Thursday, October 31, 2013

The 5 Movies You Should Consider Watching on Halloween

I'm sorry, but this post has nothing to do with Michael Myers from Halloween.  Actually, Halloween isn't even on my list.  Before you hunt me down like Michael Myers, I wanted to make a short list of movies that don't always get as much love as other horror classics.  

Classics like Carrie, The Blair Witch Project, and The Exorcist always top annual lists celebrating scary movies.  I love all four of the above mentioned titles, but here's a small sampling of other movies you could check out instead.

5. The Witches

Did The Witches scare the crap out of anyone else but me?  I can't be the only one.  Based on the Roald Dahl book, it revolves around a young Luke who is taught about witches by his grandmother, Helga.  Early in the movie, she tells him this terrifying story about a young girl who is taken by a witch and put in a painting for the rest of her life.  If that's not scary enough, she tells him the telltale signs to recognize witches.  Witches have no toes, and children smell like dogs droppings to them.  When a woman tries to lure Luke away with a chocolate bar and a snake, he sees she has purple eyes, and he calls for his grandmother.  Yeah, Luke, like the purple eyes were the giveaway.  How about that effing snake she pulled out of her effing purse?!?!?!

That's not even the scariest thing about The Witches.  Luke and Helga go on a vacation to a seaside resort, and it just happens that a witch convention is happening at the same time.  What are the odds!  The Grand High Witch is played by Anjelica Huston in all her high cheeked boned glory.  The scene where all the witches gather in a ballroom to discuss their master plan of getting rid of the world's children made me flee the room every time I watched it.  Huston's plan was to make all the children eat sweets with Formula 86 in it.  86 turned children into mice, and then witches could stomp out the world's children.  It's a pretty elaborate plan, if you ask me.  Ambitious plots aside, things get creepy when Huston peels off her own face and the rest of the woman take off their shoes and wigs. 

It may not be a Halloween movie, per se, but that scene is creepy as all get out!  The rest of the movie is pretty fun, and Huston received a BAFTA nomination for her role.  She's over the top and fabulous. 

4. The Orphanage

Sometimes a movie can scare me just from the disturbing imagery.  The Orphanage is one of those movies.

A woman named Laura returns to the orphanage she grew up in to reopen it with her husband, Carlos.  Instead of an orphanage, Laura plans to make it a center for disabled children.  Her son, Simon, begins drawing the image of another child with a sack on his face.  A.  Sack.  On.  His.  Face.  I'd be done right there.  "Sorry, guys, the center is closed down.  Kthanksbye."

At a party to celebrate the opening of the renewed orphanage, Simon and Laura get into a fight, and Simon runs away angry.  While looking for him in the facility, she comes across a little boy with a sack on his face.  A.  Sack.  On.  His.  Face.  He shoves her into a locked room, and when Laura finally escapes, Simon is missing.


The thing that makes me mad about this movie is that people won't watch it because it's a foreign film.  "I don't want to read when I go to a movie," they tell me.  Really?  It's creepy as all fuck.  Watch it.

3. Stir of Echoes

I don't want to give too much away if you haven't see Stir of Echoes, because it's kind of a horror/mystery. 

I remember seeing Echoes back in theaters the same day I saw Stigmata.  That was a weird double feature, let me tell you!  Kevin Bacon stars as Tom, a phone lineman living with his newly pregnant wife, Maggie, and their adorable son Jake.  At a party, Maggie's sister, Lisa (oh, hey, Illeana Douglas), hypnotizes Tom on a dare.  He doesn't really buy into her beliefs into the paranormal, and he doesn't think anything will happen.  He sees a rapid-fire montage of ghastly images, and soon the door in his mind won't shut. 

His home life turns completely upside down, and the closer he gets, the more desperate he gets.  Maggie becomes incredibly concerned, and the people in his life might not be as friendly as he though.  Did I mention that Jake can talk to ghosts?  No biggie.  Check out the trailer:

I think this might be my favorite Kevin Bacon performance.  The movie as a whole is underrated.  

