Sunday, June 24, 2007

How Far Would You Go to Get into Harvard?

How far would you go to get into Harvard grad school?

The plan was simple enough. Knock off the roommate, frame it as suicide, and walk away with straight A's for the semester. Sure, it's not the traditional way of getting into Harvard, but desperation leads to creative thinking.

When Rand mysteriously took a short walk off a large cliff one fateful evening, his roommates Tim and Chris won a free ticket to the ivy league. They never really thought the truth behind Rand's "suicide" would come out, but when the questions keep coming one after the other, the bonds of loyalty and friendship dissolve in the midst of lies and deception. All that is hidden comes to light. The only question is... who do you trust?

Matthew Lillard (Scream), Michael Vartan (The Pallbearer), Randall Batinkoff (School Ties), and Keri Russell (Felicity) star in this plot-twisting mystery guaranteed to keep you guessing.

Title: The Curve (aka Dead Man's Curve)
Release: August 12, 1998
Genre: Thriller
MPAA Rating: R
Writer: Dan Rosen
Director: Dan Rosen
Music By: Shark
Produced By: Michael Amato, Jeremy Lew, & Ted Schipper
Distributed By: Two Left Shoes
Run Time: 92 minutes
Official Site

The Curve (or Dead Man’s Curve) came out around the time a lot of “teen films” like Jawbreaker, Scream, and Cruel Intentions did, but unlike those, this one went directly to home video. I can sort of see why it did though. Who wants to watch a movie based on an urban legend about college kids killing their roommates (while making it look like a suicide) to get a 4.0? Other college kids of course (or Matthew Lillard fans)!

The Curve has never been one of my favorites but I own it and it's still worth seeing at least once every couple of years. I remember watching it for the first time as soon as I learned it was a Lillard movie because I am such a fool for him (how could you not love him?! He’s totally psychotic!). Although the movie isn’t very original and it does sag in parts, it will evoke a response from you but it really depends on the viewer of what kind of response it will be.

Find The Curve Online
Official Site


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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Some Houses Are Born Bad

In this edge-of-your seat supernatural thriller featuring Hollywood's hottest stars, a study in fear escalates into a heart-stopping nightmare for a professor and three subjects trapped in a mysterious mansion.

For over a century, the dark and forbidding Hill House has sat alone and abandoned... or so it seemed. Intrigued by the mansion's storied past, Dr. Marrow (Liam Neeson) lures his three subjects - Theo (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Nell (Lili Taylor) and Luke (Owen Wilson) - to the site for a seemingly harmless experiment. But, from the moment of their arrival, Nell seems mysteriously drawn to the house...and the attraction is frighteningly mutual. When night descends, the study goes horrifyingly awry as the subjects discover the haunting secrets that live within the walls of Hill House.

Don't miss the state-of-the-art special effects as Hill House unleashes its supernatural wrath in this latest thriller from the director of Speed! and Twister.

Title: The Haunting
Release: July 23, 1999
Genre: Horror/ Thriller
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Based On: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Writer: David Self
Director: Jan de Bont
Music By: Jerry Goldsmith
Produced By: Susan Arnold, Donna Roth, Colin Wilson
Distributed By: DreamWorks
Run Time: 113 minutes

Since I watched and reviewed the first Haunting I decided to do the same with the remake. Actually “remake” is too harsh of a word. The 1999 version of The Haunting is more of retelling of a story. You know how when one person tells a story to another person and it keeps getting passed around? Usually the story makes its way back to the original start and by then it’s only vaguely recognizable. That’s what happened in this movie. When I watch a “remake” (or if I’ve seen the remake before the original) I try to come to it like I would a whole new different movie. Sure some things will be the same but more times than not, a lot of things won’t be. Pretty much, the only things that are carried over from the first movie are the names of all the characters and some of the back story.

I did like the characters more in this version, but my favorite is still Theo (she’s played by Catherine Zeta-Jones this time). The house is a lot cooler than the other one, and not just because it’s bigger either! There are book walkways, carousel rooms (complete with moving floors), and castle-worthy bedrooms. Also when the “scary stuff” starts to happen, instead of a door stretching and swelling we get a whole room that becomes an evil face… and that’s just the beginning!

Overall, I think I liked this movie better than the original because it gave you more of a story (although a slightly messy one) and the visual effects were pretty good for a movie made in ‘99. I still could have done without the moving statues though.

Find The Haunting Online


Related Reviews
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Haunting (1963)
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Friday, June 22, 2007

There is Something Going on in Hill House

"An evil old house, the kind some people call haunted is like an undiscovered country waitin to be explored. Hill House had stood for 90 years and might stand for 90 more. Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House and whatever walked there, walked alone." Thus begins one of the most chilling, most frightening, truly unforgettable horror films ever to be put on celluloid.

The classic forerunner of such films as Poltergeist and The Shining, The Haunting is a hair-raising screen rendition of Shirley Jackson's riveting gothic novel The Haunting of Hill House. Its premise is simple: Dr. Markway, a trained anthropologist with a special interest in psychic research, wants to try what he hopes will be a true excercise in terror. He's heard about the reputation of Hill House which claimed the lives of several of its young inhabitants and invites two carefully chosen assistants to join him. The one thing they have in common is experiences with the supernatural. Mrs. Sannerson, who has inherited Hill House, insists that her young nephew Luke (Tamblyn) go along with the group so that nothing improper can go on between the unmarried women and the handsome Dr. Markway. The young nephew is a skeptic until he enters the eerie world of Hill House. Like him, you may not believe in ghosts, but you cannot deny the terror of The Haunting!

