Paul Recommends: Scary Movies for Halloween

Hey guys! I just wanted to quickly re-introduce my movie buff of a friend Paul, you may remember him from his reviews of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and The Diary of a Teenage GirlSince Paul is such a huge horror movie fan (he’s been trying to convince me to watch some for YEARS) I thought it’d be fun for him to recommend some ‘scary’ movies that’ll be perfect to watch this Halloween. So without further adieu, I give the floor to Paul!


So I love Halloween, and what better way to celebrate it than by binge watching a bunch of horror films?? I love scary movies, when they’re good at least, and I think this selection will provide enough scares for you and your friends or family. While these are some of my favorite horror movies, I specifically picked these because I think they fit the holiday perfectly and they aren’t the ones that you typically read about on similar horror movie lists, for example I tried to steer away from movies like “The Shining” and “The Exorcist” because everyone knows these movies are great. So please, come with me on this adventure of movies, thrills, and…. MURDER!

*Least extreme to most extreme in terms of violence, blood, and terror!*

the haunting

 

The Haunting (1963)

The Haunting is a classic ghost film about a group of people who decide to stay in a supposedly haunted house. There is no blood and gore but it really plays with suspense. This is a movie that while dark will probably not give you nightmares.

Spooky level: 6 Gore level: 0 WTF level: 2

Total: 8

 

dracula

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

This is another movie for those of you who may not enjoy scary movies. While this movie isn’t scary per say, it is definitely spooky and the cinematography is very beautiful and haunting. Add creepy performances by Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder and you got yourself one sexy vampire movie!

Spooky level: 4 Gore level: 4 WTF level: 4

Total: 12

 

housebound

Housebound (2014)

This Australian gem is a recently discovered fave of my sister and me. It is SO friggin creepy. But another great thing about it is that it is a comedy as well as a horror film. This is a movie you should see if you and your friends want to have a bloody, scary, and hilarious evening with a twist you never saw coming.

Spooky level: 5 Gore level: 6 WTF level: 7

Total: 18

 

the orphanage

The Orphanage (2007)

This Spanish film is excellent. The first time my family and I saw it, my cousin and I had to walk around the house together because we were so creeped out. Make sure to watch with the subtitles because in my opinion something is lost when you watch with the English dubbing. This is a movie you should see if you want to watch a well done ghost film that is also a poignant story about a mother searching for her missing son.

Spooky level: 8 Gore level: 3 WTF level: 7

Total: 18

 

you're next

You’re Next (2011)

This is a masterpiece. It works on so many levels. This is something you MUST see with a group of people, if anything just to see everyone’s reactions. It is basically a home invasion movie where the characters actually try to fight back. It’s like the horror of “The Strangers” met the high jinks of “Home Alone” and did a bunch of cocaine. Splendid.

Spooky level: 4 Gore level 8.5 WTF level: 7.5

Total: 20

 

 

REC

REC (2007)

Another Spanish film, “REC” is probably the best found footage movie I’ve ever seen. It’s also one of my favorite zombie movies. This is a great movie for you if you really like intense movies about dire situations. Also, it is even better than “Quarantine” which is the American remake, so watch “REC”. Use the subtitles for this one as well.

Spooky level: 8 Gore level: 7.5 WTF level: 8

Total: 23.5

 

 

the descent

The Descent (2005)

This is also a fun one to watch in a group, because by the end you will all be huddled in the corner of your couch in terror. Trust me, it happens. This film is what happens when cave diving goes wrong. It is so claustrophobic throughout and the creatures that are attacking the characters are utterly frightening. I love this movie so much and really recommend it for your Halloween viewing.

Spooky level: 9 Gore level: 9 WTF level: 9

Total: 27

 

evil dead

Evil Dead (2013)

Oh my lord, this movie is effective. This was the movie I showed for my friends last Halloween and it was such a rewarding experience. The reactions varied from my sister saying it was a movie to watch for fun to a friend saying it was the scariest movie they had ever seen. The scares definitely come from the extreme gore that takes up almost every scene. This is basically the Joan Rivers of horror movies in that it doesn’t believe that there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. Definitely a great party movie but also a good one for just group of two. Check it out, I personally like it better than the original.

