Monthly Archives: October 2009

Bringing The Movie To Life: Derby Dreams – Part 2

SkatesNaturally, my new hobby comes at a price. First off, the roller derby league highly recommends participating in their skills nights. Fine, that makes sense. I don’t really know what I’m doing and could definitely use some pre-tryout training. But, of course, these sessions aren’t free. On top of that, I actually have to purchase a pair of skates. I did some thorough research – Googled ‘roller derby skates’ – and checked out the top hit’s bestseller list. Of course, the skate at the top spot was the cheapest. I didn’t want to go for the bottom of the barrel but didn’t want to start spending hundreds of dollars on quads when there’s a possibility I might not even make it past tryout day. After much deliberation, I ended up purchasing the moderately prices Riedell R3 Tuners.

My next derby venture was going to require some cash as well. I didn’t want to walk into the first of four skills nights without any experience. The league’s website suggests training with a local instructor. Fine, but I’m not embarrassing myself in any class. I inquired about arranging a private lesson and after some brief correspondence was all set to meet with the trainer later that week.

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Scares Without Borders: Celebrate Halloween Horror Free

HalloweenApproved
Whether you’re still young enough to trick-or-treat or have graduated to the party scene, there’s always time for a little Halloween scary movie marathon. When preparing a horror lineup, movies that most likely come to mind are the slasher classics like Halloween and Friday the 13th, a satanic creeper like The Amityville Horrors or maybe even their modern remakes. Yes, these are great go-to movies to celebrate the scariest night of the year, but why not spice up the list this time around with a few unusual options?

When you watch a horror movie, you’re on your guard but pop in a cartoon, thriller or even a comedy and your defenses are down leaving you susceptible to a quick scare or haunting concept that’s sure to prevent you from sleeping easy. There are countless flicks that can achieve the horrifying non-horror honor, but I’ve narrowed it down to ten that make me especially uneasy and will permanently lurk in the shadows of my mind.

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Review: Paranormal Activity

ParanormalActivityPosterSeeing helpless victims face a brutal serial killer is terrifying, but after watching Paranormal Activity, I’d much rather be hanging out with Jigsaw than the demonic force haunting Micah and Katie. Experiencing this movie with an unruly crowd definitely diminished the horrifying effects, yet I still walked out terribly frightened and dreading turning out the lights and going to bed. The film’s scare factor precedes it but Paranormal Activity isn’t just a cheap thrill, it’s an honorable production that easily trumps other films, even those not of its genre.

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Review: Saw VI

SawVIPosterAnother Halloween, another Saw. It’s crazy to think that we haven’t gone a Halloween in six years without seeing Jigsaw torturing the unjust on the big screen. In the sixth installment the series gets political, pointing a finger at the health care system. Insurance companies aren’t always fair and the Saw franchise is indulging in a little payback of its own.

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Interview: Tanedra Howard

TanedraHowardYou find some interesting things on Craigslist. There’s ads for animals, cars, apartments and even some movie gigs. Well, actually, there are tons of postings for acting jobs and that’s a fact that Tanedra Howard is well aware of. When she came across an offer from Lionsgate, she was skeptical and rightfully so. Luckily she followed her instincts and ending up being cast on the VH1 reality show Scream Queens.

After going through grueling challenges like jumping out of a three story window and, most horrifically, a series of events in which she had to swim through a pool of blood and carnage, hop into a body drawer at the morgue and cover herself in cockroaches, she reached the pinnacle, a role in Saw VI. Tanedra certainly earned her role in one of the biggest horror franchises in history and has a vast knowledge of the genre, but she’s well suited for another kind of movie, comedy. Tanedra is downright hilarious!

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Bringing The Movie To Life: Derby Dreams – Part 1

WhipItPosterOne of the many reasons I love watching movies, is to get out of my own world and experience something new. The great thing is, if you’re not really feeling this new adventure, it’ll be over soon. Sometimes a movie really strikes a chord and inspires you to make the characters’ experience your own. Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of visiting Jurassic Park and saving the world Will Smith Independence Day style, but, odds are, neither will happen anytime soon.

Luckily, one of the most recent films I’m itching to bring to life is actually feasible. I read Shauna Cross’ Derby Girl and couldn’t stop thinking about roller derby. My interest didn’t really surprise me. I always strive to be different. When I was little, while most of my friends took gymnastics and dance classes, I was fighting with the boys in a karate dojo. When it came to a musical instrument, just playing the saxophone wasn’t enough; I had to play the bari sax. My attraction to eccentricities continues and I’m onto a new hobby, roller derby.

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Review: The Stepfather

TheStepfatherPosterIf you’re going to trade in the blood and guts for a PG-13 rating, at least make an exhilarating movie. The horror genre has diverged into two paths; the brutally gruesome and the suspenseful. The Stepfather clearly is going for the latter category, which would have been fine if it were in fact thrilling. The premise is strong and the characters are appealing but the movie is missing the one element that will garner it its audience, terror.

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Video Interview: Katherine Dieckmann

KatherineDieckmannWhen you’ve got a movie called Motherhood, it’s naturally assumed the film is mom material only. The Motherhood PR team even made an extra effort to have a number of mom bloggers participate in the roundtables. Yes, Motherhood is about, well, motherhood, but there’s also a much deeper meaning behind the portrayal of a day in the life of mother of two, Eliza (Uma Thurman).

Much of the roundtable questions probed the film’s writer and director, Katherine Dieckmann, about her child raising philosophies and experiences, so I used my one-on-one time to investigate Dieckmann’s implementation of those elements to create an entertaining and meaningful movie.

The interview is fairly long, 18 minutes, so I chopped it up into two pieces. The first half primarily addresses Dieckmann’s inspiration and how Motherhood, contrary to popular belief, can be a movie for anybody. One particularly intriguing portion of this half of the interview is when Dieckmann tells me about the movie poster. As I said in my review of Motherhood, I’m not a fan of the poster. I still think a poster’s effectiveness can be assessed by a person’s initial reaction to the image, but Dieckmann enlightens me on the deeper meaning beyond its face value.

In the latter half Dieckmann goes into detail on the casting process. She tells me a little something about everyone from the film’s leading lady to the talented young actress who plays Eliza’s six-year-old daughter Clara (Daisy Tahan).

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Interview: Minnie Driver

MinnieDriverJust over a year ago, shooting was underway on a Katherine Dieckmann project. Just over a year ago, Minnie Driver was pregnant with her first child. Now not only do we have Motherhood hitting theaters but we also have a mini Driver, Henry.

Dieckmann never planned for Driver’s character, struggling mother Eliza’s (Uma Thurman) best pal Sheila, to be pregnant, but since Driver was sporting a baby bump at the time and since the movie was about motherhood, why not? She admits it was extremely difficult trudging around the set during a New York City heat wave, but is thankful that she can look back on Motherhood and remember this monumental time in her life.

Celebrity babies gracing the pages of tabloids may be all the rage, but paparazzi be aware; if you get in Driver’s way she’ll probably just blog about it, but if you get in Henry’s she won’t take that so lightly.

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Interview: Anthony Edwards

AnthonyEdwardsIf you’ve read my interview with Katherine Dieckmann and Uma Thurman, you know Uma’s parting words were “Live long and prosper.” Apparently she’s not the only Star Trek fan in Motherhood. The first thing Anthony Edwards did when he sat down at the table was run his fingers over the metallic mesh table runner and say, “This is a little Star Trek-y.’ What makes this whole Star Trek thing even stranger is that during my one-on-one with Dieckmann she told me she has no interest in sci-fi when it comes to writing.

Don’t expect anymore out-of-this-world talk in this interview because Motherhood cannot be more different from Star Trek. Edwards plays Avery, the husband of the super-stressed mother of two Eliza (Thurman). He’s a loving father but a bit absentminded. Edwards may not be as forgetful as his character, but admits he has a little Avery in him, which is understandable considering how much he has on his plate.

On top of Motherhood, Edwards just wrapped the Rob Reiner comedy Flipped and plans to run the New York Marathon with the charity Shoe4Africa. The proceeds will go to building a children’s hospital in Kenya. ER may be long gone, but Edwards still has some Dr. Greene in him!

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