Sunday Lists: Abigail Breslin Roles, Best to Worst

Abigail Breslin has been in the acting business for over 10 years. In fact, her debut role started in 2002 with Signs. She’s been a lot of movies since then and taken on a wide range of roles from independent films to downright Hollywood blockbusters. She’s worked with some great actors and actresses. Today’s task is to rank her roles from best to worst.

The list will be updated as I watch some of the roles I haven’t caught up with yet. For now, it will highlight the top 5 roles with a little of why I’ve placed them there. As I see more roles than 10 of them, I’ll expand on it with the updates.

Olive Hoover -Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Olive Hoover

Review

Little Miss Sunshine in itself is an odd independent film but just so well done in so many elements. Not surprising that their own Little Miss Sunshine who is the innocent one in this family is played by Abigail Breslin in a much younger role. Her youth and her fun role as Olive Hoover really is a captivating one. She might be the youngest but she is the glue of the messed up family that she is in. If you haven’t seen Little Miss Sunshine, let me tell you, it is a treat.

Little Rock – Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland Little Rock

Review

Probably one of the most bad-ass roles for Abigail Breslin (at least from what I’ve seen as of this point), she takes the role of a gun-toting girl running with her rag tag group away from zombies. This is a great role for her to see how much of a smart-ass she was and really keep up with being the youngster in the group.

Nim Rusoe – Nim’s Island (2008)

nim's island

This is the first role I ever saw of Abigail Breslin and it was the one that really stood out for me especially as she played across Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler. She captured Nim’s adventurous spirit really well. It adds a lot of entertaining and fun moments that takes you for a wild ride through her island while just holding her fort and being brave while her father was away.

Anna Fitzgerald – My Sister’s Keeper (2009)

my sister's keeper

Review

One big heavy role for Abigail Breslin in My Sister’s Keeper as Anna Fitzgerald, playing a sister who goes to court with her parents for emancipation so that she doesn’t have to be born just to save her sister. Family drama at its best but Abigail Breslin takes on this role with so much heart. It was a great job as she plays across from Cameron Diaz who plays as her furious mother who doesn’t understand why she’s doing what she is.

Maya Hayes – Definitely, Maybe (2008)

Definitely Maybe

Abigail Breslin plays something of a supporting role here since she plays a daughter called Maya who asks her dad, played by Ryan Reynolds, to figure who her mother is as he tells her love story. She makes child-like remarks especially when he talks about buying cigarette and making the love story take little cute breaks. She honestly takes on the smart-mouth kid role so well and she has being incredibly cute on her side to make up for it instead of coming up annoying (which a lot of kid actors have that problem).

Haunter – Lisa (2013) Review
Casey Welson – The Call (2013) Review
Valentine Wiggin – Ender’s Game (2013) Review
Zoe – No Reservations (2007) Review
Hailey – New Year’s Eve (2011) Review
Veronica – Final Girl (2015) Review

Can’t remember or haven’t seen

Signs – Bo Hess
Raising Helen – Sarah Davis
Princess Diaries 2 – Parade Girl Carolina
Keane – Kira Bedik
Chestnut: Hero of New Central Park – Ray
The Ultimate Gift – Emily Rose
Santa Clause 3: Escape Clause – Trish
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl – Kit Kittredge
Quantum Quest – Jeana (voice)
Janie Jone – Janie Jones
Rango – Priscilla (voice)
Zambezia – Zoe (voice)
August: Osage County – Jean Fordham
Perfect Sisters – Sandra Anderson
Maggie – Maggie Vogel
Fear, Inc. – Jennifer Adams
Freak Show – Lynette
Yamasong: March of the Hollows – Nani

Advertisements

Double Feature: Haunter (2013) & The Innkeepers (2011)

It times for the next double feature!

This time I’m digging into the Shudder categories. I honestly need to either watch more films there or just cancel the thing. The latter is definitely something on my mind lately but so many titles I still want to look at that I can’t find anywhere else. With that said, I’ve been looking for one of these films since its release so was looking forward to checking it out and hoping it’ll live up to my expectations. While the other is one I’ve heard mixed reviews on so wondering how that will turn out.

