MMT Quick Review of ‘HAPPY DEATH DAY’ by contributor Samantha Hollins

The title Happy Death Day had me intrigued the moment my eyes peeked its existence on social media. After viewing the trailer with 50 Cent’s song “In Da Club” as the under score, I wasn’t sure if this film would scare the crap out of me or make me want to meet up with the girls for a chick-flick night out on the town. I started to wonder, “Why am I bobbing my head when I should be feeling goosebumps?” And then – yes – it happened! I started feeling the stain of intensity smeared on the final moments of the teaser. That made me more curious of what was to come. Okay, I was ready to go see this celebration of the Grim Reaper’s calling.

Deja vu…what, where and who is the mystery of this romantic-comedy-blood commemoration. Waking up to a self-centered day, that keeps going around and around and gets tangled up amidst her birthday, is college student Tree (Jessica Rothe).

The essence of the characters almost reminded me of the brat-pack films in the 80’s with a terrorizing turn of events. The unraveling of self-evaluation stabs the heart of this story with tender, yet quirky, hell-raising moments. The stereotypical flare through the iris of Tree’s privileged way of life is put to the test as she relives her flaws. It’s a non-stop deadly haze until her state of mind can truly wake up.

Emmy award-winning composer Bear McCreary (best known for his work on Battlestar Galactica, Outlander and The Walking Dead) created many layers of sound to accompany each shifting scene of emotion. I could feel the dark side of the score skulking under my skin before I could hear its eerie whisper whenever the villain ensued his prey.

If you need a little humor to take the edge off the scare factor, then this film will tickle your mind to ease as you prepare for the slasher extravaganza. Cheesy thrills turn into clever chills, reminiscent of a mixture of Harold Ramis’ classic film “Ground Hog Day” (starring Bill Murray) bleeding into the cult favorite horror film franchise “Scream” (directed by Wes Craven). These two genres crawling together will keep you wondering what mood will strike you next.

Blumhouse Productions has been releasing a vast array of thought-provoking horror films this year (including the block buster “Get Out“), fulfilling every scary movie lover’s taste. “Happy Death Day” (directed by Christopher Beau Landon) is the gift this fall that is now playing at a theater near you.

Samantha Hollins, aka Ghetto SongBird, is a multi-talented singer/songwriter, guitarist, poet/writer, photographer and all around creative soul, who passionately enjoys sharing her positive artistic energy and harmonic vibes. You can follow her, and get additional information about her next tour date, on her Facebook page here; and check out her reviews of Annabelle: CreationThe Beguiled, and The Girl With All The Gifts right here on MMT!

 

MMT October 2016 Netflix Picks

Hey MMT Fam! So the picks from this month are all dedicated to those in the family that enjoy a good old scare or thrill around this time of year! I don’t celebrate Halloween, but I can appreciate a good thrill ride or a scare or two, and several of the films I’ve enjoyed in the past have made their way to Netflix.

The first pick isn’t scary, but it’s a good one for ages 13 and up – THE ADDAMS FAMILY. A reboot of the classic family TV comedy, the film stars the late Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston – who were spot on as Gomez and Morticia Addams – and rounds out the cast with Christopher Lloyd (Uncle Fester), Christina Ricci who was a fabulous fright as Wednesday, and Jimmy Worksman as Pugsley.

The next pick is a nod to Marvel/DC contributor Darryl King, and the sequel for one of MY favorite Marvel characters, BLADE II. Also infused with humor, this is R-rated action with gore and definitely not for little ones. Highlighting Wesley Snipes and his real life martial arts inspired moves, the film finds the titular character battling super vampires and helping those (vampires) being targeted. Mind you, Blade hates both – notwithstanding he is part vampire…oh, just watch it! Highly entertaining, and you’ll get to see a very funny Ron Perlman as the vampire Reinhardt.

So I know that Lifetime did a remake for this next pick – FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC – but I still enjoy the 1987 version based on the V. C. Andrews novel. Forbidden family secrets, child neglect and murder are entangled in this psychological horror thriller – that was actually supposed to be directed by Wes Craven, who’d created a draft screenplay, but it ended up in the hands of Jeffrey Bloom. It’s campy and creepy, and a good choice for those who don’t enjoy as much gore as a “Blade.”

And speaking of the late Wes Craven, you can’t mention the horror genre without including at least one of his films! So, I’m first recommending the documentary NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY which chronicles the creation of his classic “A Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise. And thrown in for good measure is WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE where the infamous Freddy character begins to stalk real life actors from the franchise, including Heather Lagenkamp who famously played lead character Nancy in the first film. I mean, at first he haunts dreams, and then he comes to life…you can’t win! I’ll dedicate that last one to horror contributor Samantha, we all know she likes it scary!

Trivia question: which famous actor, with a knack for playing the macabre, made his début in the first Elm Street movie? Leave your answer in the comments, and share a favorite scary movie or two for others to check out!

