Tag Archives: opinions

Groovy Movies: Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark Edition

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Groovy Movies: Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark Edition

Hello hello! One movie that I was really looking forward to this summer was Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark and, let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Now, before we get started: No, I have not read the books, so I was going into it with no preconceived notions of what it should be like. Honestly, I was just excited that Guillermo Del Toro was working on it, because he is my favorite ANYTHING when it comes to movies. So, take a look at the trailer and let’s discuss without giving the flick away:

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to this video!

My understanding of the original books of Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark is that it’s just that – a collection of scary stories. And, I know there were a good amount of people who were disappointed that not as many of these ghost stories were included as they would have liked. But, be that as it may, the movie needed a story line and I thought a really innovative and interesting one was created.

On Halloween night, Stella and a group of friends sneak into a supposed “haunted house” in their town – the Bellows mansion. The story goes that the family owned a paper mill that put the town on the map but had a dark secret – a horribly disfigured daughter named Sarah that they would never let leave the house. According to the legend, children would visit Sarah by sitting outside of the walls of her room and she would tell them scary stories. Oh, and did I mention that children were disappearing constantly?

While Stella, Ramon, Augie, and Chuck are exploring the mansion, they stumble upon Sarah’s room, where Stella finds her book of stories and decides to borrow it. BIG MISTAKE, because the nightmare that was laying dormant starts all over again, as the book begins to write itself every night, featuring a story based around one of the characters. The story usually has something to do with a nightmare or something that has traumatized the character that it’s happening to. So, it is up to Stella to solve the mystery of how to stop the curse from continuing before there is no one left.

I absolutely LOVED Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark. I enjoyed the characters whose back and forth high school quips were hilarious, the plot was great, and the creatures that come to life in the stories were so creepy and visually interesting. Normally, scary movies don’t freak me out but this one definitely did. To have a source of evil that taps into what frightens you is terrifying and having a book that “reads you” to create it was such a brilliant idea.

And, in true Del Toro fashion, the visuals were spectacular which is the driving force behind my rave review. The monsters coming to life from the stories were scary as hell and they made me genuinely uncomfortable to look at. Don’t even get me started on the Pale Woman – YIKES!

I highly recommend this movie and am giving it a perfect ten, which rarely happens. I enjoyed every minute of it, was scared senseless, and want to see it again and read the books so badly. Don’t let your preconceived notions of what the movie “should” be cloud your vision if you’ve read the books, because you’ll be ruining a wonderful film for yourself.

Who has seen or read Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark? What are your thoughts on it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: The Playlist

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The Raconteurs Concert

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The Raconteurs Concert

Hello hello my darlings! On Tuesday, I was lucky enough to be able to see my beloved Jack White for my second birthday concert in a row with The Raconteurs at Stage AE in Pittsburgh. As we all know, I love Jack White more than I love myself most days so when The Raconteurs came out with their first album in eleven years, Help Us Stranger, going to see them was an absolute necessity when they announced their tour.

As luck would have it, they ended up playing in one of my favorite cities (Pittsburgh), at one of my favorite venues (Stage AE) so my parents treated me to two tickets for my 25th birthday. For the past several years in a row, I have attended a concert with my sister for my birthday outing with her and it always ends up being one of the best nights of my life. I am so thankful to Kristen because even if she doesn’t like the band or is unfamiliar with them, she will go with me and words can’t describe how appreciative I am for that.

So, off to Pittsburgh we went to get re-antiquated with Stage AE, where we went to see Marilyn Manson two years ago and Jack White who we saw last year. Stage AE is such a fantastic venue because you can get so close to the stage, and we ended up being in the front row like how we were for Marilyn Manson. And, being that close to some of your favorite musicians is an experience that everyone should have.

Now, you’re probably wondering “where are the pictures?”. And, unfortunately, I have none. Jack White is quite strict about his “no phone” policy at concerts so Kristen and I just left ours in our car. However, the people who did bring theirs with them had to put them in a bag that was sealed with a security tag like they use at clothing stores and could only be removed by security after the show.

I understand this rule and I don’t. It is definitely nice to fully experience a concert without your phone in hand. However, not being able to snap a few pics or take a video is disappointing – especially since we were so close to the stage. I just feel lucky that when I saw Jack White at X-Fest last year, he was performing with other bands so the no phone rule didn’t apply and I was able to take pictures and videos to my heart’s content.

Speaking of other bands, Ex Hex opened for The Raconteurs and they were very good! The all female alt band really held their own nicely on stage and performed songs from their new album It’s Real. Ex Hex hasn’t been on my radar since my PacSun days so it was nice to see them evolve musically and I enjoyed their performance. They wouldn’t necessarily be who I would pick to open for The Raconteurs but it set a good vibe for the amazingness that was to come.

