A Belated (?) Happy Life Day From The Shattered Lens


Happy Life Day!

Now, I know there’s some confusion out there as to when exactly Life Day is celebrated.  Some people say that it’s celebrated on November 17th because that’s the date that The Star Wars Holiday Special premiered way back in 1978.  But listen …. I’ve seen The Holiday Special.  I forced my friends in the Late Night Movie Gang to watch it with me a few years ago and they’ve never forgiven me.  And I can tell you, from having watched it, that Life Day takes place on December 25th.  I mean, it was so obviously an intergalactic version of Christmas that I don’t even know where to start.  November 17th?  No way!  Life Day is December 25th!

And, even if it isn’t — well, isn’t a late holiday greeting better than no holiday greeting at all?

So, while those of us here on Earth celebrate our holidays, other planets are celebrating Life Day and that’s okay.  Vive la différence!

So, to all of our readers who are observing today or who maybe observed back in November or whenever — Happy Life Day from the Shattered Lens!

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Final Trailer


Well, it all comes down to this.

During tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets, ESPN is hosting the final trailer for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The last film of the new trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker seems to have Rey (Daisy Ridley) coming into her own as a Jedi. It also looks like her friends are due to face a new threat, could it really be The Emperor? While Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi may have left some audiences divided, Disney is hoping this will bring everyone in line and in the theatre. It seems to be working as theatres around the country are already selling out in pre-sales for the film.

It looks like we have Rey and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) fighting against and alongside each other again. Could this also mean some sort of redemption for Kylo? We’ll find out come December 19th, when the film is released.

Enjoy!

Sorority Row, Review By Case Wright


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Horror can make a political statement, it can make you reflect on your status in society, or it can just entertain.  The first two types are good, but it’s also nice to just have fun! “Sorority Row” written by Josh Stolberg & Peter Goldfinger and directed by Stewart Hendler is a 1990s throwback.  It had a real “I Know What You Did Last Summer” feel to it.  Honestly, the reviews are not fair to this film.  A lot of people want horror to be all things, but it’s supposed to be fun too.  So, just relax and have a good time.  Also, it doubled its money, which is what a movie is supposed to do- especially horror. It’s one of the few genres left that can produced by mere mortals.

What I liked mostly about the film was the writing.  It had a lot of great humor without it being campy. I’ve gotten to know Josh Stolberg on twitter the script has quite a bit of his personality: clever and quick-witted.  I especially enjoyed Jessica (Leah Pipes).  As a man who went a Greek dominated college, she was very realistic.  Her character and one-liners gave the story a mix of comic relief and reality.  I practiced Criminal Law for waaaaay too long and I can tell you that even honest people can turn to something wicked if they feel threatened.  People will invariably choose themselves over a possible life ending punishment.

The plot is similar to the original House on Sorority Row: a prank run a muck.  The girls belong to Theta Pi and they to love to party, prank, and get murdered.  Garrett a brother of the Sister “Chuggs” cheated on Megan another Theta Pi, which is not okay! So, the sisters have her fake an overdose so that Garrett believes he killed Megan.  The sisters: Jessica, Ellie, Cassidy, Claire, Megan, and Chugs are all in on the prank are a little too convincing because they make Garrett believe that they need to hide Megan’s body in a mine shaft or their lives will be ruined.  The sisters say they have to get rid of the air in Megan’s lungs or she’ll float back up. So, Garrett takes the initiative as a true go-getter and uses a tire iron to stab Megan to death.  Jessica decides very quickly that they need to hide Megan’s body for real.  When Cassidy refuses to participate, they wrap the corpse in Cassidy’s coat and throw it down the mine shaft.  Jessica really thinks fast on her feet.