Let’s give it a go!

Haunter (2013)

haunter

Director: Vincenzo Natali

Cast: Abigail Breslin, Peter Outerbridge, Michelle Nolden, Stephen McHattie, Peter DaCunha, Samantha Weinstein, Eleanor Zichy

A teenager is stuck in a time loop that is not quite the same each time. She must uncover the truth but her actions have consequences for herself and others. – IMDB

I love Abigail Breslin. Perhaps its one that I’ve had because she’s done some great roles in her younger days like Little Miss Sunshine and Nim’s Island. As she got older, her roles got a little more scattered. I was okay with the Scream Queens role and then I hate the Final Girl but I thought The Call was a decent role. Haunter was one that I had my eye on. It didn’t get particularly stellar reviews but I honestly liked it quite a bit. The scares are quite generic and predictable however the atmosphere and the story itself along with the whole thriller-esque aspect works pretty well. If that doesn’t appeal to you either, the cinematography here created with a rather older home setting works along with a warp into an older time where it adds something of a static-y old film filter that works incredibly well for the setting it was trying to create.

haunter

Haunter might not be anything particularly special but somehow it worked for me. There was some pretty unsettling moments. It worked hard to give it a more psychological twist and a story behind to figure out who is behind all this and what is going on because Abigail Breslin’s character is one of the few who notice the revolving day that she goes through. There are some obvious pacing issues and some generic content here. If its scares you are looking for, its actually more of a couple of jump scares but works more as a suspense/mystery/thriller and that works for me. Perhaps for the experienced and hardcore horror fan, this might fall really short.

The Innkeepers (2011)

the innkeepers

Director (and writer): Ti West

Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis, Lena Dunham, Alison Bartlett, Jake Ryan

During the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two employees determined to reveal the hotel’s haunted past begin to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay. – IMDB

In some ways, I can see how The Innkeepers gets its credit. I had a decent bit of scares and there was genuinely some creepy moments whether it was jumpscares or atmosphere related. The setting in a creepy hotel is quite generic however, it does work in its favor. The camera work and the limited amount of characters also works well here. Ghost-hunting and many other horror themes are absolutely going to show up here and it has its predictable moments. There is nothing that breaks the genre including the fact that our main character Claire, played by Sara Baxton is not only clueless but makes a lot of really dumb decisions.

innkeepers

What Innkeepers does really well is just setting up the mood and the shots. There are some really effective parts, even if it felt slightly pointless. But it also focused a lot on the unseen. What we can see will get our imagination going and I remember when I went to see the Before I Wake premiere (review) at Fantasia Festival a summer or two ago, during the Q&A session Mike Flanagan made a comment about how our imagination for Absentia (review) was far more effective than anything he could have created with the budget he had for that movie. It goes to show the power of our own imagination and how I appreciate it when directors know how to leave certain things to the viewer’s interpretation and imagination. For that, The Innkeepers did a decent job. In fact, you don’t see a whole lot of creepy ghosts or anything like that for a good portion and its really little subtle things that happen and they all build up the atmosphere as it takes you for a ride to the big finale.

While I can appreciate the great technique here and looking at Ti West and how he was behind Scream TV series, I can see how he has grown and this definitely shows his ability to have a voice in horror and am curious to check out some of his other directorial efforts. The Innkeepers wasn’t exactly a groundbreaking horror experience. It was pretty average with some cool ideas and executed moments.

Medicine in the Movies Blogathon: My Sister’s Keeper (2009)

Medicine in the Movies Blogathon

Medicine in the Movies Blogathon by Charlene over at Charlene’s (Mostly) Classic Movie Reviews was this past weekend and sneaking in my almost kind of late entry is for My Sister’s Keeper. Over ambitious post drafting will eventually backfire one day on me and it did this time. Before I start, I’d like to say sorry to Charlene for the tardiness. Trust me, it was not intentional. As the name indicates, this blogathon is all about medicine in the movies and my thought right away went to this movie adapted from Jodi Piccoult’s book with the same name.

