Tag Archives: movies

WATCHING: Wait Until Dark

5 Jan

Watching: Wait Until Dark
Why you should be watching: Mystery, Suspense, the element of surprise

(Photo Credit)

This won’t be the first time I’ve discussed an Audrey Hepburn film. And it probably won’t be the last. Regardless, Wait Until Dark is amazing. You need to watch it. In your house. Alone. With all the lights out. You will be terrified, and it will be awesome.

If you’ve never seen it, the 1967 classic staring Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin, is based on a play of the same name. The film opens with a woman, Lisa, in Montreal,waiting for an old man to sew bags of drugs into the body of a cloth doll. She catches a flight to New York, but when she gets off the plane, she sees a man watching her, and gives the doll to someone else for safe keeping. Hepburn stars at Susy Hendrix, a young woman who was blinded in a car accident. She lives in a basement apartment in New York City with her husband, professional photographer, Sam. Sam was the man to whom Lisa gave the doll. Lisa calls looking for it. Sam and Susy can’t find it. Uh-oh.

Two men, Mike and Carlino enter Susy and Sam’s apartment while both are away. They were supposed to meet Lisa, but are instead greeted by a man named Roat (Arkin). And Lisa’s dead body. Turns out, Lisa was in business with Mike and Carlino before they both ended up in prison, and she planned to cheat Roat out of the money from the drugs, until he caught her at the airport, after she gave the doll to Sam. Following so far? He’s tracked the doll to Sam and Susy, but doesn’t know much else, but since he’s worn gloves and Mike and Carlino have not, their fingerprints are all over the apartment, and he forces them to help him get rid of Lisa’s body and help him find the doll.

Then, one of the most suspense plotlines ever really begins.

Sam and Susy’s neighbor both leave—Sam has a business trip—leaving Susy very much alone. Mike, Carlino and Roat begin a complicated con-game, playing on Susy’s blindness. As the con-game gets more and more tangled and Susy begins to slowly catch on to what’s going on around her, the tension builds for the characters and the audience.

In a stroke of brilliance, Susy decides to put the con-artists in the dark, by literally killing all the lights, making them just as blind as she is, ensuring things are about to get really ugly and really scary. They do.

The writers already make things suspenseful because the audience knows way more than Susy. We know right off the bat these are bad guys, and it is torture for the audience to watch her invite them into her home, and see them play multiple characters and do all kinds of things she can’t even see! SO. FRUSTRATING.

Then there’s the physical tension, with the slights slowly going out one by one. And then there is one of the most frightening scenes in cinematic history, I kid you not. I refuse to provide a link to the footage. Go watch the movie. Get inspired.

 

Have you ever seen Wait Until Dark? Did you get scared? Isn’t it exhausting? Let me know—leave a comment!

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WATCHING: Christmas Movies

22 Dec

Watching: Christmas Movies

Why you should be watching: Why not?

I cannot tell a lie: I’m not that into Christmas movies, I’m really not. And Christmas music is even worse. Ugh. I’m no Scrooge or anything, and I do love the warm, sweet buzz that the holiday season brings, but lets face it: Christmas-themed music and movies our shoved at us two weeks before Thanksgiving, and they just don’t let up until January first, when everyone’s holiday letdown sets in. But still, I love some Christmas movies anyway. They aren’t always good. Most of the time, they’re corny, schmaltzy, and hackneyed. But hey, someone keeps writing them, we keep watching them, and they’re a nice break from the department store. Check out these five Christmas movies—have a marathon! (And, if you still have a gift or two to snag, anyone of these would make a good one!)

 

  1. Black Christmas (1974, 2006)

(2006 Poster, Photo Credit)

It really doesn’t matter which version you see, because both are pretty good, though if I had to say, go for the 1974 version first, but you’ll be pretty happy with the 2006 version too. It’s like this: there’s a sorority house. And killing ensues. Blood, guts and gore. All with nice Christmas ambiance, and even nifty, Christmas-y ways to die.

Give this one to: Your friends. Chances are they won’t mind the gore so much, and the twist on what we think of as Christmas movies will be fun for all of you.

 

4. Christmas with the Kranks (2004)

(Photo Credit)

Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis star as Luther and Nora Krank, respectively. Because they’re daughter has just left for Peru with the Peace Corp, Luther and Nora have no desire to spend the holiday season without her. So, instead they decide to take the money they would have spent on presents and a party and the like, and go on a cruise. However, when they announce to friends, neighbors and co-workers that they’re leaving, everyone is outraged. What worse is that, as they’re headed out for their trip, their daughter, Blair announces that she’s on the way home with her fiance (!). The Kranks have to throw together a Christmas party before Blair gets home. Even though you know where the movie is headed from the start, it doesn’t make it any less fun.

Give this one to: Your parents. Wherever you are in life, they love you so much, they’d give up a ten-day cruise to the Caribbean for you.

