Scream-A-Thon: The Perfect Amount

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Yesterday I got the life changing experience of watching all four of the Scream films in a theater (3 of which were on 35 mm print) in a marathon properly titled “Scream-a-thon”.

Let me start by saying that the Scream franchise was already my third favorite horror franchise even before entering the theater. Watching them in a row with a hyped up group of people and entertaining break shows solidified its spot even more.

Prior to the first Scream showing, two workers, dressed up as Ghostface, made a successful attempt to excite the audience with pre-show trivia and games with prizes. Each of these games was splattered with quotes from the legend himself (I am indeed talking about Ghostface) such as the iconic “gut you like a fish” line from the first film.

Before Scream 2 started, we all got the honor of watching a drag queen dressed up as Tatum from Scream with a cardboard garage around her waist imitating the character’s death to the song “Drop Dead Gorgeous” by Republica.

The movies themselves were something else. Seeing the Jamie Lee Curtis of the Scream franchise, Neve Campbell, master the art of one of the most powerful women of horror was truly enlightening. Sidney Prescott is the queen of modern horror. Even in Scream 4, Campbell’s character rules the show and uses all her power to develop Sidney even more.

Separately, watching Skeet Ulrich as Billy Loomis and Matthew Lillard as Stu Macher makes my bones shiver. They showed what a teenage psycho really was. More like the modern version of the horny teenage psychopath. And I’ll tell you, it was wonderful. The next time that a movie showed an even more modern psycho was Scream 4 when the surprising, fame hungry killer was revealed.

All four movies were something that should – and must – be experienced at least once in the form of a marathon because it’s a very life changing experience. It’s crazy to be able to watch one of the most cult classic horror franchises of all time in a theater with people who are equally as excited as I was.

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‘Bao’: A Brutally Meaningful Showstarter

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

If you like movies and aren’t completely ignorant, you’ve definitely heard of the seamless Incredibles 2. But we aren’t here to talk about that movie – we are here to talk about what comes before it.

Prior to the Disney Pixar sequel, a short film titled Bao was featured. It was a short with no talking and very minimal sound, but brilliant animation. This, of course, can be expected of the mega animation company behind it.

The creator was a woman by the name of Domee Shi, who wrote and directed the entirety of it. This was the only produced piece on her filmography, but still made her the first woman to direct and create a Pixar short.

The story itself revolves around a woman who is making dinner for her husband – dumplings, specifically – and as her husband leaves for work, the woman is left alone. That is, except for one dumpling that sprouts arms and legs. Don’t worry, it’s not creepy, it’s cute.

It zooms through the life of the woman and her dumpling as he grows up into a bigger dumpling and eventually wants to leave home. This leads to the tragedy of the woman *SPOILER ALERT* eating her child dumpling. Once again, it’s not creepy. Seconds after, it’s revealed that, all along, the dumpling was her son. A son that abandoned her and distanced himself, creating tension when he comes back. It all ends happily when the love of a mother overpowers the fear of him leaving again.

This short film had me in tears before the main attraction even started. I was left shook and half-tempted to leave the theatre to call my own mom. Shi knew how to tug at the heart strings with a self-understood passion that she clearly demonstrated, telling a story with a moral that can only be described as undebatable and astounding. Family is around for a reason, and you shouldn’t cut that unless it’s necessary and healthier.

Even leaving Incredibles 2, I was thinking about this short. The story, the metaphors within, and all the thought that Shi must’ve put into the – for a lack of a better word – incredible journey of a mother and her child.


My Rating: 97.5%

Animation: 3.9/4

Direction: 3.9/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

‘Black Swan’: When the Pretty Became the Paranoid

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

Remember when Natalie Portman won an Oscar for playing a deranged ballerina? It was for the Darren Aronofsky film, Black Swan, that may or may not should’ve won for Best Picture and Best Cinematography at the 83rd Academy Awards. But we’re not here to talk about The Academy, we’re here to give this unique and insane story the attention it deserves.

