Tag Archive: daniel radcliffe


Just Enough Scare

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

One of the things that I find fascinating about horror movies is how they explore the things that make us fearful.

Sometimes when I watch a scary movie I find I am scared because it hits close to home, explores a fear that I may feel deep inside or know that others feel.

HornsSome story lines just stay in my head and they pop out for no reason. One of these movies is Horns starring Daniel Radcliffe. In this story, Iggy is in deep mourning when his fiance is found dead after being brutally raped. Of course he is the obvious suspect and the whole town thinks he did it.

But after a night in which Iggy curses God for not protecting Merrin, Iggy discovers he has started growing horns out of the top of his head. Worse yet, people are telling him their worst secrets; they can’t stop themselves. So Iggy decides to use that power to find the real killer.

What makes this movie worthy is the exploration of good and evil within one’s soul, how looks can be deceiving. Ok, I loved that Iggy could start fights with a mere suggestion and seemed horrified at his new abilities at first. But it is also a reminder that good and evil resides in a person. How we get there is a thin line.

Another movie that comes back to me is The Others starring Nicole Kidman. She plays a woman awaiting the return of her husband from WWII in a big house on the island of Jersey with her two children. She has strict rules in the house because both children are light sensitive.

TheOthers posterThe thing is, she is beginning to believe there are ghosts in the house and that they are causing doors to not be locked and moving things around. When new servants come to the house they have secrets that they want to share but can’t quite do it yet. It plays on our deepest fears of what is really around us. The bumps, the sound, the appearance that something is not quite right.

For me, the jump scares make me more frightened than movies with slashers. You expect the horrible things that happen in those slasher movies, And while they touch on something realistic, the truth is they are over the top in their horror. What is is scary about these two movies named above is that they touch closer to what we live and what we see. Deep dark secrets or emotions held back can come to the forefront when we least expect it. What seems like something simple is a more complex problem and the answer is nothing that we expect.

Horror movies, strangely enough, explore the emotions. It is one way we process feelings of fear in various situations when we can’t do it any other way. Various themes within horror movies comes and go. We no longer explore environmental poisoning or nuclear changes to organisms. But we do explore that of mysterious strangers or strange poisonings or zombie apocalypse.

What might come next, most of us do not know. But it is still interesting to see what it might be.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

A Little Bit of a Scare

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Just because it is the Halloween season, doesn’t mean you have to watch a super scary movie.

Sometimes a hint of the supernatural is all it takes to be satisfied. I know I prefer my scary movies to have a bit of humor in them. Or maybe I prefer to have comedies or dramedies with a touch of horror.

practical-magic-collageOne of my favorite movies to watch this time of year is Practical Magic starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Who knew back in 1998 that we were watching two future Oscar winners. This movie could be described as a comedy because there are comedic elements. It could be a drama because there are moments of clarity and emotional introspection.

The supernatural element as both comedy and serious moments to the movie. The story is about two sisters who are dealing with the early deaths of their parents in different ways. Sally wanted nothing more than to be normal with love and a family. She had all of that until her husband died in a freak accident that some felt was because of the family curse.

Gillian is the party girl. She is searching for love far from home, looking for that one man who can withstand the curse. And she finds that man, strong enough to withstand the curse but evil in other ways.

While this might be a movie you can watch with girl friends or older teens, I would not watch this movie with younger kids. There is too much content that is adult oriented as we go from grief to dealing with an abusive situation to casual swearing for some but serious to others.

But for adults, it is a fun movie. It resolves into an ending we want with the hope of renewal,

BewitchedNow if you are looking for something with more comedy in the supernatural realm, try Bewitched starring Nicole Kidman as Samantha. Kidman portrays a witch trying to be mortal. But she finds herself being discovered by a Hollywood star trying to reclaim his shine with a new version of the old TV show.

This is not a perfect movie but it is a lot of fun. Kidman and the witchy crew have real rapport amongst them. It is when we have Will Ferrell taking first place that we feel the film slow down and be less funny or interesting. However, when he is with Kidman his timing is better. The character becomes more believable. The movie really shines whenever Kidman and Michael Caine share the screen. Their chemistry as father and daughter really sparkles, I could have watched them all day long.

This movie can be watched by middle school and older children. Some of the situations or language will not be appropriate or perhaps content-wise at their level. This is another movie to watch with the girlfriends while you guys nosh and talk and laugh.

Harry, Ron and Hermione HP&SS IMDb com

Hermione, Harry and Ron in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Picture from IMDb.com

If you are looking for something lighthearted to watch with kids, there is always the first Harry Potter movies, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It is this movie that introduces us to the wizarding world, asking us to see and hear all of the wonders. Yes, there are scary moments such as when the kids fight the troll and battle the various challenges at the end. But there are many times when it feels as if we are being asked to join in the fun. And who can resist that?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Movie Poster, image from IMDb.com

Movie Poster image from IMDb.com

 

Family Movie Night

 I get really excited when some of the Oscar movies start coming out to the home theater market.

