Five L&L certified Halloween movie rentals

Halloween Masks smaller

The best way to get in the Halloween spirit is to watch a few spine-tingling scary movies, and we’ve got five badass recommendations.

1. Trick ‘r Treat – This surprisingly awesome set of spooky vignettes couldn’t be more Halloween related.

2. Drag Me to Hell – If you haven’t seen Sam Raimi’s newest masterpiece yet, it’s about time.

3. The Midnight Meat Train – If the title puts you off, you probably won’t like this gorey examination of the dangers lurking in metropolitan subway systems. But if you’re into Clive Barker (on whose short story the movie is based), you’ll probably like it.

4. Dance of the Dead – Which is scarier, zombies or high schoolers? How about both?

5. House on Haunted Hill (1959 version) – The original House on Haunted Hill is a scary-funny romp that is well worth revisiting. If you’re dubious about a ’50s horror film, I’ve got two words for you: Vincent Price.

Hollywood has gone horror remake mad!

friday the 13th movie_poster

I’m as guilty as anyone of encouraging Hollywood studios by going to see terrible remakes of classic horror movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Last House on the Left, Friday the 13th, and Halloween (which was a little better than the others thanks to Rob Zombie but still pretty much sucked).

But now they’ve just gone too far! Take a look at some of the horror movies that are set to be remade in the near future, according to about.com. (P.S. On an unrelated note, I’m really excited about Jeepers Creepers 3: The Creeper Walks Among Us).

The Birds

Whyyyyy?

The Crazies

I still haven’t seen the original, but I’ve heard it’s good.

Creature from the Black Lagoon

Really?

Hellraiser

I didn’t really care about the original, but I know a lot of people who are probably really pissed about this.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Without the original Freddy, what the hell is the point?

Poltergeist

Now, this is just heresy.

Predators

Maybe this isn’t related to Predator, but I’m already worried.

Silent Night, Deadly Night

Never saw the campy original, but I’ll bet it’s awesome.

Suspiria

I am not okay with this.

The Wolf Man

Ha!

Also of note, movie sequels that should give up already: Scream 4, The Ring 3, Resident Evil: Afterlife, 28 Months Later, Halloween 3D, and (of course) Saw VI.

Orphan and The Uninvited: The Hand That Rocks the Cradle lives on

hand that rocks cradle

When I was little, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle was one of my favorite movies. It had everything…suspense, action, even Gilbert & Sullivan. And apparently I’m not the only one who was influenced by this Rebecca DeMornay classic.

This year saw the release of two horror movies that echo themes from The Hand that Rocks the Cradle in very different ways. First there was The Uninvited

This movie seems to pose the question, what would happen if the evil nanny (or nurse in this case) got away with everything? After a troubled teen gets home from the crazy house where she spent years after a mysterious explosion killed her sickly mother, she finds that her mom’s nursemaid has now become her new mom. Creepiness ensues, and a lot of sneaking around and looking for clues to the stepmother’s past, as shown below.

THE UNINVITED

Then there’s Orphan, which is superficially reminiscent of The Bad Seed and The Good Son, but has a darker streak that is all The Hand that Rocks the Cradle.

Orphan

Esther, the titular orphan who seems to be pure evil from the beginning but somehow manages to fool everyone for a long time, sets about tearing apart the family by turning them against each other, much in the same way Peyton Flanders’ murderous nanny does in Cradle. A lot of the action also seems eerily similar, in both mood and pacing, from the violent scenes to the mother-trying-to-defend-her-family scenes.

Now might be the perfect time for a Cradle remake! Just sayin’.

Finally! A Ramona movie!

Ramona_and_Beezus_Poster

Like practically every other woman in the country under 40, I grew up reading Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books. Well finally, Hollywood has stopped ignoring this mostly-untapped cultural resource. That’s right, a Ramona movie is in the works! It’s called Ramona and Beezus, the Beezus being Ramona’s sister Beatrice. It is set to come out on March 19th, 2010, so we’ve got a while to wait, but in the meantime we can pore over the casting and nitpick!

Now, the girl playing Ramona is some unknown girl named Joey King. No big surprise there. Then we have the extended family, and this is where it gets weird. Since when do people think it’s okay to cast early 20-somethings as parents? In the role of Ramona’s mother, we have Bridget Moynahan (Natasha in Sex and the City), and as her father…what the hell, John Corbett (Aidan in Sex and the City)?! Weird! See, Carrie dated Aidan at the same time Mr. Big was dating Natasha, so it’s weird to see these two interacting. This isn’t the first time these two have confused me by being co-cast…they were also in Serendipity together. Weird.

Anyway, then there’s Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love) and Josh Duhamel (uhh…drawing a blank here…let’s just call him Hunk Actor), cast as Ramona’s Aunt and Uncle. Meh.

