Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Enchanted


Release year: 2007
Production company: Walt Disney Pictures
Starring: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Susan Sarandon

Animated Disney Princess Giselle (Adams) is ready to live happily ever after with her Prince Edward (Marsden). But when the Prince's evil stepmother (Sarandon) learns about this impending marriage, she sends Giselle to real life, modern day New York City where she awaits rescue while under the care of bewildered, realist lawyer Robert Phillip (Dempsey).

Enchanted is totally the combination of charm from Mary Poppins' live action meets the classic Disney Princess elements of animated stories like Snow White and The Little Mermaid - all of which is interspersed with a romantic modern day twist. I borrowed this movie from my mom years ago and am just now watching this...and now that I have, I don't plan on giving this DVD back!

Can you sense the cuteness??? Because it's just OOZING out of this picture!!

I love that this movie 100% screams Disney! We have the beautiful classic animation, catchy and playful music, vividly vibrant characters, a fun and inventive story....The only thing I didn't like? That I didn't get nearly enough of Susan Sarandon and her badass evil witch character!

Enchanted gets 5 OF 5 must own for Disney fans - this one is hardly traditional but it's a breathe of fresh air that we didn't know we needed!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Shallows


Release year: 2016
Production company: Ombra Films
Starring: Blake Lively

A young woman tries to retrace the steps of her deceased mother by travelling around the world. Her travels bring her to a secluded Mexican beach where she decides to spend time surfing and soul searching...but when a rogue shark fixes it's sights on her and traps her on a coral outcropping a couple hundred yards from shore, the girl has to find a way to stay alive and get to safety before high tide rolls in and the shark comes for it's meal.

Keep your toes out of the water missy!

The Shallows is totally a combination of Jaws meets Cujo, but with the cheesier elements of Shark Night thrown into the mixture. And even though this movie was pretty predictable, I am NOT one to turn away from a shark attack movie so I couldn't say no when I found a copy at Walmart.

I love the tension in this movie and the suspense is so palpable and creepy! Not only are we watching a woman try to fight for her life against a persistent shark, but she has TONS of other elements fighting against her. It makes the battle seem nearly impossible but we are rooting for her nonetheless! Also, the beach this movie was filmed on is insanely gorgeous.

Now, I'm not too excited about the biggest part of this movie - the shark. I do not care for the janky CGI that was used to create  the shark. It's not convincing and kind of takes away from some of the suspense. How can I take this shark seriously if it looks worse than the ones we see in Deep Blue Sea!? Granted, I love Deep Blue Sea but lord, those sharks ain't pretty!

Ugh. Get back in the water you ugly fish!

The Shallows gets 3 OF 5 must own for horror fans who lean toward creature features and shark attack movies. Just be warned that the CGI could make or break this bad boy for you.

Monday, January 16, 2017

American Horror Story: Hotel


Release year: 2015
Production company: Brad-Falchuk Teley-Vision
Starring: Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Wes Bentley, Angela Bassett, Lady Gaga, Evan Peters

A detective determined to find the latest serial killer to hit Los Angeles finds himself drawn to an old hotel with a sketchy past. But once he enters the hotel he becomes tied to the strange people...and spirits...who call it home, and he finds it nearly impossible to leave.

This was a fun addition to the American Horror Story family, and added some fun new elements that totally reminded me of The Shining meets The Hunger - for all the obvious reasons. One of the main things I liked about AHS Hotel was that it was a surprise, I didn't know really anything about the plot going into it but because I've been watching each AHS installation as it hits Netflix I wasn't going to bypass this one when it came along. And it was worth my time!

I loved all the new characters in this season - something I will never get tired of in AHS is the way they recycle the same actors to play completely different characters from season to season. This was also a really DARK season too - tons of gore and blood and sex and drugs and overall violence...this was one MEATY season! I also need to address Lady Gaga's acting skills too. Up until this point I've only seen her in Machete Kills, which was a pretty small role. In AHS Hotel she is THE main character and she is FABULOUS!! I cannot wait to see Lady Gaga on the silver screen more! But, despite Gaga, AHS Hotel wasn't without it's flaws.