My Sister’s Keeper (2009)

My Sister's Keeper

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Cast: Abigail Breslin, Cameron Diaz, Sofia Vassileva, Alec Baldwin, Jason Patric, Evan Ellingson, Heather Walquist

Anna Fitzgerald looks to earn medical emancipation from her parents who until now have relied on their youngest child to help their leukemia-stricken daughter Kate remain alive. – IMDB

My Sister’s Keeper is an interesting one to talk about. On the surface, its about a family dealing with their older daughter’s fight to live as their younger daughter fights for her freedom of use of her body that she’s lost. What sounds like a heartless thing to do as this decision abandons her sister from her chance of survival and surprising as a top attorney will do it almost pro bono for her cause because he believes in what she is fighting for. However, behind all the medical battle, its also a highlight on how the family has broken apart in pieces. As everyone focuses on one person in the family, everyone else has needs and desires that are overseen or neglected and the only person that sees this is Kate, while ill still sees clearly what her sickness has caused over the years. What helps with this is that there are narratives of each of the characters to see how they are reacting and their thoughts on what is going on: whether it is about Kate or Anna’s decision to earn medical emancipation. My Sister’s Keeper uses sickness in a family to not only highlight each of their characters but also takes the approach to show us how it can break each other apart or keep them together more and also brings up many questions about who to side for and is there a side in this cause? Of course, nothing is that simple. My Sister’s Keeper, while not delivered quite as effective as the book in my opinion, still manages to bring some decent performances to showcase the story and dilemmas in this situation while letting us learn more about each of these characters.

My Sister's Keeper

Perhaps the best way to look at My Sister’s Keeper is to take a look at the performances. Dramas are usually pretty clear cut and the story and message is here and it all relies on these performances. First of all, the parents are played by Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric. Cameron Diaz has had her ups and downs (also my opinion) in her movie roles however she does capture the overprotective mom very well. She is focused and committed to keep Kate alive, however she also does play the mother who is much stronger that she does seem to have forgotten about her other children. She defends this by saying that she takes care of the family but Kate is the one that is most in need right now. On the other hand, while not exactly rejecting his wife’s choices, Jason Patric plays the father who is much softer. Being a firefighter and the only person still bringing money to the family, he also isn’t home as much but he somehow  notices a little more of Anna’s life and sees her charm just as much as her older daughter however he does neglect his son who in this mess is the one that gets lost in the mix the most. Jason Patric’s role isn’t very big in this and his father role only appears in glances and observations of the situation. Cameron Diaz does deliver quite a believable performance as the mom here that you can dislike for her neglecting the need of both of her daughters or playing favorites with Kate but then in the situation, the question her character brings is: where is the balance? When is the time to let go? Will you ever want to let go of any chance to save your children?

My Sister's Keeper

My Sister’s Keeper came on my radar because of Abigail Breslin. I’ve expressed on multiple occassions how I think she is a brilliant young actress with a ton of potential. As a child actor, she’s done many great performances and as Anna, she is no different. The script writes her character as a young girl who understands what she is asking for and wants to be able to live her life. The stance she brings is that while she was conceived to help her sister, she also has the right to be acknowledged and to be able to live freely and not have to be careful and limit herself. Does that make her selfish for choosing to do that? Should she feel guilt for not helping? Why is she suddenly doing all this? Helping her in this cause is another not very big in terms of screen time but important character nonetheless played by  Alec Baldwin, the attorney that decides to help her because he is saddened by her reports and with a little personal cause that makes him want to fight for Anna’s fight for the freedom of her own body. He helps bring to the table the questions that matter in this family whether everyone has been taken care of. In fact, perhaps this also brings a highlight on the judge in this movie, Joan Cusack who feels like a character that could have been developed more however she brings the angle of someone who has already suffered loss looking into the Fitzgerald family.