I don’t know about you, but I think Jessica would be good marriage material. Hear me out: she’s determined, quick-thinking, has a college degree, and is ruthless to protect her goals.  Also, Cassidy tried to be all above it, but as Jessica said- “you could’ve called the police, but you didn’t!”  Agreed.  You don’t get to benefit from something wicked and then look down on everyone else.  Jessica made her choice and stuck to it.  She made a good point as to protecting everyone’s future and ran with it.  Cassidy kept Hamletting over her bad choices.  Do it or Don’t.  Jessica, don’t listen to the haters.

All seems fine a year later.  They’ve all moved on except for Garrett who has become a wreck over his humiliation and accidental murdering.   Then, they all receive a threatening group text on their very old timey looking phones- 2009 was just ten years ago and these phones look like museum pieces.  Sorority-Row-Megan-s-HERO-Cell-Phone-1.jpg

This technology allowed for some extra suspense because reception and tech wasn’t that great then; therefore, the characters can be cutoff from help.  I really think horror shouldn’t be set any time after 2009 because it’s just too easy to get help now.  This lack of tech added a nice layer of suspense.  The text sender stalks and murders them one by one.

The kills were pretty clever: an electrocution, death by chardonnay, tire iron throwing, and a good ol’ fashioned stabbing or three.  It also had a fun twist at the end like the 1990s horror films of my youth.   I recommend this film.  Read my past reviews- I don’t just recommend anything.  I’m an iconoclast and can tell you that this was a lot of fun. Happy Horrorthon!

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Here’s The Trailer For — Deep Breath — Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker


Here’s the new trailer for an obscure little art film called …. Stars Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker!

My first reaction, to be honest, is that the title is extremely unwieldy.  I imagine that most people in the real world will just call it “the new Star Wars film” while people on twitter will demand that it only be called “Episode IX.”  I’m not going to speculate on which Skywalker is rising.  The majority of them seem to be dead.  Perhaps the film will end with Adam Driver taking over the universe and destroying it, Thanos-style.  That would be kind of fun.

I’m not really big into Star Wars.  You may have already guessed that.  While everyone else is going crazy over this trailer, I have to admit that my first reaction was, “Again with the desert?”  But, snarkiness aside, it’s a nicely done trailer.  There’s no way not to be excited by that scene of Rey doing a back flip over that cruiser.  And any trailer that ends with mocking laughter is okay with me.  Apparently, the Emperor is back.  And so is Billy Dee Williams.

(For that matter, Carrie Fisher will be in the film, as well.  Director J.J. Abrams has said that there was enough unused Fisher footage from the previous two sequels that Leia will be able to play a role in The Rise of Skywalker.)

It’s always somewhat weird to me to see how controversial the Star Wars films have become.  I really don’t have enough shrug emojis available to me to express how I react whenever I see people on twitter debating whether or not the last movie was any good or not.  I liked The Force Awakens and I respected the fact that Rogue One killed off the entire cast.  I was kind of indifferent to both Solo and The Last Jedi.

But, let’s hope the best for The Rise of Skywalker!  Apparently, the Star Wars franchise will be going on a bit of a hiatus after the release of this one.  (That said, if The Rise of Skywalker does better at the box office than Solo or The Last Jedi, that hiatus could be a short one.)  So, let’s hope that they (temporarily) end on a good note!

Celebrate Life Day With The Star Wars Holiday Special!


Happy Life Day!

The Star Wars Holiday Special was first aired in 1978 and, over the years, it has achieved a certain amount of infamy.  Some people say that it’s the worst thing to ever be made for TV.  To those people, I say that 1) that’s not a good attitude to have on Life Day and 2) have you seen Disco Beaver From Outer Space?

Anyway, this is a musical Star Wars extravaganza.  One thing that makes it interesting is that Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher were all ordered to appear in it.  Seeing as how Harrison Ford tends to come across as being grumpy on a good day, I can only imagine how he reacted to filming The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Also, a few years ago, Val reviewed the Hell out of this thing.  Be sure to check out her review.

And now, for those of you looking to experience a dubious piece of pop culture history on this Christmas, we present to you …. The Star Wars Holiday Special!

