The Top 5 Underrated Films Within the Last 10 Years and Color Block Yourself-ie: Cheat Your Own Self Portrait Article

Hello!  So here are bits and pieces of something I wrote for an assignment involving pitching ideas for an online magazine.  I had a lot of fun writing these and I thought it was relevant to my blog because of the list of underrated movies.  I hope people agree with and appreciate my recommendations!  The DIY article is a bonus for the blog!!

 

Author: Bianca Piazza

me

Pitch:

For Movie Friday

The Top 5 Underrated Films Within the Last 10 Years: The Sleepers that Deserve More Attention in the World of Cinema

Hard Candy (2005): Ellen Page plays a relentless teenage girl who meets an older man online in this thriller with an interesting twist

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011): A thrilling dive into the psychological debate about nature versus nurture

Megan is Missing (2011): A realistic found footage horror/drama that will make you aware of whom you talk to online, and reconsider the true definition of a stranger

Wetlands (2013): This German “dramedy”, based on the novel with the same name, delivers a heavy dose of graphic humor as well as intense emotion and fantastical imagery

It Follows (2015): The indie horror of the year brings a new and exciting idea, reminiscent of The Ring (2002), to the horror genre that will shake you to the core

Pitch and Article:

For DIY Thursday and Art and Design

Color Block Yourself-ie: Cheat Your Own Self Portrait

While discussing the style of color blocking and the selfie trend with a friend, we came up with the new DIY idea of an easier way to create an artistic self-portrait, for both the artsy enthusiasts and the not-so Picassos.

The idea is to take a photo of yourself and print it out, the photo being the “blank” canvas for you to go crazy and paint/draw over using any medium of your choice. The photo provides guidelines for you to either follow for a more realistic portrait, or to break for a more Cubic take on the idea. I have painted a self-portrait before, and the medium I used was makeup. Makeup may not have strong pigmentation to paint over a photo, but makeup mixed with a medium of higher pigmentation, such as acrylic paint, will deliver a beautiful array of texture and depth! Although the idea sparked from color blocking, there are no rules; blended watercolors, soft pastel tones, or the elegance of realism can be applied to this fun and glamorous project. Materials such as makeup, nail polish, acrylic/oil/watercolor paint, crayons, pastels, colored pencils, you name it, can be applied to your creation. I decided to do this fun DIY activity myself. Here are my results.

Before:

Bianca selfie

 

Here’s my selfie, also known as my blank canvas!

Work in Progress:

wip selfie

The Final Product:

final selfie

I slightly enhanced the photo of the final artwork with a filter to enhance the bright colors the camera and lighting were not capturing.

For my color-blocked selfie portrait, I used acrylic paint and watercolors, which made up a large majority of the piece, but I also used a tiny bit of pen and eye shadow. Here at Redesign Revolution, we want to see what you create, so go on Instagram and hashtag your work using #colorblockyourselfie and #redesignrevolution!!!

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Clown (2014) Film Review: 3/5 Stars

clown

Where did I first hear about Clown?  

Okay, so it was a while ago, but I believe I started hearing buzz about Clown on bloody-disgusting.com.  For people who are disturbed by a website with that name and have no clue what I am talking about, it is a horror website that often posts news about upcoming horror movies, video games, comics, etc.  The buzz stopped for a while, considering there was not yet a full movie, but recently bloody-disgusting started posting clips from the movie and it sparked my interest for the second time.

Review:

Clown is a horror movie from 2014 directed by Jon Watts, and produced by none other than the modern king of horror, Eli Roth.  Aside from producing the film, Roth also stars as Frowny the Clown.  At first I was very confused as to who was responsible for the film considering I heard a few opposing things about it; so I decided to do a bit of online research.  The original trailer that was released in 2010 by Jon Watts and Christopher D. Ford was fake and was advertised as being from “master of horror Eli Roth.”  Funny thing though: Eli Roth had nothing to do with the original (fake) movie trailer.  Watts and Ford put his name on the trailer to get as much attention as possible, and it worked.  Eli Roth wound up seeing the trailer and loving the project, so he was on board with the movie.  The poster I posted above is from Italy and it is a more tame version of the original banned movie poster.  It was banned for being a bit too grotesque.  The original one was simply the entire photo of the clown rather than only a portion of it formed into letters like the one above.  I decided not to post the original poster because I do not want want to disturb any squeamish babies people.