My Sister's Keeper

While the family and the whole case of medical emancipation plays a great deal of part here, there is no doubt that the main person in focus is the narration of Kate. The timeline of My Sister’s Keeper hops by and forth quite a bit and the first time watching this, its easy to get lost in it a little. However, Kate, played by Sofia Vassileva is quite a powerful one. Perhaps playing a sick child automatically gives some pity points however we can sense the true despair of her pain as she deals with leukemia and how she can’t express or connect with others even the ones that love her the most. However, she does find someone who sees her for who she needs in Taylor (played by Thomas Dekker), another young patient dealing with cancer who eventually becomes her boyfriend and makes her see the world in a much more colorful way despite it not in reality.

Overall, The Sister’s Keeper is full of decent to powerful performances and that comes in building and developing characters well. However, there are many story lines and tangents here and this is where we lose a little focus as some characters don’t get the development they need and at times the timeline can be a little confusing to follow. But, it does deliver a lot of questions to truly ponder. There is perhaps no right answer to any of this but the true double edged sword in this whole affair is learning when to let go no matter how hard it is. My Sister’s Keeper is a powerful book and did a decent job at adapting it into the movie. The ending particularly as everything comes to light is a bittersweet sort of ending that did make me tear up a little. I like movies that make us question these hard decisions and the right and wrong of any situation to see that there is really no clear cut answer.

Have you seen My  Sister’s Keeper or read the book?

Double Feature: Wait Till Helen Comes (2016) & Final Girl (2015)

Another double feature has arrived.

We have a mix of horror and thriller (?). The first one is one that I rented on Google Play store and the other was on Netflix, a new addition of sorts. Two more obscure titles, I would imagine. And no, this is Final Girl and not Final Girls.

Lets check it out!

Wait Till Helen Comes (2016)

Wait Till Helen Comes

Director: Dominic James

Cast: Sophie Nelisse, Maria Bello, Isabelle Nelisse, Callum Keith Rennie, Abigail Pniowsky, William Dickinson

When a reconstructed family moves to a converted church in the country, 14-year-old Molly, must save her new troubled step-sister from a dangerous relationship with the desperate ghost of a young girl. –IMDB

Wait Till Helen Comes is an indie horror. There are quite a few charms to it such as some scenes are directed really well and the set was suitable and worked to give an isolated/secluded perhaps abandoned area. That is always good for horror. Moving to a new home and families coming together also gives a lot of mystery to the characters and gives them a chance to develop. In concept, Wait Till Helen Comes has all the typical ingredients to make it work fine as a horror however perhaps because it uses such normally seen pieces that it becomes slightly more predictable. For the record, this is based on a novel however I have not read it so for myself this is a standalone piece with nothing to compare to.

Wait Till Helen Comes

Wait Till Helen Comes has some decent performances. Maria Bello is there as the mother and an artist. Her character works hard to create a balance in the new family put together because of her marriage. In many ways, she fits a mold also because while she starts off thinking her daughter is making up things and suspecting she went off her medication, she does come around. As for her teenage daughter Molly, a young actress Sophie Nelisse, does a convincing job of learning how to be a bigger sister. Although subtle, the change in her character happens gradually throughout the story as she tries to protect (in her own way) her younger sister Heather , who is the daughter of her stepfather recently picked up from a home to hopefully rehabilitate her after her mother’s death. Heather, played by Isabelle Nelisse, is rather unsettling to watch as well.

While the story does have a decent turn of events in the final act and some well-executed scenes to build up the atmosphere, it is hard to not completely feel involved because it lacks a bit of originality as it falls into a lot of horror troupes from moving into a run-down home to a rather typical ghost story. However, this one is still alright.