 

  1. Elf (2003)

(Photo Credit)

Let me put it this way, I started typing the title, and began chuckling to myself. Elf is just plain funny, and genuinely heartwarming to boot. Will Ferrel stars as Buddy the elf, who accidently ends up being raised in the North Pole. Because of his height and because he makes shoddy toys, the other elves discern that he mus be human, and Buddy overhears them. He leaves for New York where is father, Walter, who is unaware of his existence lives and works at children’s book publishing company. Though his father initially rejects him, through a series of misadventures, Buddy is able to work his way into hearts everywhere, and spread the truth and joy of Santa Clause to people all over New York.

Give this one to: Your kids/nieces and nephews/little cousins. Elf is family-friendly, reinforces belief in Santa and the power of family. And Will Ferrell in those tiny elf clothes sets even grown men to giggling.

 

  1. The Family Stone (2005)

(Photo Credit)

This dramedy features several well-known names in its ensemble cast like, Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Luke Wilson, Claire Danes and Rachel McAdams. Though seeing too many big names together can get a little New Year’s Eve-ish, this cast does a really great job of letting you forget who they are, and focusing on the story. Dermot Mulroney is Everett Stone, the eldest son of Sybil (Keaton) and Kelly (Nelson). He’s bringing his straight-laced, uptight girlfriend, Meredith (Parker), home for the holidays. The Stones all have issues with their lives and with each other, so bringing each other together for the holiday’s is bound to be a disaster, it is, just in the way you would expect—there’s screaming and fighting, but also some healing, and all families could use a little of that.

Give this one to: Your sister, or best gal pal. Hopefully, she’ll enjoy the family dynamics, and it’s great to see so many amazing female actresses gathered in one place.

 

1. A Christmas Story (1983)

(Photo Credit)

Ralphie Parker is nine years old, and all he wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB Gun. I couldn’t even begin to cover all of the crummy things that happen to Ralphie during the holiday season, but they are plentiful and hilarious. Ralphie is just a kid, trying to survive until Christmas when he finally gets to unwrap his presents but bullies and teachers and parents all get in the way. You’ll spend the whole movie hoping with all your might that Ralphie actually gets his little BB Gun, but wondering all the while if it’ll happen. Just watch it, with everyone you know. Repeatedly.

Give this one to: Everyone, but most specifically, your boyfriend/husband or your brother. Chances are, he’ll see a little of himself in Ralphie.

What do you think? Are my Christmas favorites great, or did I miss the mark? What are your Christmas classics? Let me know!

WATCHING: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

13 Oct

Watching: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Why you should watch it: Culture, Character

Breakfast At Tiffany's Cover(Photo Credit)

For my first Watching post, I thought I’d cover a classic.

Everyone should see this movie. Seriously, this 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn as the iconic Holly Golightly and George Peppard as Paul Varjak, is a must see for women, men, people who love fashion (the black dress, the pearls, the tiara. You know.), just everyone.

Based loosely on Truman Capote’s novella of the same name, this movie is funny, classy and inventive. It chronicles the adventures of a group of rich or wanna-be rich bohemians. Most important is Hepburn’s eccentric, outgoing and essentially lost, Holly Golightly, who doesn’t seem to know exactly what she wants out of life, flitting from party to party. Then, Paul Varjak, writer and…escort, moves into her apartment building.

To learn what happens next, you’ll have to see the movie (available on Netflix streaming!!!) and believe me there’s something in it for everyone, and everyone should see it. More specifically, all writers should see this movie for a couple of reasons.

First, this movie really knows something about cultivating a culture. Inspired by the cafe society, Breakfast at Tiffany’s does a great job of establishing the culture surrounding the characters. When not partying the characters do what they like—sleep, shop, take long walks, go to bars. Then, they party. The suggestion that everyone knows everyone from some party, or through some other friend, or by reputation really suggests this network of the rich and pretty who just like to get together and party, damn everything else.

There’s a FANTASTIC sequence of a party in Holly’s apartment. The place is packed. Everyone is dressed both beautifully and extravagantly. Alcohol flows freely and everyone is gossiping about everyone else. As the party progresses things only get crazier—and more hilarious. People pass out, talk to themselves, sit on each other, but it doesn’t seem to matter, as long as everyone has a good time.

All writers could take a cue from this movie, and cultivate a culture around their characters and understand how their worlds shape their characters.

The second reason I say all writers should see this movie is the character development. In truth, it could be really easy to hate Holly Golightly. She’s flighty, indecisive, delusional and a bit of heartbreaker, when it comes right down to it. But she’s also clever, honest, witty and spontaneous. While I refuse to give away any more of the plot than I already have, as with any good writing, Holly is also shown to be devastatingly human and capable of experiencing the roller coaster of emotions other humans go through. I can’t promise you’ll fall in love with Holly, even though TONS of people have so, you know, they can’t all be wrong. But even if you don’t love her, the great characterization promises you’ll at least understand her.

WATCH THIS MOVIE. There’s a reason that fifty years later, people still love this movie, that Holly is considered a fashion icon, and that people still listen to this Oscar-winning rendition of “Moon River.”

Plus, Uncle Jed is it. How can you lose?