The Raconteurs came out swinging, opening with Bored and Razed and following up with a much loved favorite off of Broken Boy Soldiers, Level. They played a solid mix of nine songs off of Help Us Stranger with nine other tracks from Broken Boy Soldiers and Consolers Of The Lonely peppered in for good measure.

I would have loved for them to throw in more of their heavy hitters from the albums, because a few of their choices were a bit too slow paced for my liking. This is especially due to the fact that a lot of their more mellow songs are sung by Brendan Benson with Jack White only accompanying on vocals. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the songs. But, Jack White has an undeniable presence and Benson just didn’t have that. It was also difficult to hear him throughout the concert.

It was awesome hearing a majority of the album Help Us Stranger, though, and their strong points were definitely with Don’t Bother Me and Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying). Shine The Light On Me was another especially powerful one off of their new album. The lighting was also very cool throughout the concert, going between green, red, and a lovely pale yellow which looked awesome on stage.

The highlights for me during the concert were when they brought back songs off of their first album, Broken Boy Soldiers. Their performance was really strong during these songs and it was amazing to hear them close with Broken Boy Soldier, because that’s my absolute favorite song by them. The instrumentals paired with the shocking green light made for an unforgettable version of it and that is what I immediately think of when replaying the night in my head.

Thankfully, they encored with SEVEN MORE SONGS because the first half of the show just wasn’t enough. And, it was a spectacular ending when they concluded with a long version of Blue Veins set to moody midnight lighting and, of course, ultimately bidding their farewells with Steady, As She Goes – as to be expected.

Despite some qualms with not having my phone and a few song choices I could have done without, it was an overall fantastic concert. The gentlemen in The Raconteurs play off of each other so well and are such a cohesive group that watching them put it all together was nothing short of mesmerizing. Although they sounded great, Jack White definitely carried the weight of the show on his shoulders. And, believe me, I am so okay with this. But, it would have been nice to have seen the other guys step up a little more because they are all extremely talented, in their own right.

My fourth concert experience in Pittsburgh was an absolute success and I am looking forward to attending more shows with the best sister a gal could ask for. Sadly, Jack White didn’t notice me pounding White Claws in the audience, but there’s always next time, right?

What concerts have you been to this year? Who else is a fan of The Raconteurs? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: NPR

Lil Red’s Book Club: Those People Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Those People Edition

Hello, hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing the whodoneit thriller called Those People, written by Louise Candlish. I have been going through books left and right during my free time, and out of the past handful that I’ve finished, Those People has definitely been my favorite. It leaves you questioning how far you would go to stand up to a bully or, in this case, a neighbor from hell. Without revealing spoilers, let’s discuss:

bookie

Lowland Way is the suburban dream street. Beautiful homes, posh neighbors, and a quiet peacefulness that makes it the ideal neighborhood for the families living there. That is, until Darren and Jodie move in, wreaking havoc on the once “family friendly” street. Loud music, parties, swearing, foul attitudes, a used car business ran from the front yard, and noisy as can be home renovations make the new neighbors on the block less than popular. Especially considering that their business and construction make them a massive eyesore on the picture perfect community.

What’s worse is, the more that Jodie and Darren’s neighbors like Tess, Sissy, Naomi, Em, Ant, and Ralph plea for the noise levels to be kept down, the more intense everything seems to get on their property. And, Darren and Jodie often scoff at any of the uptight neighbors coming to their yard with requests. As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, someone died on Darren and Jodie’s property as the result of an accident on their construction scaffolding.

Once this misfortune happens, the neighbors begin banding together to put an end to Darren and Jodie’s reign of terror. Even if that means committing a murder themselves. However, the scaffolding accident wasn’t so clear cut and while the neighbors are plotting murder, they are being investigated for one as the screws on the structure were tampered with. So, who committed the deed that made the “wrong” person die and can the neighbors work up the nerve to attempt murder again to get it right? Read Those People to find out!

This book was such a quick read for me because it was simply riveting. I loved how the chapters were presented from a different neighbor’s point of view each time and it kept me turning the page because I wanted to see how situations were seen in the other character’s eyes. There were two whodoneit scenarios in the book and I enjoyed piecing together the information from each neighbor to try and figure out what their role was in the crimes committed.

Those People was a nice break from the unstable female narrator books that I have been drawn to lately and it was well worth the read. I don’t think any of you will be able to put it down! I am going to rate it with a 7.5 out of ten and highly recommend it.