2. Monster House

Monster House came out in 2006, and I totally loved it.  I still do.  I am a firm believer that kids' movies can be scary.  I'm sorry, but I'm not sorry.  Your child can see something that makes them do something other than giggle and smile.  Don't put on The Exorcist, or anything, but I think movies targeted towards children are too glossy and simple.  Monster House isn't one of those movies.

Twelve year old DJ is left home alone when his parents head out for a dentists' conference.  His chubby best friend, Chowder, loses a basketball in the yard of DJ's crotchety neighbor, Mr. Nebbercracker.  I snicker every time I hear that name, in case anyone was wondering.  Nebbercracker comes running out, and, in his frantic ravings, drops dead from a heart attack.  DJ, oddly wary of the actual house, has his theories confirmed when his sister's boneheaded boyfriend, Bones, disappears, and he and Chowder see the house rile, roar and spit.  

DJ and Chowder team up with neighborhood overachiever Jenny Bennett, and the trio find out the history of the house across the street.  I love this movie.  It's fun, scary, and, believe it or not, a bit heartwarming.  

Monster was mildly successful, but it did earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature.  Anjelica Huston scared me in The Witches, The Wicked Witch of the West was terrifying, so why not a family friendly scary movie?

1. Hocus Pocus

Now before you all get in a huff about a very popular movie at the top spot, let me explain.  I put this on the top of my list, because I am not sure that people younger than my generation really love it like me and my friends do.  I am sure it plays on the Disney Channel, and I am sure some youngsters have caught it around Halloween.  I struggle to accept the fact that people, say, 18 and under really love Hocus Pocus the way almost-30-year-olds do.  Maybe I am totally wrong, and I should put a different, undiscovered gem in the top slot.  This was the first movie I ever saw twice in the theater (well, once in the theater, once at the drive in with my parents), and it was one of the first movies I was truly obsessed with.

So, watch all other four, but make sure you catch The Sanderson Sisters.  You know it's your favorite too.  

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The New 'Wolf' Trailer Got Me Pregnant

The new trailer for Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street debuted only late yesterday, and I want to see it way more than when the first trailer dropped.  I want to say that this one gives more character and is less frantic.  Mind you, I liked the craziness of the original trailer.  Also, does this mean that Leo could crack that ridiculously crowded Best Actor race?

The trailer for Scorsese's latest paints the movie more as a success story than a manic, 80's trip like the previous trailer did.  It also did the impossible.  It made me look forward to Jonah Hill.  There.  I said it.  I hope I don't regret that.

This trailer totally does it for me.  That's all I can really say about it.  I am dying to see it now.

I Will Watch Daniel Radcliffe Run in Shorts for Two Hours

Daniel Radcliffe will be running circles in my head all day long.

It was announced today that Radcliffe will star as Olympic runner Sebastian Coe in Gold, a drama based on the rivalry between Coe and fellow runner Steve Ovett.  No word on who will play Ovett.  The film is set in 1972, so, naturally, it made me think that Gold was Rush but with running instead of racecars. 

The other thing I automatically thought of was that we will get to see Radcliffe run around in little track shorts for two hours.  And by little shorts, I mean 1970's length little shorts. 

To quote June MacGuff, "All I see is pork swords."


Never Have I Been Teased by so many Superheroes

The hubby and I almost went as Batman and Robin last weekend for Halloween, so I feel ogling some men in tights is a-ok for a lazy Wendesday afternoon.  I don't necessarily always go for superhero movies, just because I feel like they get so repetitive after a long time.  Last year, I was in love with them, but at the moment I am going through caped fatigue again.  Images and trailers have recently debuted for two very different entries, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past

I don't really like Captain America, and I admit that I am still puzzled by it.  Maybe I can smell the artificial apple pie cooling on the window sill, or something.  Maybe I am just dying to see Evans do something more rique?  Like just be naked.  In the privacy of my own home.  This trailer does nothing for me, honestly.  It does bring some familiar faces though.  

What does a girl gotta do to headline her own superhero movie?

And some new ones...

I see Robert Redford took the Jeff Bridges-bad guy-in-a-superhero-tentpole route.

