Everybody Scream!!!

Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson have returned for another installment of a franchise that reinvigorated the slasher flick genre with a bit of wit, thought, and the old cliche for good measure.  Scream 4, while not as uniquely original as the, well, original,  does keep you looking for the usual suspects like the broody Ex-boyfriend, or the Crazy Eyed deputy that has a torch for the Boss.

For those of you who have never seen a Scream movie, I ask you why not?  Is it because you don’t like slasher flicks or is it because you don’t enjoy that feeling like your heart will skip a beat when something pops out from beyond the camera’s view?  Is it because you feel like the horror movie genre is somehow less intellectual than you would like?  If your reason is because of the latter, I do concur that many of the slasher flicks nowadays can go way too far (like House of 1,000 Corpses or Devil’s Rejects); there are still some that try to challenge you and keep up with the times.

And that brings me back to Scream 4.  The series revolves around Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell), an “unlucky” girl whose mother was a little too “flirty” with the boys.  At least that’s how the whole thing began.  So long story short, usually during the anniversary of her mother’s killing, someone tries to kill Sydney.  Ta-da.  I’m not trying to make light of the movie. That’s just how it is.

The more I think about this movie, the more I think I like it.  Not just for the entertainment value of it, and it really was entertaining.  I kept turning to my partner in crime and saying, “I bet it’s ———.” throughout the film.  And even though I could figure out the formula, there was a step that I overlooked.   I won’t tell you what part it was, or it may ruin the ending for you.

For a horror movie, the acting was pretty good.  Nothing that is going to win an Oscar or anything, but it was almost all believable. There were a few moments when Neve Campbell would make her usual smile/smirk face as though she was nearly incredulous yet offended at the same time, and I remember thinking, “She does that often, doesn’t she?”  Not just in this series of movies, but in others like The Company (which I really love. It’s a dancing movie, c’mon!)  One of the characters that I had a hard time rooting for was Olivia, played by  Marielle Jaffe, so (SPOILER>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>) I found that when she was a victim, I was A-Okay with it.  Rounding out the major cast is David Arquette as Sheriff Dewey, Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers and Dewey’s Wife, Emma Roberts playing Jill Roberts and Hayden Panettiere as BFF Kirby (who’s hair I LOVED!)

So here’s why I really like this movie.  It’s well directed!  Wes Craven shows why he is the master of suspense.  Once again an iconic serial killer is brought to the public consciousness that people will always associate with a particular image.  Craven’s knack for showing you the victims surprise/pain/anguish is remarkable.  (Inconsequential SPOILER>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>) One that immediately comes to mind is the death of Sydney’s publicist, Rebecca Walters, (Alison Brie).  After the usual intense moments of being trapped in a hospital parking lot in a car with a killer just outside, the victim makes a run to “safety” only to find that the door that separates her from the very people who try to prevent death is locked.  Craven cuts quickly from her trying the door to turning just in time to see that image racing at her with only that door to stop his momentum.  The subtlety could be easily overlooked, but sometimes, on very rare occasions, the lightbulb fizzles on for me.

On top of the directing, Kevin Williamson returns to the franchise that he created and has penned a script filled with smarts, creativity, societal/generational morality/ethics, and humor.  The opening has a triple decker of murder, but all of them are just part of the formula.  Kind of like a cinematic amuse-bouche.  It’s not an appetizer that you just order off the menu; the chef decides to allow you the little morsel of bloody goodness to wet your appetite for what’s to come.   The juiciest piece was Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell! You can totally tell what’s gonna happen, but it’s so funny that there’s no way you can’t enjoy it.

Williamson’s writing for this particular installment stays so modern to  society today in that everything is so Technoriented (yes, I just made that up) there’s no true sense of privacy anymore and there’s hardly any originality being brought to light.  So what’s one to do? To try to outdo the original of course, and in the process to show how you are doing it so that way you can be famous.  One of the scenes is at the “Cinema Club” AKA A/V Club and the leaders of the group go into explaining what the next logical step of a horror film would be.  Their thought (which actually frightens me that someone may get the notion to do this) is that the killer should be taping it and streaming it Vlog style so that the crimes will live on well after the death of the killer.  I hope that never happens, but then again… There’s a wonderful little monologue near the end of the flick where Sydney is being told why this is happening.  It makes mention of the fact that nowadays you don’t have to really do anything special or have any talent to be famous.  You just have to make a lot of crazy decisions or have something horrible happen to you that you can milk.  Of course I am severely paraphrasing here with my bad memory so know that it’s much more interesting and well worded than this.  Hahaha.  As for humor, who else would fit in word play like “Shriek-quel” for sequel?

