Tag Archive: nicole kidman


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.

Movies for Scardy Cats

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

At this time of year, what you are going to find are lots of scary movies. Movies about Vampires, Zombies, monsters, and serial killers.

But that is what happens in October, we get movies about crazed clowns and psychotic killers.

Not all of us are up for that. Seriously, I can handle only so many scary movies before I am done. I need levity and a bit of laughter along with my scares and creepy-crawly moments.

That explains why every Halloween season, I find myself watching Practical Magic starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. The story is about two sisters who come from a long line of witches whom appear to be cursed. Their husbands die young and usually there is a warning song from a beetle.

practical-magic-collageIt doesn’t help that the women are incredibly beautiful and some are heart breakers. Sally (Bullock) is beautiful but wants to stay close to home. She dreams of a normal life and had a deep love for her husband and their two daughters. That happiness is destroyed when he dies young. Jilly (Kidman) is a bit of a heart breaker and runs away from home at 18 to find the guy who can withstand the curse.

But one day Jilly meets that guy and he turns out to be something more than a regular guy. Soon the two women are dealing with a problem bigger than they can handle, denying the truth to their witchy aunts. Things get worse when a handsome detective from Arizona arrives to solve a missing person’s case.

This movie has some very serious moments about the supernatural, possession, and not messing with that you don’t understand or disrespect. There are funny moments as well when the four women have a margarita party or during a scene in Sally’s botanical soap and lotion shop.

This is a great scary movie for scardy cats like me because humor is scattered all over this movie. There are the ghostly parts and then there is funny or romantic scenes. It is not a good movie to watch around little ones, better for teens and older or those of us adults who want to watch something a little scary and a little sexy.

love-at-first-biteThis lead me to think about Love at First Bite with George Hamilton and Susan St. James. While I am sure there are some funny moments to this movies, it is not one I want to watch and nor can I recommend. Hamilton is more famous for his tan than his acting abilities.

I can only suggest this movie about a vampire who loses his Transylvanian home and moves to New York as a possible movie to riff on with your friends as you watch it. The vampire’s goal is to find the woman who looks like his long lost love who is now in New York City working as a supermodel. Just three bites and he can make her his forever. That is if the grandson of Van Helsing doesn’t kill him first.

Like I said, this movie is great for being ridiculed. All you need is popcorn and a smart-aleck friend to get the ball rolling. Perhaps a drinking game can be made with it.  I am going to guess that by the end of the movie what you will be horrified by is the badness of this plot which is better than being horrified because of one gruesome murder after another in my book.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

La, La, La, La, Laaaaa

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This past weekend, some of the women at my church got together for a different kind of women’s fellowship.

We had a cookie party.

Each woman brought either cookie dough or frosting. We had sugar cookies, gingerbread, ranger cookies and red velvet cake cookies. In four hours we made dozens of cookies with nine varieties in total. After cookies had been frosted and decorated, each woman took a variety of cookies home. We had the ovens going until all of the dough was gone.

Somehow the cookies lasted through Monday evening at our house. I am not sure they will last another day. But what was important was not coming home with a ton of cookies, it was the fellowship with other women.

We talked about family traditions, Christmas legends and Susan Boyle. Then there were discussions about jobs, blood drives and church events. By the end of the evening we got around to talking about Les Miserable which opens at the end of the month. Soon we were making plans to get together to watch this spectacle.

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

Have you seen the commercials? Just Anne Hathaway singing sends chills up and down my spine.

The story is about a man who escapes parole and makes a new life for himself. But then a factory worker who has become a prostitute to support her child makes him promise to care for her child. He agrees and that decision leads to trying events in the future. The Oscar buzz for this movie is already crazy and all we have seen are the trailers and various clips.

While this movie is more of an opera because most of the dialogue is sung, it is still considered a musical. Most musicals have songs as interludes, pushing forward the emotions of characters.

The best musical of all time does just this with songs that were not written specifically for the movie. Singin’ In The Rain was a collection of songs that directors Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen liked and wanted to use for a revue-like movie. Each song leads us to know how a character feels at that moment.

One of my favourite musicals is Mamma Mia! Perfect for when I am cleaning house, I love watching this adaptation of the Broadway show starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan because most of the music is toe tapping fun. Perhaps it is too hedonistic for some, it also delves into the emotions of those who are wondering if life has passed them by while they were simply living and raising a family.

Another musical I love is Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. Set in 1899, McGregor is a young man who comes to the big city and immediately falls in love with the star of a show. But, being that this is based on La Boheme, she is a courtesan. She should not give in to love as she supports the theatre and allows Kidman to star in the shows.

And like most operas, she has a secret. One that is not that secret and will kill her. We know this going in but who care? The songs, modern and anachronistic, are major spectacles. Even the simple songs fills the heart while the dancing is incredible.

That is what a musical should do, lift your heart, take you to a higher level of emotion, make your spine shiver because the singing is incredible.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

This past weekend, our church women’s group came together for a cookie baking session.

 

Image by Cohdra

Image by Cohdra

Each woman was to bring two batches or more of pre-made cookie dough along with any pans and decorations they had on hand. I made three different cookies doughs: Sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies and M&M cookie dough. At the end of the night, each woman took home a variety of cookies. Four hours of baking ended with nine different kinds of cookies that included ranger cookies and red velvet cookies.

 

The amazing thing is I still have some of those cookies as of Monday morning. I suspect they will all be gone by the end of the day.

 

At the end of the evening, we decided we needed to have another fellowship time and a movie seemed like a good idea. It was also unanimous that Les Mis should be that movie. Just the commercial with Anne Hathaway singing gave me chills up and down the spine.

 

Then again, I have always been a fan of a good musical. The first one that I remember as being life changing was Singin’ In the Rain which starred Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Conner. This movie about the change over from silent movies to talkies focuses on how one leading man is able to transition well while his abhorrent leading lady is not. To make matters worse, he has fallen in love with a chorus girl who has a great voice.

 

I believe it is universally accepted this is the best musicals of all time as well as being one of the best movies ever made. For the last ten years, however, it seems as if we are treated to a new musical every Christmas. While Les Mis has continual singing, making it more opera than musical, the songs break your heart with their beauty.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

One of my favorite musicals in the past few years is Mamma Mia starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. This musical featuring the songbook of ABBA is a happy, zippy movie that exists in a very adult world that might be a little hedonistic at times. I love putting this one on when I have to do housework.

 

Another musical in recent years that I love is Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. The story is a familiar one to opera fans. A young idealistic man falls in love with a beautiful woman who is a courtesan. She also has the dread disease of the early 1900s which is consumption, aka tuberculosis.

 

What I love about this movie is how director Baz Luhrmann uses modern songs in a period piece and somehow it all works out. You have a great love story, fantastic musical pieces and the sage wisdom given by tough people trying to look out for a young man who is writing his first show that must be a block buster. The sets are bright, eclectic and over-the top which matches the movie and it all works.

 

While these movies are not exactly little-kid friendly, they are something you can watch with your teens if they happen to like musicals. Otherwise, you can always join me. I am happy to have a sing-a-long at my house any time.

 

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.