And, for the MMT Fam without Netflix, there are a slew of scary movies/thrillers over on the free apps Crackle and Tubi TV! I’ve downloaded both, and recently watched one of my faves THE DEAD ZONE starring Christopher Walken on Tubi. And Crackle has a few faves that I’d recommend, including “The Craft,” “The Skeleton Key,” and “Tales From the Hood!” You can use both apps on mobile, tablet and desktop.

PS – is it me or is Donald Trump doing a Martin Sheen from “The Dead Zone” impersonation? 😉

Alright that’s it for me fam. Let me know if check out any of the listed choices! Until next thought, Thomasena

 

MMT Recommends: THE 25TH PHILADELPHIA FILM FESTIVAL (October 20-30th)

PFF25

Hey MMT Fam! We’re only eight days away from the start of the 25th Philadelphia Film Festival – and this year it is starting things off in grand fashion! The 11-day event will kick-off with an Opening Night Celebration where Academy Award nominated writer and director M. Night Shyamalan will be presented with the festival’s first ever Lumiere Award. The festivities will start AKA Washington Square, followed by a screening of the opening night film and after party at the Prince Theater (tickets for this event are separate from individual film tickets/festival badges and can be purchased here).

The festival opens on October 20th with the Philadelphia première of Damien Chazelle’s La La Land and closes on October 30th with the highly anticipated sci-fi/drama Arrival starring Amy Adams. In between, the festival is scheduled to showcase over 110 feature-length and short films – all curated by the Philadelphia Film Society’s programming committee, who chooses each selection from multiple international festivals throughout the year. You can take a look at the full festival line-up and get additional info at the official website here.

And in keeping with tradition of years past, PFF25 will offer PFF ON US, a free ticketing program made possible through PNC Arts Alive with support from the Wyncote Foundation. PFF ON US unites a diverse group of individuals involved in non-profit organizations, arts and cultural groups, and universities along with the hundreds from Philadelphia’s general public to share in the excitement and challenge of powerful new cinema. Look for the FREE ticket icon in the program guide for designated titles. Individuals from the general public can reserve tickets online at Filmadelphia.org, order through the Festival Call Center at 215-422-4570, or reserve in person. Limit 2 tickets per film for each individual reservation. See pg. 21 in the program guide for more info. Free ticket packages of 10 tickets or more – per film – for community groups, arts, cultural, and social service organizations, college and universities, and more can be reserved by contacting PFSOnUs@filmadelphia.org.

Some of you may have seen me at last year’s festival – shout out to subscriber, and PFS member, Carrie O’Berry who always stops to chat at events! I really enjoyed the camaraderie, as well as last year’s closing night film, Where to Invade Next, and red-carpet interview with Michael Moore, and getting to participate in the Wes Craven tribute/film marathon with a guest appearance by actor Jamie Kennedy of Scream fame.

The festival always has something for everyone, and it’s a really good opportunity to see movies prior to them hitting theaters – as well as those obscure films that will not have the luxury of getting selected for distribution and/or wide-screen release.

Sure hope to see some of you at PFF25 family! And make sure to “pull a Carrie,” and say hello if you spot me at any of the festivities!

Until next thought, Thomasena

 

 

 

 

 

Get your tickets now for the 24th Philadelphia Film Festival (October 22 – November 1)

24th Philadelphia Film Festival

Happy Tuesday MMT Fam! I hope to see some of you over the next week & a half at this year’s Philadelphia Film Festival, which runs from October 22 – November 1, 2015 presenting over 130 films, from 28 countries, for 11 days at four city-wide venues. The festival will feature short, narrative, and documentaries representing the best of the local, national and international cinema circuit.

2015 also marks the 4th year that the Film Festival will offer PFF ON US, a free ticketing program made possible through support from the Wyncote Foundation. PFF ON US allows the Film Society to realize its mission and create accessible opportunities to engage the community and increase education and understanding. Look for the FREE ticket icon in the program guide for designated titles. Individuals from the general public can reserve tickets online, over the phone, or at the PFF Box Office.

I’ve already marked off several films I’m interested in viewing – including the documentaries “Mavis,” about legendary songstress Mavis Staples, and “As I Am: The Life & Times of DJ AM.” I’ll also be in the house next Saturday for part of the Wes Craven “Halloween Nightmare” tribute  (presented with The Awesome Fest) – which will have a guest appearance by actor Jamie Kennedy during the “Scream” showing! I would really like to re-watch “Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors” on Saturday night, but it’s conflicting with the screening of “Legend” that I don’t want to miss! Check the synopsis of latter, and other titles, by clicking here and you’ll understand why I feel it’s a must see!

If you come out and see me wandering, feel free to stop me and introduce yourself!

Until next thought, Thomasena

PS – check the below clip (via MovieClips.com) featuring one of my fave Jamie Kennedy moments from the Scream films!