But I highly recommend taking a gander at the Scream movies if not all of them, then at least the first one and this latest one.  The original movie has such an amazing first scene that to this day it is one of my all times faves! The intensity is priceless.

Have you seen the movie yet?  What do you think of it?  Was it too gory? Not enough?  Maybe too corny? Lemme know!

So for all of you that have read this far, I offer you a little treat.  I am giving away a tiny gift certificate to AMC Theatres for answering the two following questions and #2 must be correct:

1.  What’s your favorite scary movie?

2. Can you tie the term amuse-bouche to the franchise I just wrote about?  *Note: There is only one answer for this.

In order to qualify, just write a comment in the section below with both answers.  The answer to question 2 must be correct.  All correct entries will be entered into a drawing and the winner picked at random.  Deadline: May 1, 2011. Good luck!!



As of 9/29….CONGRATS to Joseph M. Monks and crew!!!  With 34 hours left in the campaign his total is at $5,228.  His goal was to collect just 5 G’s, but thanks to generous people who would like to help out the Indie filmmaker, his work will be completed.  I am looking forward to seeing what the end result will finally be.  Congrats again, and I wait with antici………………………………………………..pation!


Okay, I just read this article about a movie director that I had let you all know about to try and help out.

With Hollywood seemingly not having any imagination, what with all the remakes, oh sorry “re-imaginings” (that’s total BS!), something that is different needs to be promoted. Truth be told, we’ve all seen a slasher flick done over a million times, but what’s one more that has a twist.  It’s not a total slasher film, add in a cup of psycho-thiller, and you get “The Bunker.”

The twist in this instance is that the director, Joseph M. Monks,  as he likes to put it is “100 percent, lights-out blind blind. And I’ve directed a feature film.” He lost his sight due to diabetic retinopathy.  By working ever so closely with his cinematographer,  he has done what people have thought was impossible.  In true underdog fashion, he screened this movie at a few film festivals to seriously positive results! Here are a few quotes…

“I expected it (The Bunker) to be enjoyable, but this was so much more. The script is solid. The production values are good. The direction and editing are excellent. A solid story told well. I was suitably impressed–nice job!”
–Carnell, FANGORIA Magazine features writer

“A well-crafted, well-executed story that will stay with you long after the final credits roll. The Bunker is as frightening as the headlines on CNN, because it’s just as real, and twice as disturbing.”
–Franklin E. Wales, Editor, The Hacker’s Source

“Pretty soon, people won’t even pay attention to the fact Joe can’t see, because his film stands on its own. It’s that good…you’ll forget a blind guy directed it.”
–Mike Koneful, HorrorBiz

“For a lot of people, this film has got to be inspiring. And, look at the money he saves by not having to use a monitor!”
–Ted A. Bohus, Producer, The Deadly Spawn

Here’s where you come in.  The movie, already has had distribution offers, however it is in need of finishing postproduction elements.  The film has turned to the fundraising site Kickstarter for a little help.  There’s a short video of Mr. Monks speaking about the project followed by his little Indy flick.  When you watch the trailer, keep in mind that this isn’t the completed package.  He has 15 days to raise a little more than $3,000.  Will you be a backer of a truly inspiring story and exciting film?  You could pledge as little as a dollar or the whole $3,000.  What’s important is that we try and get this film to the big screen!

UPDATE: 13 days left, and I don’t think his total has moved.  Bummer.  If you can’t help out financially, maybe you can post this on your Facebook page or your blog.  In any case, please help support a unique project.

UPDATE 2: 12 days left and the project just had another $450 added to it.  $2,800 to go!

Going the distance is a very short race…

Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Justin Long and Drew Barrymore share a boat ride.

As fortune would have it, I was once again blessed by the free movie ticket gods to see a little flick called “Going The Distance” which starred Drew Barrymore and Justin Long as a couple that have to manage a long distance relationship and all the doubts and stresses that go with it.  It’s a total stereotypical romantic comedy that anyone could guess the outcome.  The film has several themes such as following dreams, things that we do for love, temptation, and selflessness.  The movie doesn’t get all bogged down by tackling these issues with any depth. The real surprise was some of the random dialogue that comes out of left field that makes you stop and say “Did s/he just say that?”  You’ll see what I mean in the first scene at the bar between the friends Garret, Dan, and Box (Long, Day, and Sudeikis).