Title: The Haunting
Release: September 18, 1963
Genre: Horror/ Thriller
MPAA Rating: G
Based On: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Writer: Nelson Gidding
Director: Robert Wise
Music By: Humphrey Searle
Produced By: Dennis Johnson & Robert Wise
Distributed By: MGM
Run Time: 112 minutes

I was flipping through the channels the other night and I saw that The Haunting (1963) was on. I had never seen this version (the original?) before but I had seen the
1999 remake when it first came out, although I can only vaguely remember it now! The story is actually pretty interesting and makes you want to go pick up the book that it’s based on (for those that don’t already know it’s called The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson). It really wasn’t that scary, but it’s not dated at all. Probably because the only special effect was a door that stretched itself (it was actually just a rubber door that some stagehands pushed against). I loved how every death or ghost activity thing happened slightly off-camera though because it gives a more psychological edge to it.

I did enjoy the actors’ performances (especially Claire Bloom as Theo) but the most memorable character is the house itself. Of course that’s usually true of movies about haunted houses. This is why almost every haunted house movie I’ve ever seen reminds me of the other… which leads me to getting all of the movies confused! Overall I enjoyed The Haunting and because I didn’t expect much from it going in, I was even more pleasantly surprised!

~Since I watched this on TV I can’t really tell you whether or not the DVD is worth buying but the version I saw was cleaned up very well and it was in widescreen. I have heard that the commentary on the DVD is supposed to be really good though!

Find The Haunting Online

Fan Site of the movie.

Here is the original trailer:

Related Reviews
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Claire Bloom- Theo
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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I Love The Land Before Time! Yep, Yep, Yep!

Join Littlefoot, Cera, Spike, Ducky and Petrie on a magical journey that begins long ago when dinosaurs roamed the land threatened by earthquakes and volcanoes.

Suddenly all alone in a turbulent world, a young brontosaurus named Littlefoot sets off in search of the legendary Great Valley, a land of lush vegetation where dinosaurs can thrive and live in peace. Along the way, he meets four other young dinosaurs, each one a different species. During their amazing journey they encounter incredible adventures, overwhelming obstables and unforgettable lessons about life and sticking together.

Presented by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, and directed by Don Bluth, this enchanting animated tale of hope, survival and love is sure to charm the entire family.

Title: The Land Before Time
Release: November 18, 1988
Genre: Animated- Family
MPAA Rating: G
Writer: Stu Kreiger (screenplay), Judy Freudberg, & Tony Geiss
Director: Don Bluth
Music By: James Horner
Produced By: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, & Jogn Pomeroy
Distributed By: Universal Studios & Amblin Entertainment
Run Time: 69 minutes

The Land Before Time has sparked countless animated direct-to-DVD “sequels”, books, toys (remember the hand puppets?), and it’s now even a regular cartoon show on TV. But no one in their right mind would ever confuse the original with the newer DVD or cartoon series. I mean, they’re really cute in a cotton candy kind of way but they just can’t live up to the original film. Almost all of Don Bluth’s films have darker undertones than regular animated movies and you can tell just by looking at the animation that Bluth didn’t have anything to do with the spin-offs. Actually Don Bluth hasn’t had anything to do with animation in a long time but I digress.

I loved The Land Before Time when I was little, in fact, it was the very first movie I ever owned! I was thinking about it the other day and I realized, I hadn’t seen the movie in about 5 or 10 years so I sat down to watch it and I found it just as exciting and sad as I remembered it. I just wish Steven Spielberg or whoever would get off their lazy rear and make a 2-disc special edition of the movie like Disney’s been doing lately!

Find The Land Before Time Online
Don Bluth Homepage
The Land Before Time MySpace Group
Song Lyrics
Memorial Page for Judith Barsi (Voice of Ducky)


Commercial for Puppets (You may have to turn up the volumn!)

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Thumbelina (1994)
Will Ryan- Petrie
An American Tail (1986)- Digit
Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)- Collector for the Poor #2 / The Ghost of Christmas Present (Willie the Giant) / Ghost of Christmas Future (Pete)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

They Were Two Times the Fun!

Title: The Wuzzles
Release: September 14, 1985- December 7, 1985
Genre: Animated- Family Cartoon
MPAA Rating: TV-Y
Writer: Marl Evanier
Director: Fred Wolf
Music By: Thomas Chase & Steve Rucker
Produced By: Tom Ruzicka & Fred Wolf
Distributed By: Walt Disney Television Animation & ABC
Run Time: 30 minutes per episode

Does anyone remember The Wuzzles? It was a highly marketed Disney cartoon show in the 80’s about a bunch of animals living in the land of Wuz. What was so special about these animals was that “every single thing is really two in one”. For example: a monkey + a rhino = Rhinokey. Here is a list of all the characters:

Despite all the toys, clothes, stuffed animals, books, and even radios made to make this wonderful show even more appealing, only 13 episodes were ever made. Mainly because Bill Scott died (he was the voice of several main characters), and partly because it wasn't making that big of a hit in the United States so Disney pulled the plug.

I only vaguely remember the show and that's mainly because I had the Butterbear and Bumblelion stuffed animals when I was little. But nowadays with all the nostalgia sites cropping up more and more people have become aware of this little gem.

Find the Wuzzles Online

Last night I stumbled onto a couple videos and I was in Wuzzle-heaven for a little while. I got to watch the first cartoon: Bulls of a Feather and a commercial for the stuffed animals.

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