Final Girl (2015)

Final Girl

Director: Tyler Shields

Cast: Abigail Breslin, Wes Bentley, Logan Huffman, Cameron Bright, Alexander Ludwig, Reece Thompson

A man teaches a young woman how to become a complete weapon. Later she is approached by a group of sadistic teens who kill blonde women for unknown reasons. The hunting season begins. – IMDB

I like Abigail Breslin a lot. I probably talked about it when I wrote up my TV Binge for Scream Queens Season 1 and probably for The Call recently. I love a ton of her movies when she was younger: Nim’s Island, Zombieland, Little Miss Sunshine, etc. Then she makes these really odd choices in movies now. Final Girl is a thriller that falls apart so fast that it never really creates any fun. Its tacky and pretty stupid. It tries really hard to be stylish with these cool scenes as they present each of the guys in the rich kids that have secret killing fetish in the woods to hunt down defenseless girls, particularly blondes. Abigail Breslin for some odd reason is trained as a child by a man who lost his daughter tragically on a journey to revenge. What does these two things have in common: nothing much from what I saw. I can’t say that the performances are bad because I feel that the story is the main problem. Its just so poorly constructed. Its disjointed and pointless and in the end, we really don’t care too much about any of these characters.

There’s some stylish shots and perhaps in a biased way, Abigail Breslin does okay. But seriously, nothing saves a movie with a story that takes itself far too seriously in light of some bad dialogue and poor story. Unfortunately, this one didn’t have any thrills.

This wraps up the Double Feature!
Have you seen these two movies? What did you think of them?

The Call (2013)

Welcome 2017 of movie reviews! We are back!

This Saturday marks the first day of starting to work on those unwatched movies in our quite extensive movie collection. It kind of haunts us as we sit there and play video games or turn on Netflix and choose something there and especially when we switch on Pitch Perfect or Easy A for the nth time. While I would love to go in my favorite sequence, alphabetical order, there are movies that I’ve wanted to watch and push away. Plus, last year Netflix A-Z (which I still have to wrap up very quickly but am taking a little break), took a lot of funky turns into movies I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch. This year, I’m taking a “follow my heart” path and the first movie as I scanned starting from the “A” and landed on the first movie in “C” for The Call. I like Halle Berry enough and I love Abigail Breslin and its been one that I’ve wanted to watch for quite some time.

Let’s check it out!

The Call (2013)

The Call

Director: Brad Anderson

Cast: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Morris Chestnut, Michael Eklund, Roma Maffia

When a veteran 911 operator takes a life-altering call from a teenage girl who has just been abducted, she realizes that she must confront a killer from her past in order to save the girl’s life.-IMDB

Thrillers have a hard time of striking a good balance of building intrigue, making us care for the characters and feeling immersed. Many movies beg us to question ourselves whether the end justifies its means. Sometimes the journey os so great that we can ignore a lackluster ending. The Call is not one of these situations. It starts and climaxes to incredibly tense and immersive moments. However, the third act turns into such typical Hollywood territory with a finale that makes it feel even worse.

The Call

One of the best parts of The Call is its intelligent characters. Most specifically, Halle Berry’s character called Jordan, who is a 911 operator who goes through a situation that breaks her and turns into an operator trainer instead until by coincidence, she walks past a call that the current less experienced operator can’t handle and she takes over. Jordan is a good character with her struggles and pains. We never dive very deep into her inner scars and if this movie was longer, perhaps they would have but that make make it too dramatic for its own good. Jordan is smart and collected and she guides a call of a teenage girl using a disposable phone kidnapped in the car trunk. She may have a ton of tricks up her sleeve but her true quality is constantly reassuring and encouraging the girl to not give up even after a few traumatic events. Jordan is a fighter and in many ways, this call might be the closure she needs to get back onto the floor of The Hive (aka the 911 operator center). If her character makes us believe in the stress and hectic environment 911 operators go through. In dire situations, this job is not a joke because the flexibility and fast thinking and adaptation skills could be what saves or kills someone. That is the beauty of Jordan’s character but that is until she makes an unexpected but also rather unrealistic choice to me with gets us into the third act. From there, the character somewhat crumbles as well.