Spooky level: 9 Gore level: 10 WTF level: 10

Total: 29

 

I hope this list helps some of you find a great movie to celebrate the upcoming holiday. Have a safe and scary Halloween everybody!!

Movie Review: The Diary of a Teenage Girl

the diary of a teenage girlA Review by Paul Harrington

One day a couple weeks ago, my mother came home and told me about a movie she heard about on NPR and wanted to go see. It was called The Diary of a Teenage Girl. Upon further research I found that it was based on the semi-autobiographical graphic novel by Phoebe Gloeckner. Not only that, but Kristen Wiig was playing one of the main characters! Ok, now it had my interest. So this past Friday, my mother and I went to go see if the hype surrounding this movie was warranted. And Oh. My. God.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl follows Minnie, played by Bel Powley, a 15 year old girl living in San Francisco in 1974 (coincidentally, my mom was the same age that year, only she lived in Oregon at the time, not California). Minnie, who wants to be an artist, and her sister are being raised by their unmarried mother, Kristen Wiig, who is a very free-spirited individual who loves to party and do drugs with friends, sometimes even with the girls present. While this is a very colorful backdrop for the movie, the actual plot is addressed in the beginning of the film when we find out that Minnie is having an affair with her mother’s 35 year old boyfriend, played by Alexander Skarsgard. From there the film is a whirlwind of sex, drugs, and lies. But at the heart of The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a 15 year old discovering her sexuality in a world where female sexuality is often stigmatized.

I give mad props to Bel Powley. She really steals the show here. I was very surprised to find out that she is actually a 23 year old British actress. She really does have the sensitivity and talent to embody an American 15 year old girl, and because of that, the movie rests on her shoulders. I cannot wait to see where her career takes her. Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard are also brilliant.

At the end of the day, The Diary of a Teenage Girl is not for the faint of heart. It is very blunt when it comes to showing sex and drug use, often going to very dark places as the situation becomes grim. But this is balanced by film’s poignancy and humor, even having some animation which just adds to its’ charm. All in all, I came out of the theater loving this film while my mother came out a little shaken by the material. I would recommend this coming of age movie if you aren’t afraid to see an unflinching depiction of a teenager’s life in the oh-so crazy and splendid year of 1974.

Movie Review: Paper Towns

John Green is definitely the obsession of this generation. After the worldwide success of the movie adaptation The Fault in Our Stars, which made over 300 million dollars worldwide, Green’s fame skyrocketed even more- turning non-readers into bibliophiles. With the recent release of Paper Towns and the not so recent announcement that Looking for Alaska will join Green’s other books on the big screen, it makes sense that critics and fans are calling him the ‘next Nicholas Sparks’.

Paper Towns is about a high school senior named Quentin. Q lives across the street from Margo, a girl that he has been in love with since they were kids. After years of barely talking, Margo shows up at his window one night asking him to help her do 9 things. Q had the best night of his life and woke up the next day confident that things between him and Margo were looking up, until he discovers that she’s missing. Throughout the movie Q finds clues that Margo left, determined to find her.

The Paper Towns movie was a lot different than I’d imagined it. Although I’d been trying very hard not to read reviews and posts about the movie, I still saw some reactions on Twitter. One thing I noticed was that everyone commented on how funny the movie was- of course the skeptic in me thought that everyone was just hyping up the movie like they did the book so I didn’t pay much attention to those tweets. I went into the theater with relatively low expectations (strangely, I wasn’t very excited for the movie) and I think the low standardIMG_6378s helped me enjoy the movie way more than I’d thought. Everyone on the twitterverse was right, the movie was hilarious, I was laughing so hard during one scene that my face started to hurt.

