The Best of Summer 2013

It’s Labor Day weekend and summer is coming to a close. Can you believe it?! I’m still coming to terms with it and while I’m absolutely excited for fall, I don’t love the season that follows it.  As I write this, I’m reading Facebook posts excitedly discussing the return of Pumpkin Spice latte’s and the desire to feel the cool air of autumn. I myself am even getting excited for fall shopping (how adorable is this coat?!).  With that said, I thought I’d give you a top 5 of just some of my favorite pop culture moments of this past summer, starting with the lady herself, Miss Lady Gaga!

5. Lady Gaga triumphantly returns with APPLAUSE! As you know, I am a HUGE Gaga fan and was so excited when I first heard this song. I can’t wait to hear ARTPOP (which you know I’ll be reviewing on here!)

4. The World’s End.  Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (you too Martin Freeman!) did it again with their third and final film in the Cornetto Trilogy (the other two films being the “zomedy”, Shaun of the Dead, and the hilarious play on buddy cop films, Hot Fuzz). This film is about a group of guys led by Simon Pegg’s Gary King, on their quest to finish a pub crawl they had previously attempted many years ago through their hometown of Newton Haven. Of course, trouble ensues, trouble of the sci-fi kind! With little nods to their previous films in the trilogy and a wonderful performance by Martin Freeman, it was a highlight of the summer!

3.  This moment on True Blood. Sure, the entire 6th season was all over the place and the show in its current state is completely different from the show I once loved, but this one image made it all so worth it. Am I right people?

This should be a moment on every single episode.

Eric Northman in all his glory

2.  MDNA Tour! I didn’t get to see Queen Madonna in all her live MDNA glory, BUT, I did get to watch the concert special several times on Epix! As usual, Her Madgesty delivered! Here was one of my favorites – Open Your Heart.

1. Orange is the New Black. If you know me, you know that I am very selective about the tv shows that I choose to watch but I have to say, this one is truly UH-MAZING!! It tells the story of waspy New Yorker Piper Chapman and her struggle to survive in a low-security women’s prison and still find a balance with her life on the outside. Only available to watch on Netflix, if you haven’t seen this yet, watch it now! Haha.

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There were so many incredible moments this summer spent with family and friends but these are just some of my favorite things from the season. And in case you’re wondering, the VMA’s  (aka the Justin Timberlake and Miley “I can’t twerk” Cyrus show) were a total mess and hence, weren’t included on the list! 😛

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Movies to Watch: The Cabin In The Woods

Joss Whedon obviously hit it prettttty big this year with a small, little movie called THE AVENGERS, but he also directed another great film that didn’t seem to get the recognition it so truly deserved. If you couldn’t already guess from the above trailer, I’m talking about The Cabin In The Woods. While I guess you could put it into the horror genre, it’s just part horror film. The other parts I would say are comedy, drama and thriller. If you’ve seen Drag Me To Hell, it’s very similar only in the sense that it combines slapstick humor with elements of scary films. Drag Me To Hell actually did frighten me while Cabin In The Woods left me with a creepy feeling but got me thinking on a deeper level about society.

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away but like most scary movies, it starts off with a bunch of good looking college students, including one incredibly hysterical stoner played by Fran Kranz to perfection (he is this movie’s heart and soul). They all fit the stereotypical roles you see in scary movies – the brains, the beauty, the good girl, the nerdy yet cute guy, etc. They are embarking on a weekend trip to Chris Hemsworth’s character’s family-owned cabin when of course trouble ensues… in the form of undead, crazy zombies unknowingly brought back from the grave. But, there’s a twist! A twist I won’t give away but one that truly sets this film apart from other scary movies.

The reason I say it’s only partially scary is because it’s not really a horror film. To me the film is more of a study on human instinct and survival. And…well okay, I’ll post the spoiler below:

SPOILER ALERT! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED…

The twist is that the entire cabin and the undead zombies have been set up by a lab which houses gods below the Earth. In order to satisfy these beings, there must be human sacrifices. So the lab creates the perfect situations to ensure these characters are killed. Without the sacrifices, the beings will rise up and destroy the world. But one of the characters discovers the setup and is determined to live. But the interesting point is, is it fair for these people to live but let the whole world collapse? Or is it fair that these innocent human beings have to die to save the world? It’s the kind of movie that really makes you question who is wrong and who is right. Plus, Sigourney Weaver is in it so that’s pure win.

All in all, this is a movie I highly recommend so as soon as it comes out on DVD.. see it!

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Warning: There Will Be Spoilers!

So I just saw The Dark Knight Rises and thoroughly enjoyed it! I thought it was a really great way to cap the trilogy and left me feeling very satisfied. I know there have been many complaints by some about the length of the film or the clunkiness of the storyline, but to me, it all worked. I was able to suspend my disbelief and just sit back and enjoy the ride. Now, that’s not to say there were some things that I didn’t think made much sense, because there were, but as someone who has seen both of Nolan’s previous Batman films, I thought this film was the ending of Batman/Bruce Wayne’s story that should please most fans.

The film picks up 8 years after TDK, with Bruce Wayne as a recluse, not quite fully recovered from injuries he’s sustained over the years. Batman has completely retired and Gotham has been quiet. All of that changes with this film’s villain, Bane, whose mission is to destroy Gotham by bringing anarchy to the city. I thought Tom Hardy did an excellent job with what he was given and played Bane very well. Bane is not my favorite Batman villain and to me, does not really warrant the role of being the big villain in a Batman film, but it ended up working. While some might have been distracted by the dubbing and his choice of accent/voice, I wasn’t too distracted by it and thought the voice made the character even scarier. Bane is NO Joker though and I was feeling strong overtones of the Joker all throughout the film, thinking a lot of Bane’s sequences were almost meant for the Joker. But it is unfair to pit Hardy’s performance as Bane against Ledger’s as the Joker since they are two completely different villains and in two very different films. Overall as a villain, Bane is not a standout to me by any means (SPOILER: I found his death scene to be very underwhelming), but he worked in this film and the character did what he was supposed to do: be big, scary and a threat to Gotham’s safety.

We also met Catwoman/Selina Kyle in this movie and I thought Anne Hathaway was spot-on. Did she overact? Absolutely. But it was never to the point of distracting and I thought it worked in this type of film. Catwoman for me, brought some much needed fun to this VERY dark movie and I thought Nolan perfectly captured Catwoman’s sense of being in it for herself and playing both sides, even if she did lean more heavily to Batman’s side. Did she and Batman have chemistry? Eh, not so much, but then again, I’ve never felt like he has had great chemistry with any of his female leads. I didn’t really buy them ending up together in the end but the final act so powerful that it overshadowed my doubts.

As far as the remaining characters, some have said they didn’t understand how Alfred could leave Bruce, but I understood it. He had to leave him because he loved him too much to watch him destroy himself and by doing that, Bruce truly felt alone for the first time. I think he needed to feel alone to become human again and wake up to the world he had been shutting himself out of. Michael Caine as always played Alfred incredibly well and gave much heart to the film. Commissioner Gordon, even though he spent most of the film in the hospital, was incredible as well! Gary Oldman has always played the part with such intensity. I loved the surprise introduction of Robin. I was shocked to find out that’s who Joseph Gordon Levitt was and am glad, since it made it a really fun reveal for me.

The only things I had some criticisms of were the waste of Marion Cotillard’s brilliant acting (that death scene anyone? COME ON), some plot holes (how did Batman make it back to Gotham so fast from the prison?? Also, why would you send ALL of the city’s police force underground?) and the length was a bit over-indulgent. It’s not TDR but it was for me, a perfect ending to the series. If you read all that, thank you! Now go see it!