The movie starts with Kent (Andy Powers) and a secretly pregnant wife, Meg (Laura Allen) talking to each other on the phone, flustered about finding a last minute clown for their son Jack’s (Christian Distefano) seventh birthday party after the one they originally booked did not wind up showing up.  Kent is a realtor who magically, and quite conveniently, found a clown suit and wig kept in a pretty suspicious looking chest (if I do say so myself) in the attic of a house he was trying to sell.  The chest was chained to the wall, so if you had no idea what you were getting yourself into, that was the first sign that something is going to go wrong with wearing the clown costume.  Kent shows up to his kid’s birthday party just in time to act as, who he calls, Dummo the Clown.  The party goes great, Jack is a happy little birthday boy, Meg and Kent are relieved after the minor clown crisis, but then, surprise surprise, Kent can’t get the clown suit off.  I’m just going to pause right here to talk about how although this movie is totally fun, it is not all that original whatsoever, and it is pretty predictable.  You do have to take into consideration, that coming up with a new and clever horror storyline is pretty tough, because not only is our society desensitized to a lot of gore and graphic images, but also, it has all kind of been done before.  Just think about how many zombie movies, vampire movies, supernatural/ghost movies, exorcism/satanic movies (oh goodness please make them stop), found footage films (ugh (even though I still go see them)), and even clown movies, there are out there.  And how often do we walk out of the theater (if it even makes it to the theater), saying “That was totally awesome, super scary, and most of all, completely original!!”?  I’ll answer this question for you: painfully not often.  There are a small amount of good horror films in this world that make us squirm and are well thought out with a solid plot, so when a genuinely decent one comes out, the filmmakers milk it as much they can with sequels; Paranmormal Activity and Insidious, I’m talking about you.  Or filmmakers resort to movies that just exist to shock; The Human Centipede, I’m talking about you.  Not all can shake the public like The Exorcist and The Blair Witch Project.  My point is, this film is not exactly revolutionary or unique, but it is enjoyable to watch in the most predictable of ways.

clown movie birthday party

When Kent first realizes he cannot get the costume off, for some reason he decides that this is not a real problem, and goes to work anyway.  He goes to one of the houses he is trying to sell, and there are people working on renovations at the house as well…who happen to have power tools.  He starts becoming frustrated at work with the fact that the costume is stuck on him, so he tries to do the least reasonable thing possible: he tries to cut off the clown suit with power tools.  He winds up accidentally slicing open his wrist and the material of the costume is so strong that it broke a power saw.  Later, Meg questions why Kent still has his costume on and why on earth he wore it to work.  When Kent pleas for help to his wife, the quick solution involves ripping off his clown nose with dental instruments from her job, which obviously turns out to be a bloody mess.  It becomes more than clear to the audience and to the characters that this demon clown suit is not coming off any time soon…or at all.

As time goes on, Kent realizes that there is something really wrong with why he cannot get the costume off, and it’s not that he gained a ton of weight in a mere day or something.  He conveniently winds up finding the original owner of the costume who tells him that the costume is actually the skin of an ancient European demon who eats children, of course.  The only ways to rid the demon are to either feed it five children for the five months of winter, or to behead it.  Karlsson (Peter Stormare), the original owner, had the same awful experience that Kent is having, so he will do virtually anything to end the curse.  As Kent becomes hungrier and hungrier for the delicious flesh of children, the film becomes creepier and creepier, showing the mental and physical destruction of him.

clown Eli roth

The incorporation of the birthday party at the Chuck E. Cheese’s-esque place was a setting that was not only perfect for a potential child buffet, but gave the film an unsettling and frightening vibe.  I enjoy how this setting transformed something completely un-scary into something nightmares are made of.   Without giving too much away, I will never look at the McDonald’s play tunnels the same way again.  Some of Kent’s, or should I say Frowny the Clown’s, child luring tactics (also used on his own son) are reminiscent of The Exorcist and Evil Dead.  Playful and persuasive voices enunciated from demons is something I have seen (or heard) before in horror films, which I enjoy every time.  Although it also has other typical horror movie maneuvers, the film comes together quite nicely, never boring the audience.  One of my frequent complaints about horror films, including this one, is the lack of character development.  It’s not that I did not like the characters, but I also didn’t not like the characters, which is almost worse because that shows that none of their personalities really left a true impact on the movie’s storyline.  Clown‘s ending is not much of a surprise, making it less satisfying once the credits start rolling.  Overall Clown is a fun movie if you don’t expect a groundbreaking plot that will make you think for days; however, it might make you shudder for days.

Is Clown worth a watch?

If you’re interested in the horror genre as a whole, and appreciate the work of Eli Roth, this movie may be for you!!  This movie may not be for you if you suffer from Coulrophobia though.

You can watch the trailer here:


Honeymoon (2014) Film Review: 3/5 Stars

honeymoon landscape

Where did I first hear about Honeymoon

I originally saw an article about Honeymoon, and its trailer, on moviepilot.com.  The trailer intrigued me without giving too much away about the story.  It has an eerie vibe that made me very curious and excited to see this movie.  Moviepilot often has articles about films that are coming soon, so I knew I would be unable to see it for a while.  Recently, Netflix added Honeymoon to its Horror genre in the watch instantly section.

Review:

Honeymoon is an intelligent horror/thriller/science fiction film directed by Leigh Janiak.  My thoughts following viewing the trailer included that this film has the potential to be a fantastic creep fest, but it also has potential to lack a real climax and have not much actually happen.  To my pleasant surprise, Honeymoon takes the idea of a gradual electrifying buildup, and executes it in a superb manner.