During the movie I felt as if I was right there with Q, almost as if the huge screen between us had disappeared (a la Harry Potter style) and I can only attribute that to great acting on Nat Wolff’s part. Nat totally embodied the essence of Q- from the way he speaks to the way he stands. I’m not one to comment on people’s acting abilities, since I know zilch about it, but it was amazing how Nat transformed from being a confident, blind teen (as seen in The Fault in Ours Stars) into an awkward, insecure teen in this movie. I have to admit that I had some doubts when Cara Delevigne was first cast, but when Papa Green said that he was very impressed with her audition I knew that we were in good hands. Cara did a great job masking her accent as well as acting, I’m really excited to see her in future films like Pan and Suicide Squad. Overall the movie was super enjoyable and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a funny movie about friendship and ‘finding yourself’.


Warning: You’re now entering a book AND movie spoiler zone. Read at your own risk!

There are very few times when I like major plot changes in movie adaptations, that being said I absolutely LOVED the fact that the writers chose to make the road trip to New York before prom and graduation. When I read that Q not only missed his prom but skipped his graduation I was so angry! He was literally throwing away once in a lifetime moments for a girl that, in the end, didn’t want to be found by him.

Here is a quick list of changes I didn’t like:

  • Angela and Radar having sex…….was that really necessary to add in?!
  • missing Sea World scene
  • missing scene: when Margo buries her black notebook + the story she wrote
  • Q going to all the different ‘paper towns’

I also wanted to throw in how much I loved Ansel Elgort’s cameo! It couldn’t have been longer than a minute but he definitely stole the spotlight with his smile while making the audience laugh at his only line at the same time!

In the end, I really did enjoy the movie- flaws and all. I think it’s a nice break from all the dystopian and fantasy worlds I’ve immersed myself in lately. And I’ll be honest, I’m a sucker for movies about friendship, self discovery, and fun.

Movie Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

A Review by Paul Harrington

I would like to begin by saying that I have never written a review before. However, I am a very annoyingly opinionated person and a medically diagnosed cinephile, so I guess Speedy (you may know her as Ana, but because of the time we shared during our missions in Guadalajara, she will always be Speedy to me) put two and two together and thought “Paul would be great at this!” So please, if you don’t agree with my review, just know that you are wrong and I am right. Here we go…

At first, I was very hesitant to see “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”. I was very worried it was going to be yet another of a long string of mediocre films capitalizing on the success of the YA genre (Lookin’ at you Maze Runner and Divergent, you sons of bitches). I was especially concerned that it was a wannabe cancer drama that was riding on the coattails of a little known film entitled “The Fault in Our Stars”. So when Speedy and I walked into the Boynton Cinemark (which makes the Boca Cinemark look like Dachau, I say much to my chagrin) I didn’t know what to expect. However, when I exited the pride of Boynton, I was convinced that “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” may be one of the best movies of 2015 so far. Thomas Mann stars as Greg, a very socially awkward high school senior and comedic film maker alongside his friend (he actually uses the words business partner to describe their relationship) Earl (Ronald Cyler II). After Greg is pressured by his mother to hang out with Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate who was diagnosed with Leukemia, the two form an unlikely bond and a very lovely friendship blossoms. This is just the basis for the film and the plot does go through changes as it goes on.

What really makes this film work is the chemistry between the characters. I loved listening to their humorously dry banter and the way they interacted on and off their high school campus. Some of the more poignant scenes take place in Rachel’s room where Greg and Earl visit her after school. These scenes really displayed the actor’s ranges and I am very excited to see their work in the future. Another highlight of the film is all the colorful side characters. Most notably, Nick Offerman and Connie Britton play Greg’s parents and Molly Shannon of SNL fame plays Rachel’s mother. These actors really know how to steal scenes and provided some of the best moments of the movie. I was also surprised to see Jon Bernthal from “The Walking Dead” play the badass and quirky history teacher.

Putting the hilarity of the characters aside, what “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is about is struggle. I really found myself identifying with Greg sometimes just because of how he described high school and how rough it can be. Rachel’s deterioration is also very heartbreaking to watch and I would always try to relax by remembering what Greg promised us at the beginning of the movie. What I really found amazing about this movie was how based in the struggles of reality it is. There is no dystopian future, there is no chosen one, hell, there is not even an attractive boyfriend to swoop in and take us all to Amsterdam. There is a realism to this story that I believe everyone can at least partially identify to. I am very happy I saw this movie, and I really hope that some of you find the time to check it out.