And finally, the worst part of all…Selena Gomez in the role of Beezus. This better not be a musical! Seriously, though, in this first chapter of the Ramona saga (originally titled Beezus and Ramona), Ramona is only a side character, and the novel is from Beezus’ point of view. It’s not until the following book, Ramona the Pest, that Ramona becomes the main character proper. So that means this could easily turn into a Disney crapathon that’s all about Selena. Let’s just hope the filmmakers stay true to the novels’ tone and don’t go all Camp Rock on it.

The new horror flick “Orphan” sounds just like “The Good Son”

Orphan

I know I’ve been writing a lot of “___ is a ripoff of ___” articles, but sometimes it’s warranted. Take, for example, the new cheesy-looking horror movie Orphan, which is about a creepy kid going to live with a family and then terrorizing them and others, because they’re evvviiiiillll. Doesn’t this sound like something you’ve seen before? Well, since you’ve already read the title of this post (probably), you know I think it sounds exactly like The Good Son (trailer here).

That fine Macauley Culkin B-movie classic also involved car-related action sequences, the whole “Bad Seed” two-dimensionality of the main character, and a frantic mother whose feelings of protectiveness and maternal instincts towards the adopted child vanish as soon as there’s something wrong with him. It brings up some rather unsettling thoughts, such as, are parents more likely to reject and turn away from a child when they’re not their natural born spawn? AI: Artificial Intelligence tackled some of these same issues, but much more eloquently.

Additionally, I don’t like the fact that this new remake seems to be telling us to beware of adoption. As if orphans don’t have it bad enough, now this movie makes them seem demonic.

I just remember this sad talk show appearance by a family with half adopted and half natural children, and before the adopted kids were even like 5 years old, the parents were already diagnosing them with all these disorders and problems, like “we think John is mildly autistic and Eric has ADD with some hyperactivity,” and blah blah, but oddly they seemed to think their natural-born children were just fine. It was like they were looking for problems with the adoptive kids. Maybe I’m wrong and the kids actually did have problems, but I just didn’t like the parents’ whole attitude of suspicion surrounding kids that didn’t share their DNA.

Well, I’ll probably still watch Orphan when I’m bored one day. But that’s purely because cheesy horror movies are awesome.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a Kurt Vonnegut copycat

Since Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors and The Sirens of Titan is one of my favorite books of his, I have to say something about this new movie The Time Traveler’s Wife. When I saw the TV ad for the film, it said it was based on a book, so I figured it was based on Sirens of Titan, but after doing a bit of research I found out it is based, in fact, on an “original” novel by one Audrey Niffenegger.

The nerve! It’s clearly the same exact plot, although Vonnegut’s version is interesting and well-written literature, and this newfangled book is a cheap sci-fi romance. As this Amazon review so eloquently stated, “Read “The Sirens of Titan” (written much much earlier) by Kurt Vonnegut and you will be amazed at the similarities between the “chrono-synclastic infundibulum” and Niffenegger’s “Chrono Dispalcement” — not only in the concept, but in how it is used.”

Well I won’t be seeing this Vonnegut Light romance poopola. Besides the fact that I don’t approve of the ripoff, Rachel McAdams needs to stop playing roles that aren’t of teenaged mean girls. Everything else she’s made has been more or less terrible. “Mean Girls 2” please?

Movie Review: Night at the Museum 2

I had heard that the first Night at the Museum movie was above average in terms of children’s movies, but it wasn’t until the buzz started for Night at the Museum 2: Something about the Smithsonian that I finally forced myself to check out the first film. And I was pleasantly surprised! So when the sequel came out, I figured it was worth seeing.

Now, I’m not a huge Ben Stiller fan, but one of the good things about this movie was that he was barely in it! I mean, he was still the main character, but he didn’t try to do any schtick and generally acted as a straight man. And when so many wacky things are going on, that’s just what he should be doing. Thank you writers!

In terms of casting, this sequel had more hits than misses. I loved Hank Azaria as the evil Egyptian king or something (he’s the bad guy), and Bill Hader did a surprisingly good job as General Custer, and I didn’t even mind Jonah Hill playing basically the same role he always plays. Christopher Guest played a character, but he didn’t really have any lines. Bummer. And then there’s Amy Adams, who plays the female lead, Amelia Earhart. I like the fact that, as opposed to the near-mute Pocahontas in the first film, this female character takes the lead in saving the day.

Downsides of the film series include a tendency to stick historical facts into the script in awkward ways. And even though I love Ricky Gervais, his character is just kind of annoying. And then there’s that damn monkey. At least in the first film he was genuinely threatening, creating countless obstacles for our hapless hero. But in this one, he barely does anything except get into a slapping fight with Ben Stiller. Oh, and some space monkey also joins in the slapping until you the viewer are slapping yourself for watching this film. But don’t worry, the slapping soon subsides, replaced by lots of other cameos and historical jokes.

Final notes: the art references were funny, the T-Rex is still annoying, and Owen Wilson‘s character is still unnecessary and still seems ripped off from “The Indian in the Cupboard.” But in general, Night at the Museum 2 is not a bad time at the movies.