Why is this coming out in April--the beginning of April no less.  It's one of two things.  It's either that they are trying to capitalize on a dead box office and, not to mention, kick off the summer movie season even earlier.  Or it's really bad, and Marvel Studios is hoping it grabs some of the summer cash when May rolls around. 

X-Men is probably the most ambitious of the franchise.  It is both a sequel to X-Men: First Class and X-Men: The Last Stand.  Shudder.  The cast from the original trilogy joins the new cast, so it's basically like a Robert Altman mutant movie.  That's what this teaser gives us.  Just glimpses of all the main characters:

I always liked the X-Men movies.  The Last Stand was pretty dreadful, but I always thought got a bad rep.  There is always too much going on, but they always seem more fun than all the other movie of the genre.  This particular chapter is based on a famous volume in the comic's history.  It involves time travel and waking up in the body of your younger self.  I will botch the premise if I try to figure it out, so just look it up.  

The one image that actually got to me was of Michael Fassbender's young Magneto dragging Jennifer Lawrence across a courtyard.  I don't like the look on her face!

Future Facebook cover photo, by the way.

You stay away from Jennifer Lawrence! 

I always like a barechested Hugh Jackman...

And I will always be attracted to Peter Dinklage--porn mustache or not.

One thing about the trailer bothers me though.  It features Hans Zimmer's "Journey to the Line" from The Thing Red Line.  It's a piece of music that's been used countless times in movie trailers, but I think it's odd that this was used in both this trailer and for Oscar hopeful 12 Years a Slave.  The music is rather rousing by the end, and, for some reason, it being used in this trailer bugs me.  I know that X-Men has broader themes going on in their movies--comic books movies nowadays aren't just popcorn.  I don't know.  Look up the trailer for 12 Years after you watch this one.   

Random Poll: Which Sequel is More Idiotic?

Well, this is surprising.

I was on the train this morning when I saw The Huffington Post's announcement that a sequel to last year's sleeper hit The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has been greenlit.  Oh.  Okay?  That's weird, right?  I mean, I liked Marigold more than most people, but why does this movie need a sequel?  I read that Judi Dench and Maggie Smith said they had a really great time filming it, so they wanted to do it again.  I am all for more Maggie and Judi, but...I don't understand...

I really shouldn't complain.  When was the last time a woman over the age of 50 got a sequel greenlit?  Never?  It's awesome that these ladies can have starring roles in adult targeted films.  The first was just a complete story that doesn't need another chapter. 

On the other hand, Olympus Has Fallen also has a sequel in the works, London Has Fallen.  According to Cinema Blend, Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, and Radha Mitchell are expected to reprise their roles, and these are the plot details that were released:

"A plot to strike the city of London during the funeral of the British Prime Minister.  Only the President of the United States, his secret service head, and an English MI6 agent can save the day"

That sounds like the worst thing ever.  Way to assume England can't take care of their own terrorist plots, America.  Are they just going to hop around the world making these movies?  If London is successful, will they make another one set, say, in France?  Eiffel Tower Has Fallen...Beijing Has Fallen...Sydney Has Fallen: Terrorism Down Under.

I think both sequels are stupid for different reasons.  Can they switch casts?  Aaron Eckhart and Gerard Butler can whimsically reminisce about their lives in India while Judi Dench and Maggie Smith take down terrorists? 

Which do you think sounds worse?


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Birthday Winona Ryder!!!

Apparently, it's birthday week here at Movie MoJoe!  Winona Ryder turns 42 today, and, I must say, she looks exactly the same.  I'm not alone in thinking that, right?  She's stunning.

Back in the late 80's/early 90's, Ryder was everywhere.  She starred in three of my favorite movies of all time (Heathers, Beetlejuice, and Edward Scissorhands), and she perfected the dark, moody teenager.  I believe the passed the baton of this honor over to Christina Ricci when they did Mermaids together in 1990.

Ryder made her debut in Lucas, a coming-of-age from 1986.  She starred alongside Corey Haim, Charlie Sheen, and Coutney Thorne-Smith.  I've never even heard of it, so I definitely want to see it out.  She already has that short hair that I've come to recognize with some of her later work. 