Based in the hustle of a New York ballet company, the fragile Nina (Natalie Portman) strives to prove that she is the best dancer to be the new Swan Queen in their upcoming production of Swan Lake. She soon finds out that envy and wrath comes with the territory of the role. In her journey to achieving her dream, she feels the pressures of being perfect and develops paranoia in the scariest of ways.

The plot is interesting, but what really made this film special was its cinematography, colors, and overall art direction. They’re the aspects that draw a viewer in and make them appreciate its beauty. In Black Swan’s case, the cinematography was done in a cinema veritè style, the colors were pinks, whites, grays and blacks, and the art direction was light contrasting the dark.

Not only is it ‘light vs. dark’ but it’s also ‘innocence vs. temptation’ and ‘perfection vs. imperfection’. Nina represents purity and she rejects anything with impurities. Her life is pretty, pink, and childlike whereas her environment is cutthroat, edgy, and adult. Without making stark contrasts, the cinematography blends the two to allude to Nina’s transformation from White Swan to Black Swan.

But its prettiness doesn’t cloud the horror aspect. It’s still dark and sticks to the theme of paranoia and the hallucinations that Nina experiences. Her competition is her own inner darkness and it’s shown as her alter ego tries to kill her and actual black feathers start to grow out of her skin.

Its scare factor lies in the horrors of mental illness and the fact that all of these nightmarish events are happening inside of her head. The pressures of her passion result in her own madness. Nina is no longer in her right mind and ultimately gives into the dark side of herself.

Black Swan is not a modern retelling of Swan Lake. Instead, it utilizes the themes of the play to create a story about a woman who loses herself and her mind in the midst of maintaining perfection.

TV Talk Thursday: Big Brother Season 20

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Happy TV Talk Thursday!

Every first Thursday of the month, we review a new tv show or new season. Today, we’re diving into the 20th season of the widely popular CBS reality show, Big Brother.

Let’s start off by saying that this is the first and only season I’ve ever watched of this show so my opinions are with a fresh, newbie perspective.

Just a quick overview of the concept of the show. Sixteen people stay in one house, compete in challenges, which are followed by evictions from the house members which ultimately leads to one person taking home $500,000.

This season starts off with tech-themed challenges that require some athleticism and, with no surprise, the athletes of the house dominate. Many of those athletes have already created alliances with each other, causing them to create friction between all of the house guests.

As a first-time viewer, you discover that the competitive and seemingly popular ones become the biggest targets by the less aggressive members.

Oh, the drama that ensues!

With the first eviction happening today and considering that this show’s fanbase is heavily based on favorites, I would like to list my top five members of Big Brother 20.

First, the most popular and trending house guest is the adorable pumpkin that is Sam. She lost her competition and received the worst punishment I’ve seen: becoming isolated from the rest of the house and communicating through a robot. After being perceived as the weaker member, she was made a target by the aggressive competitors. This broke poor Sam until she received immunity, which was based on her social media popularity, thanks to the fans at home.

Number 2 has to go to my other favorite, Tyler, who also became the first Head of Household of the summer. He’s a chill lifeguard who is too lovable for anyone to hate him. Number 3 is the small, smart, and sassy JC who brings nothing but joy when I see him in the house or in a competition.

My number 4 and 5 will go to Angela and Kaycee who are in the same power alliance. Angela is one of the athletes of the house who most of the members want gone because of how strong she is as a competitor. So far, you can’t knock her down or she’ll knock you out. Kaycee was the other member who recieved a punishment for coming in last and although she’s an athlete, her low key role in the house makes me wonder if she’ll just float through the competition without creating friction or gaining enemies.

Those are my top 5 of the season, so far, and I cannot wait to see what happens later on. Let us know your thoughts on the season and who your personal faves are.

Film Forecast Friday: June 29th

On June 29th we have…

1. Sicario: Day of the Soldado

2. Uncle Drew

3. Escape Plan 2

4. Black Water

5. Woman Walks Ahead

6. Leave No Trace

Julia’s Prediction:

This week there aren’t really any big blockbuster movies coming out.

The movie I have seen the most marketing for is definitely Uncle Drew, and it has a lot of big names in it like Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll, and more. So based on that I think this could be the biggest movie out of those coming out this week.