The start of the movie takes off like a freakin Kentucky Derby.  The jokes move the pacing of the movie so it’s actually kind of fun.  The chemistry between Justin Long and his two friends works incredibly well.  Also, as if I have to mention, so does his chemistry with Drew Barrymore.  I can’t say that there was any bad acting in the movie as everyone did exactly what the script calls for.  Even though the run time was about 85 minutes, it felt like it was over two hours. That’s the only true downer.  It was a little disappointing that funnyman Jim Gaffigan didn’t have too much to do in this movie, but he did have two truly funny moments.  One, of course, was the table scene where he’s eating a sandwich.  Jeez, the audience EXPLODED with laughter so loud that the next few lines were inaudible.  In addition to the comedy talents of Gaffigan and Sudeikis, Mike Birbiglia had a small part as a quirky waiter that knew nothing about wine. But I have to say if there was a stand out performance in this movie for me it was Christina Applegate.  Man, she was a comedy beast!  She plays the germaphobic and tough loving sister, Corrine to Barrymore’s Erin.  Every time that she is on the screen you can bet that there will be a laugh! Her rant about dry humping is epically hilarious.  Yes, epically.

The soundtrack is incredible! It’s got some great music from the featured band The Boxer Rebellion as well as a few throwbacks like The Pretender’s “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.”

So if you are a fan of any of the actors in the movie, you’ll probably enjoy it providing that you know there isn’t anything deep about it.  It’s a nice piece that works for the purpose of escapism. If that’s what you need, this will totally fit the bill.  It was supposed to start today, but it got pushed back to Labor Day weekend.   Smart thinking as there isn’t anything coming out that weekend.

There’s a switch to The Switch…

Wally realizes that he's just poured his BFF's dreams down the drain.

I went to see a sneak peak for Jennifer Aniston’s new flick “The Switch.”  I was all set for the typical chatty girl talk type of movie about love and relationships, and the difficulties that are being felt by Aniston’s character.  It turns out that this movie really isn’t so much about her as it is about Jason Bateman.  What an absolutely wonderful surprise!  I have been a fan of his since his work on the 80’s television show “The Hogan Family.”  He’s been in a few movies recently in minor roles, but this is a great role to bring him back into the spotlight.

The Plot: Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) wants to have a baby.  She’s been in and out of bad relationships and decides that it’s time to finally do it.  As her BFF, Wally (Jason Bateman) is the first person she shares her decision with.  It’s clear from the outset that Wally is in love with her, so you already know how the movie is going to end.  Her good friend Debbie (played by the deliciously hilarious Juliette Lewis) convinces Kassie to have a party to celebrate the insemination because it’s “what everyone is doing nowadays.”   At the party is Roland, the charming-turns-kinda-creepy donor (Patrick Wilson) who whips up a batch of baby sauce in one room while the guests party it up in the rest of the house.  After having not only too much to drink but also a pill from Debbie, Wally is as high as a kite and on a trip to the bathroom, he finds Roland’s contribution to Kassie’s goal.  After some funny bits of playing with the stuff, Wally actually ruins the batch and in a last minute decision “creates” a replacement contribution.  Once Kassie becomes pregnant, she moves away because New York isn’t her ideal place to raise a child. The movie reunites them back in NY seven years after the incident and Uncle Wally now gets to meet this adorable child, Sebastian (Thomas Robinson) who is just as nutty as he is.

Personally, I found that the majority of the film focused on the relationship between fathers and sons or rather the relationships between father figures and sons.  Throughout the film you can see Wally falling in love with this quirky kid, who believes Wally is just an uncle, and the struggle of revealing to his BFF the truth of what happened on the night of her party 7 years ago.  The struggle that Wally goes through once he realizes that he’s Sebastian’s father is a fantastic display of heart that reminds me why I have such respect for the actor.

I have to also mention the outstanding performance by Jeff Goldblum as Wally’s coworker, Leonard.  I don’t know if it’s just great casting that is playing off of Jeff’s real personality, or if it’s his go-to character quirk, but in this role, he shines.

One of my favorite scenes is when Wally first gets into the bathroom where the “incident” takes place.  Having been in that position where you have to hold onto the walls to keep from melting, Wally was perfection, and I could only laugh and laugh remembering exactly what he was feeling like at that moment.  Once you see it, you’ll understand.

While the major focus in advertising is being focused on Jen Aniston, Jason Bateman is really what this movie is about. Him and the kid.