She collaborated with Tim Burton for the first time with Beetlejuice.  As Lydia Deetz, she isn't phased by all the supernatural things around her.  She actually embraces it all.  I love how she clashes with her stepmother, Catherine O'Hara.

These two images make me so happy.  So very happy. 

Do I really need to sell Heathers to you?  Not only is it one of the best movies about high school, it's obviously one of the best movies ever.

If Heathers were to come out today, I bet boys would drool all over Ryder's Veronica the same way they love Tina Fey.  Veronica is sexy, but she doesn't have to be. 

I have always wanted to punch someone in the face with this zinger.  In time...

And then she won my heart over when she threw on a blonde wig and fell in love with Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands.  The moment near the end when popular girl Kim begs Edward to hold her still makes me clutch my pearls. 

You can't tell me that you don't twirl in wonder the first time the snow falls like Ryder in Scissorhands.  You do.  I do.  Everyone does.  

With both Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence and Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula, I was throughly convinced that Ryder was born to wear corsets and fan herself with little fans. 

Innocence is probably Scorsese's most underappreciated film, and Ryder received her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role opposite Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer. 

By this point in her career, Ryder had worked with some incredible directors.  Coppola would cast Ryder in the final Godfather film, but she dropped out due to exhaustion.

This hat has been on every Christmas list I've had since 1993. 

Ryder's second Oscar nomination came for playing Jo in Little Women.

Her performance as Abigail Williams in The Crucible (again, opposite Day-Lewis) might be my favorite performance.  Her desire for Day-Lewis' John Proctor is primal and reckless.  She should have received an Oscar nomination alongside Joan Allen. 

My dad was very much taken by Ryder in Girl, Interrupted.  I remember coming out of the theater talking about Angelina Jolie's performance, and my dad mostly talked about Ryder's performance as Susanna Kayson. 

When Ryder popped up on screen for a cameo in the Star Trek reboot, I literally screamed, "IS THAT WINONA RYDER?!?!"  I was so loud that I got shushed by strangers in the crowded theater.  I really like that movie, but for weeks all I could think about was her.  Winona fucking Ryder!  In a Star Trek movie!!!  How did that slip under my radar?!

Her best role as of late came in Darren Aronofsky's ballet/perfection/psychotic thriller, Black Swan.  Ryder plays an aging ballerina (hmmm...) who loses the lead in Swan Lake to a younger actress dancer.  The scene where Natalie Portman visits her in the hospital, and Ryder goes bonkers still freaks me out to this day.  She's great in it.

She had a supporting role in Ron Howard's The Dilemma.  I am not a fan of the movie, and that's putting it mildly.  Vince Vaughn is married to Jennifer Connelly (sure, why not), and he sees the wife to his best friend (Ryder) cheating.  Kevin James plays Ryder's husband.  I wanted the ending to be totally from left field.  I wanted James to know about and him be gay, or I wanted Ryder and James to be swingers.  Instead of the lame "should just tell him later rather than sooner" plot, I wanted it to be totally crazy.  Ryder's character's name is Geneva (point), and she guy she's cheating with is Channing Tatum.  Get it, girl.

She teamed back up with Tim Burton for last year's Frankenweenie, a love letter to old Hollywood movies.  She voices Elsa Van Helsing, the perfect name for a Winona Ryder role.

If you haven't seen Ryder's entry into the Drunk History series, you must watch it.  I was laughing out loud at work.  No, seriously, people were staring.

Winona will next star in the Jason Statham thriller Homefront.  This is something that I shouldn't be excited for, but I think Statham is hot.  It also doesn't look as bonheaded as his normal stuff.  All the pictures of Ryder indicate that she gets to play a trashy wife.  I am not sure.  Check out the trailer:

She also has a role in the upcoming TV movie, Turks & Caicos, directed by David Hare.  They has been some recent talk that Burton is developing Beetlejuice 2.  Lydia Deetz better be in it.  She better be.  

Happy Birthday, Winona!  You're a terrific actress, and damn you look beautiful!