 Because our life is pretty hectic with the kids’ schedule of activities getting out to the movies on a regular basis is pretty difficult. I am happy to be able to watch Dancing With The Stars on a regular basis.

 So imagine my happiness when I looked at the DVD release schedules to find that between this week and last, four movies that were nominated for Oscars are coming out.

 Last week, Country Strong starring Gwyneth Paltrow as a country singer making her comeback after a too short stint in rehab. She is a great singer and her husband, played by Tim McGraw, knows that the stage is the only place she can be happy.

Garret Hedlund stars as the rising singer she goes on tour with along with beauty queen-turned-singer Leighton Meister. I love country music, love Gwyneth and Tim McGraw and plan to watch this movie.

While Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1only received nominations for its technical magic, I am looking forward to seeing this movie once more. I have been following the series since the first movie, have re-read the books and feel ready for the final movie.

 Harry, Ron and Hermione have left school to search for the final pieces to destroy Voldemort. Life has never been so tenuous or dangerous. Never have the stakes been higher. Oh, I am so looking forward to watching this flick with a huge bowl of popcorn.

 Yesterday saw the release of the DVD for Rabbit Hole starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as parents who are facing the loss of their young son by a sudden accident. It is a movie that will break your heart as these two people work to rebuild everything they knew to be true. I love these two actors and look forward to watching how two people deal with the ultimate grief and how they allow each other to grieve as well.

 On the same day the big winner at the Oscars, The King’s Speech, comes out as well. While my husband has no interest to see this movie, I cannot wait. Colin Firth has been a good actor for such a long time that his performances are rather seamless. It appears that he is not acting at all.

 He finally won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance as the King of England who must get over his speech problem in order to be the reassuring voice his subjects need to hear. He is the king, their sovereign and he must appear to be confident. That is when the Queen finds a speech therapist who helps the King find his voice. Because I also love Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush, my level of excitement is quite high. This last movie is best for younger family members (grade school and up) despite the momentary swearing that is used to help the king.

 Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

 Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What Did You Like Best?

I keep reading stories about the last year in movies and how it was lackluster. But I find critics say that every year. As a former critic, I know how easy it is to get jaded.

Every year there are bad sequels and bad re-makes and bad old-TV series-made-into-movies. What? You thought The A-Team and Hot Tub Time Machine were going to be good movies?

While some movies were disappointing, there were a few that I really loved.

Toy Story 3

What a great ending to a great series. Pixar, the makers of Toy Story, always seemed to get that toys are very real to kids. Each toy has its own personality, its own quirk and that is why we love various toys. But more importantly they never doubted the capabilities of their audience to understand that those qualities may be different from what we perceive.

Andy gazing at his old toys, Picture from IMDb.com

 

There are so many elements, so many details that goes into this last movie. It is a coming-of-age movie, an ending but also action-adventure with a heist element. We mourn who is gone and celebrate with who is left. We cry with relief and sadness and happiness. It may be one of the best movies of the entire year.

Burlesque

Christina Aquilera wants to be so much more than a fine singer, she wants to be an actress as well. This is a first good step in that direction. Starring with the ultimate singer-turned-actress in Cher, Aquilera is a small town girl from Iowa who wants something more from her life. A one-way ticket to L.A. is the first step. A waitressing  job at the best burlesque house is the next.

Cher and Christina Aquilera in Burlesque, Picture from IMDb.com

 

That is where she meets Cher who mentors her along in the way of make-up and performing. And when Aquilera lets loose on the pipes, all bets are off to discovering how successful she will be. Forget reality while watching this movie because you know some of what will happen. Stay for Cher’s solo, Kristen Bell’s anger and Stanley Tucci’s every scene.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1

I know that everything in the book did not make it into the movie. I was looking forward to some things that did not make it. But this movie did what it had to do. It gave us the fill towards the end. It lead us from school life to real life for Harry, Hermione and Ron.

Daniel, Rupert and Emma in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Picture from IMDb.com.

 

We are now set up for the final movie, the final episode. We are ready for the huge battle we know must come. And if it all goes the way I hope, David Yates will be praised forever as one of the best directors of one of the best movie series ever.

Sherlock Holmes

Robert Downey Jr. has seen a renaissance that has been remarkable for the roles he is getting and what he is doing with them. In this movie, Downey had to contend with the specter of Basil Rathbone and made his own mark. I wondered if he was giving Sherlock a bit of an Asperberger’s twist with his incredible focus on a single subject and lack of social niceties.

Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. in "Sherlock Holmes," Picture from IMDb.com

 

Jude Law also has some hurdles to cross as he makes Dr. Watson different from the Nigel Bruce charactization. We follow the story of a woman from Holmes’ past whom needs Holmes to do some investigating. Plus, the two men are dealing with an estrangement as Watson finds a woman he wants to marry. I was entranced and loved how Guy Richie envisioned the story.

There are so many other movies I need to see. I am looking forward to Rabbit Hole, Country Strong and True Grit, among others.

 What movies did you love in the past year?