Lady Gaga makes one FANTASTIC vampire!

When I compare AHS Hotel to the movie The Hunger, yes it's because of the presence of vampires. Sorry for the spoiler alert but yes, this one focuses on vampires. That was the only one of two things that bugged me about this season and that's just because I feel like vampires have been overused so much since Twilight . My only other complaint? Some of the stories infused into AHS Hotel felt a little unnecessary or overdrawn, but that could be a personal preference of mine. I'm picky about which characters I end up liking or not ha ha!

American Horror Story Hotel is a 4 OF 5 must own season for AHS fans, and for those who love horror TV shows and/or vampire based anything!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Watership Down


Release year: 1978
Production company: Nepenthe Productions
Voice actors: John Hurt, Richard Briers, Roy Kinnear

After one of them has a vision of their home being destroyed in a terrible accident, several rabbits leave their colony to start their own little rabbit community. But along their journey to find the perfect place to call their new home, the rabbits encounter dangerous enemies and formidable rabbit foes that will force them all to fight for their lives and their freedom!

Watership Down is completely unlike anything I've ever seen before - I can only compare it to the intense subject matter of Animal Farm but intertwined with the beautiful artistry of The Last Unicorn...but this whole movie is definitely 100% adult content! Going in to watching this, all I knew about it was what I heard on a radio show years ago - that this was the movie where the rabbits were eating each other. How could I not be curious when I found this on Hulu???

As far as the good things about this movie go, it is beautifully animated! The characters are vivid and even though they're all rabbits who basically look the same, there are little nuances that help us distinguish each one that I thought was super cool of the voice actors and the animators. There's also this really cool rabbit mythology created within the story that adds a fun element to the movie! But then....there's everything else.

Everything else, you say??

First, I will say this again. THIS MOVIE IS NOT FOR CHILDREN!!! Not only is the plot very mature as far as intellect goes, but also because of the obscene amounts of VIOLENCE AND GORE!! Yes, I said violence and gore! We've got brutal fights, carcasses, blood, guts...man oh man this was a lot to stomach. If you're a parent who has your child watch this movie, I hope you're prepared to foot the bill for their extensive years of intense psychotherapy to become a properly functioning adult once more. I definitely was not emotionally prepared.

Is this a memory you want to keep with you for years to come???

Watership Down gets a 2 OF 5 must own for those who enjoy animated, politically-based films. Don't get me wrong, this movie is pretty decent, I just don't see anyone watching this one more than once.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Practical Magic


Release year: 1998
Production Company: Village Roadside
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest

After being orphaned at a young age, sisters Sally (Bullock) and Gillian (Kidman) are sent to live with their eccentric Aunts in Maine. Growing up with their Aunts, the sisters learn that they are descendants of a long line of Witches who all lived in this small town and the girls grow up learning to use their magic...but a foolish childhood wish for true love comes to fruition when the girls reach adulthood and it's just not quite what the girls were hoping for. But their solution to the problem is no better...

Embrace the witch!

Practical Magic is such a fun, surprising movie! It's like a combination of Hocus Pocus meets The Truth About Cats and Dogs - sinister and witchy meets quirky, lighthearted comedy! What a fun combination! And I was lucky enough to find this as part of a $5 blu-ray two-pack alongside The Witches of Eastwick at Target!Talk about an excellent score!

I love the quirky, magical feel to this movie so much - not just in the literal, witch aspect but also because this has that quintessential 90's feel to it! I am the biggest sucker for a 90's rom-com! The all-star cast in Practical Magic is also perfection, the plot is crazy fun...there's a fabulous energy to this movie! I can't even think of a single low point... I'm hopelessly in love!

Practical Magic gets a 5 OF 5 must own for lovers of witchy, 90's era dramatic, romantic comedies!