The Call

While Jordan is the character that standout, her role can’t be accentuated without where the actual kidnapping is going on. Abigail Breslin plays the kidnapped teenage girl. She struggles to find her strength but eventually does and lasts much longer than we would expect. We don’t know much about her but we do want her to survive as much as Jordan does. However, her angle doesn’t only show her conversation with Jordan and what she does to try to escape or be rescued but we also get a glimpse of our kidnapper. More than a glimpse perhaps because things do get quite out of hand. In fact, our seeing kidnapper is the sneak peek that our characters don’t know. The right amount of suspense is built to make sure that we also will be at the edge of our seats wondering what is the deal with our kidnapper and who he actually is. In fact, Michael Eklund takes on the role of the mysterious kidnapper quite well. He is odd and peculiar in his ways. There’s something rather off-putting about his character, which unfortunately, doesn’t amount to much but at least we get a good idea of why he is doing what he is doing.

The Call

Overall, The Call does a lot right. The setting in The Hive or the trunk or en route. The character’s are engaging and intriguing even if they don’t really get the emphasis or care that perhaps a longer story may have benefited from, but then it might not be all that necessary. The plot and pace is intriguing and tense for the most part. What it suffers from and dooms it is the final act which heads into the typical Hollywood arc which dives out of reality and becomes a little nonsensical with our main character seeming to make bad judgement calls over and over again. It is a shame because if they had pulled together a better ending, The Call had the potential to be so much more. Except all we have left is this disappointing finale that somewhat makes us forget how great the first two acts were that led to it.

Have you seen The Call? What are your thoughts? 

TV Binge: Scream Queens (Season 1, 2015)

In the spirit of Halloween, it was time for some TV Binge horror. Well, in this case, horror comedy. Scream Queens has been doing incredibly well and in its Season 2 so I figured that its fresh launch on Netflix meant it was time for me to give it a go! With a cast full of people I like a ton, I can’t imagine not enjoying it. But then, I also know nothing about the story or what its about. That does seem like a trend I’m having of late. It is also probably why I haven’t watched Stranger Things yet because there is just so much talk about it with some phenomenal comparisons. However, we are here to talk about the first season of Scream Queens.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

Scream Queens (Season 1, 2015)

Scream Queens

 Creators: Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy

Cast: Emma Roberts, Skyler Samuels, Lea Michele, Abigail Breslin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Keke Palmer, Billie Lourd, Glen Powell, Diego Boneta, Oliver Hudson, Niecy Nash, Nasim Pedrad

A semi-anthology series that centers on returning characters being terrorized by a serial killer in different locations, including a university and a hospital. –IMDB

Season one of Scream Queens is set at a university and the focus is with the sorority house Kappa Kappa Tau. It is quite hard to pinpoint how I actually feel about Scream Queens. For starters, it has a lot happening every episode but somehow each episode does feel quite slow and long. Scream Queens has a weird sort of humor that sometimes works and sometimes just induces eye-rolling. However, it does have an outstanding cast. I love a ton of the characters here probably even more than the story it is trying to tell. That doesn’t mean that at times, there are some nice tension-building near the end, but also a good bit of manipulative or guided scenes particularly in the end. A part of it is figuring out whether some decisions would have worked as it is better or if they had did various reveals in the first half a little more slowly which takes away the final unveil of who the Red Devil is and what the story behind it all is. I was happy to make it through the series and it was a sigh of relief to finish it. I’m happy to keep going with Season 2 but after a little break since it is a little harder to get into the story here.

Scream Queens

As much as Chanel and her minions of Chanels called by numbers are really exaggerated portrayal of what rich sorority girls are, that play is sometimes fun. However, they are sometimes quite ridiculous and awkward. The cast is spectacular. I personally love Emma Roberts and she takes the role as Chanel incredibly well. Billie Lourd is rather unknown except for her role in Star Wars 7 (which probably you all may know her from there) and I really enjoyed her as Chanel #3. She plays the emotionless girl with a weird background and hidden secret and at times, it comes off genuinely hilarious and she never laughs so it makes it even more fun. While Abigail Breslin is one of the actresses I like a lot, more when she did her younger roles and because she has less roles nowadays, this is something I look forward to seeing her as Chanel #5 grow. New addition fairly early in the group is a pledge from Hester, played by Lea Michele, who is the typical girl with neck brace and all (reminds me of one of The House Bunny’s character) and she is completely different from her role in Glee. In this one, she comes off rather creepy because of her obsession of death.

Scream Queens

In terms of characters, I truly liked a ton was the new pledges to the sorority and it takes a while to enjoy the main characters of a show but funnily for not enjoying the pace of a series, the main girl Grace, played by Skyler Samuels was one I liked a lot. She’s tough and smart but at times, very clueless about who to trust and not trust. One of my favorite scenes are above. If anything, I liked it even more when she was with Pete, played by Diego Boneta, who is someone I haven’t seen since his small roles in 90210. Hopefully, he’ll have more TV or movie roles eventually. While he has quite the potential to be a great actor, the fact that he can sound and even looks a little like Matthew McConaughey may be what makes it harder to succeed. However, I loved his role here. He plays as the investigative journalist who is researching the Red Devil killings and a big secret of Kappa Kappa Tau. Keke Palmer is also one of the more dynamic characters here. Talking about awkward, we can’t not mention Jamie Lee Curtis who I questioned as to why she took this silly project on as the Dean of the university. But man, is she a fantastic actress and does the role so well. In fact, she may be one of the more dangerous characters in the season and doesn’t even need a mask because she is smarter than that.

Scream Queens

The most ridiculous and somewhat pun-y and awkward people has to go to the sorority boys collectively called the Dickie Dollar Scholars. Oddly, none of them go to class just like a ton of the girls don’t either probably. These guys are just stupid and it makes it more fun to laugh at how silly they are, and I mean every single one of them. The leader of the crowd is Chad, played by Glen Powell, who is quite the douchebag. Funnily enough, he never is the target, probably because he is too stupid to be one but that adds some extra fun. One of the best scenes has to be that one up there as a Backstreet Boys song plays and they are somewhat acting out what the music video would be like or at least reminisces. And that actually sums up what I feel is entertaining about Scream Queens when it reminisces on some very great movies. In the sorority houses, there is even a hint of Mean Girls there with all the not eating and the extreme abuse to the other sisters in the house.

Scream Queens

Like I said in the beginning, I think the character designs here are entertaining to watch. However, the flow of the story had its issues. One of the other issues I had was the Red Devil, our killer of this season. It also is one of the main things of slasher flicks that gets me sometimes, at least the not so well done ones. The Red Devil is a creepy character with the mask and the entire costume and it being the university mascot and all that. It can get through here and there and actually is quite stealthy. However, the issue with the Red Devil is that the secret killer itself becomes somewhat apparent near the last quarter. On top of that, the last scenes make too much of an effort to keep whoever is hiding mysterious. It goes a little too coerced (that is the best way I can say).

Overall, Scream Queens is good. Its a little tough to get into but the characters are constructed rather well even if they take a while to love even with all their flaws. The best moments are those that reminisce on 90s pop culture. The Red Devil is effective in some parts but always feels a little too deliberate. In many ways, perhaps Scream Queens is supposed to be a little over the top to mock the slasher horror genre a little while still having some creepy moments.

Have you seen Scream Queens Season 1? What are your thoughts?