Bea, played by Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones), and Paul, played by Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful), are happy newlyweds.  The movie begins with them talking to a camera for their wedding video about their first date involving an unfortunate Indian food incident, and how a poorly planned camping trip became a charming indoor fort-tent adventure that led to a proposal.  I appreciate the fact that as the movie progresses, the audience is invited into Bea’s and Paul’s relationship.  They have this overwhelming chemistry that is believable and realistic.  They’re quirky, sweet, and have pet names for each other like “honey bee” and “Pauly poo.”  They have this serious passion and light sense of humor that can make any viewer fall in love with them in the way that you wish to tell yourself that you want to vomit from their mushy and annoying romance, but you know they’re just too cute.  Horror movies often lack in the character development department, but Honeymoon nails it in this category.  It is especially necessary and impressive because they are the only main characters, aside from two supporting characters who later appear only to enhance the plot.  Horror films are repeat offenders in giving characters cheap, stereotypical personas and make little effort to make them relatable.  It is a good sign that the movie starts with strong characters in order to further appreciate and savor the story.

Bea and Paul decide to spend their honeymoon at Bea’s family cottage with 90’s decor in the middle of the woods.  As kitsch and alluring as this little vacation sounds, we know something is going to go wrong.  Although I was captivated by the idea, I still thought, “Oh great, another mediocre cabin in the middle of the woods flick.”  Even though that sub genre has been done time and time again with movies like The Last House on the LeftEvil DeadThe Strangers, and Cabin in the Woods, when they’re good, they’re good.  There is something chilling about a remote cabin in the middle of nowhere that is a repetitive setting for an abduction or slasher intruder storyline.  After Bea gives Paul a tour of the cottage, they get situated, and bask in their newlywed romance, they decide to go to sleep.  As the audience watches the couple in their dreamy slumber, a strange, bright ray of light comes through the window accompanied by a low and dense sound.

Honeymoon still

The following day, everything seems to be peachy as Bea awakens Paul by goofily poking his nipple with a mallard duck decoy.  They make pancakes and go fishing together just relishing in each others company.  Later they decide to go for a stroll when they come across a shabby restaurant.  In the restaurant, Bea and Paul have a bizarre and startling encounter with and old friend of Bea’s, named Will.  After Bea and Will get reacquainted, Will’s wife walks in the room flustered, telling Bea and Paul that they urgently need to leave.  She looks exhausted, with purple bags under her sunken in eyes.  The audience gets a vibe that something is not quite right with her and the situation itself.

Later that night, Paul notices Bea missing from the bed and soon finds her standing naked and in a trance in the middle of the forest.  At approximately 27 minutes into the film, this is a major turning point for the plot.  By this point, I expect a film to pick up the pace; we got an introduction, now we want a juicy story.  After the freakish incident, Paul is looking for answers, and without giving too much away, something bad happened to Bea in the woods.  Bea is no longer acting like herself and seems like a stranger to Paul.  From denying the seriousness of strange markings on her thighs, to no longer remembering how to make French toast or coffee, Bea is not Bea.  She gives some (pretty bad) excuses for her zombie-like expressions and pose in the woods like “I must be sleepwalking,” or, my personal favorite, “Nothing, I’m fine.”  By this point, a viewer is hoping things start getting more exciting, and although the viewers are totally creeped by Bea’s brief disappearance, more needs to happen.  I did say this film is a gradual build up in a smart way, but I do wish there were more scares and startles in this film.  About a quarter of the movie felt like a romance film, and although that time was used for character development, I don’t like waiting long for the feature to get scary.  The dialogue and character progression make up for it somewhat, but if more scary events happened, I would have given this film a higher rating.

Bea honeymoon

Paul begins to lose his grip on who his wife really is, what she is turning into, and even on himself.  Treadaway gives an exquisitely charming performance as a horrified yet loyal husband who will do anything to ensure his wife’s safety and sanity.  Leslie portrays Bea in a haunting fashion that evokes fear in not only Paul, but also the audience.

It is clear that Honeymoon did not have a high budget considering the lack of effects.  I often think that filmmakers use special effects in place of a plot, which is never how it should be, but it seemed a bit like effects were avoided until the end of the film.  It is almost as if the director was trying to distract the audience from the fact that there were little alarming/shocking scenes and no extravagant effects for the majority of the movie with candy or a shiny object, or in this case a strong character relationship.  Despite this, Janiak executes this plot wonderfully, with a strong bond between the characters and an eerie aura enticing the audience all the way through.  Nobody said marriage was easy, but Paul and Bea find out how challenging and unnerving it can be to trust and hold onto your betrothed.

Is Honeymoon worth a watch?

Yes!  Honeymoon is worth watching if you are into mild horror flicks.

You can watch the trailer here: