of years ago. I didn't know much about the film, but it was playing at a local theater near me, so I decided to go and see it. I absolutely loved it then and I still do now. It's full of wit and romance. If you haven't watched it yet, then you should try to watch it soon; it's fantastic.

Heaven Can Wait is a film about a man, Henry Van Cleve, who, upon his death, believes that he should be put into Hell. The Devil doubts that Henry's sins are that severe, but agrees to listen to his life story anyway. While telling his life story, he emphasizes on the times where he is cheating someone or being a womanizer.

The infidelity in this film is only hinted at, nothing is shown, we don't see him with any lovers, yet it seems obvious that Henry hasn't been fully faithful to his wife. I find this hard to believe because his wife, Martha, is played by Gene Tierney, so she is very pretty, quiet, and kind. Why would that prompt anyone to cheat? That must have been Henry's point though, he just didn't treat her the way he felt she should have been treated. However, he did truly love his wife.

The best character in this film is the Grandpa. He's the coolest grandpa ever! He didn't buy into the phony and uppity lifestyle that Henry's silly parents and cousin were so intent on being a part of. I love how he mocks these people, but they don't catch on to the sarcasm. The cousin does eventually, but not all the time.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

RoboCop (1987)

Earlier this year, a viral Internet campaign was created in order to raise money for a RoboCop statue to be placed in Detroit. In less than 10 days, the campaign reached its $50,000 goal. The estimated 8-foot tall RoboCop statue will be bronze and it will be revealed to the public during the spring next year. Will it be awesome or ridiculous? Probably both, but we'll just have to wait and see!

RoboCop is a science-fiction film about a cop, Alex Murphy, who is brutally murdered by a street gang and then reconstructed into a robot-cop named, what else, RoboCop. RoboCop was created in order to fight dangerous criminals and he proves to be very successful. However, because of his success, he becomes the number one target of the evil and severely violent, Clarence Boddicker. Will RoboCop be able to defeat him or will he be destroyed by Boddicker? Watch to find out.

I found RoboCop to be a pretty ridiculous movie. Just because I thought it was ridiculous doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I liked watching RoboCop defend the city of Detroit from the cronies who kept trying to destroy it from being peaceful. I also enjoyed watching RoboCop recall memories from his human life. There's a lot of gore in this film and I think some of those who have not seen this will not want to see this film because of it, even if the gore is a bit over-the-top and fake looking.

Le Corbeau (The Raven) (1943)

Have you ever been a recipient of a 'poison-pen' letter? A cryptic letter that has been sent to you anonymously in order to insult you, frighten you, or accuse you of committing a terrible or vicious deed?  I sure hope not because that'd be awful! Can you imagine if everyone in your town was sent one of these by an anonymous source? I bet it would cause a lot of tension, suspicion, and fear to be felt by everyone involved.

'Le Corbeau' is about a town's society's attack by an anonymous and cruel poison pen writer. The writer has been sending out letters to everyone in town, degrading some and exposing others darkest secrets. No one is safe from the poison pen's venomous messages and everybody is a suspect. Why is one of the town's citizens so intent on defaming everyone living there? Do they like causing chaos, fear, and tragedy to strike and destroy lives? Why would anyone like to cause these issues? No one but the poison pen writer him or herself knows the answers to these questions.

This film is an excellent 'whodunnit' thriller. I changed my mind a couple times about who I thought the culprit was and you all know how much I love a mystery. A lot happens throughout the film that allows you to keep guessing until the end. This makes for a fun and intriguing film viewing experience. If you haven't watched this film already, please do. I highly doubt that you will be disappointed by it.

The Third Man (1949)

The Third Man is one of the best film noir thrillers out there. It's one of Joseph Cotten's best films and it's my favorite from Orson Welles. I'm all about Welles' cuckoo clock scene! Forget about Citizen Kane (1949), The Third Man is where it's at! It's full of suspense and awesomeness.

The Third Man is about an unemployed pulp novelist, Holly Martins. He decides to travel to post-World War II Vienna in order to visit an old friend, Harry, who has offered him a new job. Upon his arrival, he learns that Harry has died in an accident. However, something about the death seems extremely fishy. He decides to talk to some of Harry's associates, only to find that none of the stories are consistent with each other. Holly realizes that if he wants to uncover the truth about his friend's death, then he's going to have to do quite a bit of investigating on his own.

I don't know how anyone could watch The Third Man and find it to be boring. The story is interesting and Joseph Cotten gives a brilliant performance as Holly Martins. I love following Holly's story and how his investigations unravel the truth of his friend throughout the film. The black-and-white world being exhibited in this film is gloomy, dark and fantastic due to the different angles, as well as the use of both light and shadows. This film is sensational.