Cleaning Out The DVR: This Is My Life (dir by Nora Ephron)


(Lisa is currently in the process of trying to clean out her DVR.  She has over 170 movies recorded and she’s trying to get them all watched before the beginning of the new year!  Will she make it?  Keep checking the Shattered Lens to find out!  She recorded the 1992 dramedy This Is My Life off of Indieplex on March 20th.)

This Is My Life tells the story of Dottie Ingels (Julie Kavner).  Dottie may be stuck working in a dead end job at a cosmetics counter but she dreams of becoming a successful comedienne.  She even entertains her customers, who all seem to be delighted to put off making their purchases so that they can listen to an aspiring star tell corny jokes that were probably considered to be dated even at the height of vaudeville.  Most of Dottie’s jokes deal with raising her daughters — Erica (Samantha Mathis) and Opal (Gabby Hoffman) — on her own.  Times may not be easy but … well, actually, as portrayed in this movie, times are remarkably easy for a single mom with a job in retail.  It’s certainly easier for Dottie than it ever was for my mom.

Anyway, Dottie’s aunt dies and leaves her some money, so Dottie moves herself and her daughters to New York City so that she can pursue her comedy career.  With the help of an eccentric agent (Dan Aykroyd) and his assistant (Carrie Fisher), Dottie starts to find success as a performer but her daughters also start to resent the fact that their mother is no longer around as much as she used to be.  While Dottie is getting invitations to appear on late night talk shows, Erica and Opal are feeling neglected.  Finally, they decide to run away from home and head upstate to see their father, little realizing that he may not have room for them in his new life.

This Is My Life is one of those films that could only have been made by someone totally in love with the concept (as opposed to the reality) of show business.  While Dottie does have to sacrifice to find success, the film has no doubt that the sacrifices are worth it.  As played by Dan Aykroyd, Dottie’s agent is a big lovable eccentric who just wants the best for all of his clients.  In fact, everyone in this movie just wants the best for Dottie.  As a result, the film is so good-natured that you kind of feel guilty if you don’t force yourself to love it.  At the same time, it’s such an unabashedly sentimental movie that it’s difficult to take any of its conflicts seriously.  It’s like a fantasy of what it’s like to be an aspiring star in New York.  Making her directorial debut, the famous writer Nora Ephron laid on the schmaltz so thick that, for the majority of the film, there’s not even a hint of a rough edge or a ragged corner.  This is a film that really could have used a little more profanity.  And while Julie Kavner is undoubtedly a funny actress, she’s never believable as a stand-up comedienne.  (At least not a successful one…)

That said, there were a few things that I did like about This Is My Life.  Mathis and Hoffman are believable as sisters and there’s a natural poignancy to the scenes where they manage to track down their father.  I related to those scenes and they brought tears to my mismatched eyes, not that it’s particularly hard to do that.  Otherwise, This Is My Life felt like a typical directorial debut: heartfelt, uneven, well-intentioned, and just a little too heavy-handed.

Here’s The First Trailer For An Obscure Art Film Called Star Wars: The Last Jedi!


Hi, everyone!

Well, here’s the teaser for an obscure little art film called Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  It’ll be interesting to see if anyone takes the time to discover this little film.  Hopefully, it’ll make its way to Alamo Drafthouse at some point because the trailer is actually pretty intriguing.  It looks like it might be kind of exciting and there’s a voice over that suggests that there’s actually more going on in this film than just pure spectacle for the sake of spectacle.

“I know only one truth.  It’s time for the Jedi to end.”

That doesn’t sound good.

(By the way, Mark Hamill actually speaks in this trailer.  So, all of you who thought the ending of Force Awakens indicated that Luke Skywalker had been rendered mute — well, you’re wrong!  Or, actually, it might be more correct to see that I’m wrong since I think I was the only one who thought that.)

The Last Jedi comes out on December 15th.  I get the feeling that Arleigh and most of the TSL staff have already bought their tickets.