Valentine Marathon: No Reservations (2007)

Next up in the Valentine Marathon is another little movie with a lovely actress that I haven’t watched in a while, Catherine Zeta-Jones.  I’ve never even heard of this one until it popped up on Netflix.  When you put rom-com, food/cooking and a fine cast together, there is no question how this one, No Reservations, ended up on my rundown.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

NO RESERVATIONS (2007)

no reservations

Director: Scott Hicks

Cast: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Abigail Breslin, Patricia Clarkson, Jenny Wade, Bob Balaban, Brian F. O’Byrne

 Kate is one of the best chefs in town running the kitchen at 22 Bleecker Restaurant in Manhattan. She lives by a set of rules and her life is the restaurant neglecting everything else that she needs.  Her boss, Paula (Patricia Clarkson) makes her go to therapy to hopefully ensure that she won’t offend any more clients.  However, when her sister has an accident, she is given the role to take care of her young niece, Zoe (Abigail Breslin). While she’s away, Paula hires an opera singing, Italian cuisine-inspired Nick (Aaron Eckhart) to help out in the kitchen. Somehow, Nick makes her throw her rulebook out the window as she becomes more and more attracted to him.

No ReservationsI don’t know if it happens to other people but writing reviews for romantic comedies get a little challenging after writing a whole bunch.  A lot of times, its not so much to look at.  No Reservations was one that I enjoyed.  It was surprisingly fun to watch and although there was emphasis on food, the story itself was pretty formulaic and predictable.  I’m not saying thats a problem for me but that is a flaw that most romantic comedies tend to have.  Just being objective.  While it was an extremely simple story, the cast really made this a lot better than what it should be. Looking at the cast, can you doubt any of their skills? I’m not such a connoisseur of Catherine Zeta-Jones but she is a classy lady.  Aaron Eckhart has been an increasing favorite and lets not even get me started on my personal favorite of Abigail Breslin.  And although Patricia Clarkson has only supporting roles most times, I can’t remember one that I didn’t like.

no reservations

Whats a romantic comedy without talking about the chemistry of the leading man and lady? We’ve already established that the cast is what won me over in No Reservations.  Catherine Zeta-Jones plays the very uptight Kate and because of that, sometimes the things she says and does are pretty funny.  She’s not so good at dealing with people: not her therapist, not customers who criticize her food, or people who question her lead in the kitchen and especially not a little girl that she had to suddenly take on.  And thats how the balance of her when we see Aaron Eckhart’s Nick jump on screen, there’s a lot of funny moments.  Her issues are suddenly diminished because of his appearance even without her knowing it and when she does break out of her shell and takes life out of her kitchen and focuses on the more important things, her character becomes even more lovely to watch.

no reservations

Aaron Eckhart’s character, Nick is written pretty standard but somehow he adds a little flare and charm to it.  Who expects this guy who comes from Italian cuisine and Kate expects him to challenge her master chef position but in fact, he turns it around and shows her respect making her think that he wants to be there because he praises her cooking but still keeping his style.  He comes in singing opera and having the whole kitchen do it with him and then he’s the one that helps Kate convince and open up her niece’s appetite and then he kind of charms his way into her life by opening her eyes to the world outside of her rules. Aaron Eckhart has this rebellious charm always and anyone else with less presence on the screen with this role wouldn’t have had the same effect.

no reservations

If we talk child actresses, Abigail Breslin in her younger roles always took my heart away.  She is not only adorable but she has this strong character that makes her really fun to watch.  Plus, she knows how to use those emotions and capture a role.  In here, she’s a little girl who loses her mother suddenly and is forced to live with her aunt who really doesn’t understand her really well, nor does she actually care enough and doesn’t even seem to make that much effort.  Zoe’s role in this is the bridge to Kate and Nick’s relationship and the little adventures that Nick and Zoe have are absolutely fun to watch: making pizzas and pancakes and making a pretty boring and routine lifestyle that Kate leads into something with a lot more excitement.

Overall, No Reservations is a romantic comedy that took me by surprise and it was a pleasant surprise.  I might not remember it or run out to add it to my collection right away but it gave me a few laughs here and there.  Aaron Eckhart and Catherine Zeta-Jones brought on a really sweet chemistry and Abigail Breslin made me smile because she was so lovable and adorable to watch.  Its a little formulaic and predictable but somehow this somehow charmed me 🙂

Have you seen No Reservations? What are you thoughts on Aaron Eckhart/Catherine Zeta-Jones/Abigail Breslin? Do you have any favorite movies with them?