I am hopelessly in love with these sister witches!!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lonesome Dove


Release year: 1989
Production company: Motown Productions
Starring: Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Diane Lane, Chris Cooper, Anjelica Huston

Best friends and former U.S. Marshalls McCrae (Duvall) and Call (Jones) decide to embark on one last adventure when they sign on to join a cattle drive that will take them all the way from Texas to Montana. Along the way they will encounter savage Indians, damsels in distress, traitorous ranch hands, and more!

One last ride

Lonesome Dove is a mini series that I hold very close to my heart. Growing up, this was a really common watch for my family, and there were plenty of weekends spent watching our 2-VHS copy - this was just as much a staple in my household as was Jeremiah Johnson and True Grit. But it's been years since I've watched Lonesome Dove, the only thing that really prompted me to watch it again was that I found a $5 DVD copy at Walmart a couple of months ago. Sure, it took me 2 days to muscle through the 6-hour long but it was completely worth it!

The biggest highlights of Lonesome Dove have to be all the aspects that make a truly great Western - the story is vast and sweeping, the acting is spot-on and enticing, the music is epic and completely sets the mood, there's plenty of violence and danger and intrigue to keep you enticed, and the beautiful Texas-based setting adds to the overall ambiance. Lonesome Dove was actually partially shot on the same location originally scouted out for John Wayne's The Alamo! How cool! And speaking of John Wayne - apparently the idea for Lonesome Dove was first offered to The Duke, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda...but John Wayne's close friend/director John Ford strongly advised him to decline the offer because this wouldn't be a series to help benefit his career. What?! That seems preposterous to me...but I still feel like Duvall, Jones, and the rest of the cast all did a brilliant job.

Brilliant! Majestic! Perfection! Yes, I have lots of
emotions regarding Lonesome Dove.

If I had to compare Lonesome Dove to anything it definitely has the character elements of Appaloosa and Unforgiven mixed with the plot from The Cowboys but on a much more epic scale! Sound like a win? Well, it is!!  Low points to Lonesome Dove? Let's try, NONE!! Personally, I'm not too pleased with my plan to watch the entire series in one sitting but that was a personal choice and I can live with it.

Lonesome Dove gets a hearty 5 OF 5 must own for Western lovers, it simply cannot get better than this right here!

Some of the best movie I have ever spent - I could not
be happier that I own this mini series!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Carnosaur 2


Release year: 1995
Production company: Concord New Horizons
Starring: John Savage, Cliff de Young

After the initial dino-embryo outbreak fiasco of that took place in the first CARNOSAUR  movie, the government decided it was best to squirrel away all remaining dinosaur eggs in the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository for later research. Because that's the safest course of action when dealing with man-eating dinosaurs, right? Well those eggs that were squirrelled away are now starting to hatch and the threat of more dino danger is on the rise!

Oh man, and here I thought that one CARNOSAUR was enough. Apparently I was wrong...but this movie totally feels like the first CARNOSAUR movie with an even smaller budget and fewer filming days. Yikes! But here I sit, the "proud" owner of this VHS tape that was found alongside it's predecessor at Holy Cow Records in Pike Place Market. I don't even know if I should be admitting to that...

This is about as creepy as this movie gets. Ick.

Now, on a positive note there are definitely dinosaurs present in this movie. That is a good thing and that keeps me happy...but then all the other atrocities in this movie happened and I died a little inside. The expected cheesiness from the first movie does not translate over into Carnosaur 2. The effects are not good, the story is dull and doesn't have the same bizarre punch that I was hoping for...but worse still - THEY RECYCLED FOOTAGE FROM THE FIRST MOVIE!! Granted, I usually try to enjoy recycled footage - they did this a lot with the Godzilla movies and I insisted on calling it more of a highlight reel than recycled footage. But this felt blatant and sloppy...Carnosaur 2, you have failed me.

Carnosaur 2 gets a whole 2 OF 5 for those who either really, really liked Carnosaur and dare to hope for the best in this movie. Or those like me who won't say no to dinosaur movies. I understand the struggle.

Dr. Donald Reed of the Academy of Science Fiction and Horror Films
claims that this is a "sci-fi action-adventure thriller at it's best!"
Um....I think someone needs to revoke Reed's doctorate.....