However, there have been so many big releases this month I doubt any of these movies will make a big impression at the box office. Between Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom these movies will have a hard time coming anywhere near the top of ticket sales.

Anthony’s Prediction:

I’ll start with Uncle Drew, which will make the most at the box office this weekend due entirely to its insane marketing and constant advertising on every platform.

Then we have Sicario: Day of the Soldado which is a sequel, so it’ll make nearly as much as Uncle Drew, even if it’s horrible.

Those two are going to be pretty much the only relevant ones this week, given that there hasn’t been much advertising or anticipation for the sequel to Escape Plan or whatever the heck the other movies are.

‘Brain on Fire’: Drowning in Your Own Insanity

For this week of Netflix content, we have Brain on Fire. This is the true story of a woman named Susannah (played by Chloë Grace Moretz) as she goes through her self-proclaimed “month of insanity”.

Let me just start out by emphasizing how much I despised all the characters in this. Not that I hated the people who played them, I just hated the characters because of how they treated Susannah. This poor girl was losing her damn mind and they were all assholes. Her dad was yelling at her about stupid things like plumbing and her boss completely ignored her obvious sickness. Her best coworker friend was a sassy journalist who also ignored the sickness. Each character was cleverly written, but they were all just so mean and it frustrated me.

If I’ll say anything negative about this movie – that’s not about the characters – it’s that it’s incredibly slow. It takes the first twenty minutes for her to feel any symptoms, another thirty to go to the hospital, and fifteen after that to make her go entirely catatonic.

This was based on a book of the same name by the real Susannah Cahalan and her accounts of her month of insanity. Obviously they had to follow the events, even if that meant the movie was slug-paced.

Moretz was brilliant. She couldn’t have done better as she was so believable as this mental patient that so quickly became dark. Of course she looks very young, but she still gave off a believable performance as a mature adult who works for the New York Post.

For the most part, this was a good movie. It was intriguing to watch someone’s mental sanity deteriorate so fast. Granted, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 17% which I completely don’t understand. That just goes to show that you can’t always trust a score.


My Rating: 78%

Acting: 3.2/4

Cinematography: 2.9/4

Story: 3.4/4

Enjoyability: 3/4

‘Shrek’ Me Up: A Look Back on the Childrens’ Classic

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

For this Time Warp, I decided I would touch on one of my absolute favorite animated movie franchises. That, of course, is the Academy Award winning film, ‘Shrek’. It’s still funny to me to be able to say “Academy Award winning” to the classic swamp-dwelling ogre that is my man Shrek.

Many who haven’t seen this iconic film may ask why it won Best Animated Feature in 2002. Well, those who have seen it can tell you exactly why.

The mean green fighting machine Shrek (Mike Myers) is an angry ogre who just likes to be left alone, as most people nowadays. But once love comes along, that changes, as with anyone who suddenly finds love. Shrek’s love didn’t come suddenly, of course. It came after a long journey with his new friend – whether or not he likes to admit it – a donkey, whose name is, well, Donkey (Eddie Murphy).

The love interest/self-hating princess in the movie is Fiona (played by Cameron Diaz), who loves throwing tantrums at every moment she can. You may think that it’s obnoxious, but it becomes very easy to love her by the end.

That is the overall plot of the entire first movie, but they do so well developing all the relationships within it. Being able to meet dozens of fairy tale creatures who annoy Shrek to the brink of absolute fury is, even if it’s not to Shrek, completely hilarious to watch.

Half the enjoyability of this movie revolves around the supreme soundtrack that plays throughout. I mean, we have songs like “All Star” by Smash Mouth and “Bad Reputation” performed by Joan Jett. That sells it right there, doesn’t it?

It’s an undeniably enjoyable movie and impossible not to love. It sparked a sequel that is debatably better than the first if not just as good. It’s one of those movie franchises that anybody will want to watch on a lazy afternoon in the summer, with their kids for a family movie night, in the middle of a snowstorm in the winter, or pretty much at anytime. That is how I define a classic.