Insurgent Movie Thoughts

Disclaimer: There’s a reason why I don’t review movies, so consider this post more like a discussion rather than a review.

Actual Disclaimer: This post will contain movie and book spoilers!

insurgent selfieThe Divergent series is certainly taking the world by storm. If I’m correct, the second installment Insurgent made close to $200 million opening weekend! As a fan of the book series I was really concerned by the trailers and my excitement for the movie faltered. Every TV spot made me more doubtful about the movie so I stopped watching them. Nonetheless my sister and I went to the first showing yesterday to see if our (very low) expectations would be met.

My family usually attends an IMAX showing of any book to movie adaption, however the early showing didn’t have any good seats so we settled with good old Cinemark. We actually got some really cool lanyards which you can kinda see in this very filtered selfie I took.

I think it’s important for me to add that I didn’t remember the plot of Insurgent before seeing the movie. I didn’t have time to reread the book and, frankly, after hearing everyone complain that it was nothing like the book I had no desire to try. All I remembered was them hiding in Amity, the factionless scenes, and a few other random scenes/details. I also remembered that there wasn’t a box thing in the book, but we’ll get to that later.

The beginning scenes were great, I felt that they did a great job capturing the internal struggle Tris was feeling after witnessing almost everyone she loves die. I loved that they did brief flashbacks to the first movie, it added to the effect- making the viewers feel like they’re in Tris’s mind while refreshing their memory on what happened at the end of the first film.The chemistry between Tris and Four felt natural throughout the entire movie. The action scenes were intense, the simulations were spectacular, and the acting (in my opinion) was great. I was invested in the story the entire time; I was laughing, gasping, muttering ‘nonono’ under my breath, and *almost* crying. In all honesty, I LOVED the movie- however I don’t think it was a great adaptation.

When it comes to movie adaptation of books I always have 2 ‘ratings/reviews’ in my mind. I often consider books and movies like parallel universes, they’re similar but not similar enough to regard them as the same. (If that makes any sense). Movies will never be exactly like the book, so why do we expect it to be? I rarely dislike a movie, if it catches my attention and keeps me engaged- I’m happy (which is why I’d be a horrible movie critic). With that said: I really enjoyed Insurgent, it was an amazing movie that literally had my heart racing. On the other hand, it wasn’t a good adaptation. On a scale from the Beautiful Creatures movie to The Fault in Our Stars movie it was probably in the middle- so not that bad.

Like I stated earlier, I barely remembered the book but I remembered enough to be bothered by these details (which are not listed in any particular order):

  • If I remember correctly, in the book Four tells Eric to ‘be brave’ right before he kills him. I loved that small detail and was disappointed that they didn’t include that short line in the movie.
  • I’m really annoyed that Tris doesn’t call Four by his real name- Tobias.
  • The movie doesn’t allow viewers to establish emotional connections to Uriah, Marlene, Lynn, etc. Without this connection the scene where Marlene jumps to her death feels impersonal and almost irrelevant! In the book that particular scene was very emotional but in the movie I felt nothing.
  • Um, did Fourtris have sex? That’s not suppose to happen until Allegiant! Stop rushing things

The only major change I liked was the weird box thing that Jeanine was obsessed with. In the book the message at the end came out of nowhere, but the box gave it a purpose. The simulations were by far my favorite part, it was fun guessing what was really happening and what was a sim. The box also had people questioning why Tris’s parents were hiding it, which is important for the next movie.

So yeah, overall it was a good movie that I will definitely purchase. What did you guys think?

The Maze Runner Review: Greenie vs Glader

I’m finally doing a movie review! A few weekends ago I watched The Maze Runner, which was adapted from James Dashner’s book. I do have a confession- I haven’t read it. I know, I know what type of book lover doesn’t read the book before the movie?! Unfortunately school tends to get in the way of fun things like reading and blogging so I didn’t get around to it 😦 HOWEVER, I didn’t want to cheat you of a review that compares the book to the movie so my sister is going to put her two cents in about the movie. I’m the Greenie (newbie) and she’s the Glader (expert), hence the title! Note: There will be spoilers in the Glader review!

Greenie Review:

Prior to watching the movie I was pretty clueless as to what I should expect. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the books- some people love them while others loathe them so I was hesitant to read the book. Because I chose not to read it before watching the movie (I know, that’s practically a sin in the fangirl religion) I went into the movie only knowing that there’s a maze, a girl, and Dylan O’Brien.

Here’s one thing I learned while watching this movie- never EVER watch a movie without reading the book first. I was hyperventilating almost every five minutes scared because I didn’t know what was going to happen to the characters I have grown to love within a two hour period. This movie was a-MAZE-ing (I know bad joke, but I can’t resist)! There was never a dull moment. The acting was great and I was engrossed throughout the entire movie. Not once did I get bored or wondered how much longer was it going to take to end. I was constantly trying to figure out what was going to happen next or I was curled up in my seat hoping nothing bad was going to happen.

So from the eyes of someone who never read the book- this movie was fast-paced, exciting, and engaging. I definitely recommend watching it while it’s still in theaters.

*It also made me want to read the books, which is another plus!

Glader Review:

Original Glader here! Hey guys, *awkward wave* this is Ana’s sister, Bianca, and I will be doing a review comparing the book and movie for her since she didn’t get to read the book prior to watching the movie (cough, cough, shank, cough.) To start off, I would like to say that I absolutely loved the way the director Wes Ball portrayed the story in the movie. There were a few changes that he made that did help the story move along faster, but a few others that I will mention later that sort of bugged me. On a scale faithfulness to book (Percy Jackson being the worst, Catching Fire being the best) I rate this movie a Divergent. This movie was contains great humor, terrifying grievers, great Newtmas moments (my ultimate brotp next to Thominho), so much action, and bucket-loads of tears when a certain someone dies (*sOBS*)

But without further a due, here are some things from the book that I missed in the movie:

Telepathy– Thomas and Teresa had absolutely no way of communicating with each other telepathically. This wasn’t even mentioned in the slightest in the movie. Before I watched the movie I knew that James and Wes both discussed this special ability that Thomas and Teresa shared and decided to leave that detail entirely out of the book. I’m not going to lie, I was really disappointed when I found this out, why would they leave out something that contributed so much in the first two books? So upon entering the theater to watch the movie, I was so nervous that this will throw the whole story line off course. To my surprise, the movie did really well without this.

Minho, Frypan, and other Favorite Sass Masters– I realize that Minho’s character didn’t really get to shine in The Maze Runner, but I was pretty bummed out that my favorite character wasn’t incorporated as much in this movie as I originally expected, I really missed his sassy remarks, and witty comebacks throughout the duration of the film. I also wasn’t all that pleased with how Frypan was excluded from most of the movie. I don’t even recall anyone even calling him Frypan (They just referred to him as Fry) and unless you’ve read the books than you will not catch that he was in charge of the kitchen.

Chuck, Death, and Endings– Throughout the movie, everything was fairly accurate until the gladers decided to go on the trek through the maze to jump through the griever hole (which wasn’t even a hole in the movie:/) once this happened the rest of the movie became very inaccurate in an accurate way. What I mean by that is everything that was supposed to happen, did happen, it just didn’t play out quite the same way as it did in the book. For example, Chuck’s death, it happened, but not the way it did in the book. Instead of having a knife being thrown at him, Chuck was shot, and Thomas didn’t beat the klunk out of Gally afterward, instead Minho finished him off by impaling him with a spear. Normally, inaccuracies like this don’t bother me, but is Gally going to be able to make his appearance in The Death Cure? I mean it’s pretty hard to be brought back to life once you’ve been speared in the heart.

 Don’t let these few inaccuracies get in the way of watching the movie (if you haven’t already). Overall, I really enjoyed this movie and cannot wait for The Scorch Trials! Well, this was my glader review, hope you guys enjoyed:) -Bianca