Has anyone else read Those People? What were your thoughts on it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: Necessary People Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Necessary People Edition

Greetings! There are times in my life when I am without a book or graphic novel to read, but those are certainly rare. I have been enjoying quite a few suspenseful thrillers as of late revolving around seemingly “good” girls with dark secrets and motives. The most recent one I finished was called Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak. Although this book wasn’t my favorite by any means, I read it in a matter of days and found myself itching to get back to it when it wasn’t in my hands. So, without any spoilers to those who plan on giving this book a try, let’s discuss:

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Necessary People spins a tale around a toxic friendship between Violet and Stella. And, when I say that these girls are polar opposites, I mean that in absolutely every sense. Violet suffered from a traumatic upbringing, is a Plain Jane, and prefers to be behind the scenes instead of in the spotlight. All the while, Stella is filthy rich, flashy, and performs best for an audience.

The girls met in college and quickly became inseparable, although a lot of their friendship revolved around Violet getting Stella out of sticky drunken situations, thus making Violet feel like she was important and needed. Because of Violet’s abusive parents, she ended up with Stella’s family for the holidays and was rewarded to the ultimate prize upon graduation: To be able to live with Stella in a lavish apartment in New York City for rent that was dirt cheap, compliments of Stella’s parents.

Post graduation, Stella traveled the world and Violet buckled down as an intern at a news company called KCN. Violet pulled herself up by her bootstraps and quickly began to climb the ladder of success at the network, ultimately landing the gig of an associate producer. And, upon Stella’s return home she was left to her own devices because her BFF turned into a workaholic.

Then, things changed rather abruptly when Violet informed Stella that her head boss was at the party they were attending for the wedding anniversary of Stella’s parents. And, just like that, Stella was on and began as an intern at the news network the following week. She began to move up in her own right – by being in front of the camera and reporting the news that Violet worked hard to investigate.

Despite Violet’s lack of desire to be an anchorwoman, seeing her somewhat lazy other half get the glory for her labor began to take its toll. And, once again, Violet was left in Stella’s shadow. What happens when jealousy begins to eat away between two “best friends”? Read the book and find out!

Although I wasn’t a huge fan of either of the main characters in this book, it proved for a good, fast paced read. I wouldn’t want to be friends with Stella or Violet but I loved their dynamic between each other that was filled with back handed compliments and snide remarks.

It was interesting, because they were both “mean girls” in their own way but Stella was just more forthright about it. So, seeing things from the perspective of Violet, the girl who shied away from all eyes being on her was a nice spin on things. She definitely had the brains of the operation between her and Stella and used her wits to her advantage throughout the book to try and ensure that she would land on top. Ambitious or just a bitch? Lol, you decide!

Like I said, this book wasn’t my favorite but I do think that it was worth a read and I’ll rate it with a 6.5 out of ten stars.

Has anyone else read Necessary People? What were your thoughts on it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Groovy Movies: The Lion King Edition

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Groovy Movies: The Lion King Edition

Hey hey! This has truly been the summer of Disney movies with Aladdin, Toy Story 4, and The Lion King being released in theaters. One of my clients has a particular fondness for Disney movies, so taking her to see the new Lion King was an absolute must. Now, you all know that I am a scary movie girl through and through with some suspense, thriller, and comedy peppered in for good measure. So, of course, I didn’t enjoy this film as much as your average bear. But, it still had its moments so take a look at the trailer and let’s discuss:

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to this video.

I can’t exactly say that I had a strong Disney childhood, because I honestly barely remember any of the movies. As the baby of the family, my older siblings weren’t interested in watching the classic Disney flicks by the time I was old enough to enjoy and comprehend them. So, although I know the basics about The Lion King, it is definitely not one that I can recall in detail.

I feel like this was an advantage for me to go into this movie not really knowing much about it, because I didn’t have any expectations based on the cartoon. Overall, I can’t say that I loved The Lion King, by any means. But, it was a pleasant enough flick to sit through.

The Lion King really did boast an all star cast including James Earl Jones, Donald Glover, and BEYONCE for crying out loud. And, they were alright. But Seth Rogan as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon took the cake. Rogan and Eichner were freaking hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud in all of their scenes. They had great chemistry with each other, the singing wasn’t bad, and they were the only characters in the live action movie that I could actually envision saying their lines.

And, that, brings me to my main qualms about The Lion King. Rogan and Eichner embodied their characters perfectly and somehow managed to sound like how a warthog and meercat might if they had human voices. But, all of the other characters felt so disjointed from their voices and the songs that they were singing. It almost made it feel like a documentary with Beyonce just happening to do the music for it.

I also was a bit disappointed with how the scenes with Scar and the hyenas played out. From what I do remember of the cartoon Lion King, Scar was a major A-HOLE. Like, he was this sneering, rotten villain who killed his own brother. In the live action version, Scar just appeared bored and the hyenas were really annoying. I didn’t get this sense of looming darkness that I remember Scar having and that made Mufasa’s death be kind of like an “oh” moment, instead of bringing me to tears – which I totally thought it would.

Was this movie worth seeing in theaters? For die hard Disney fans, yes. For anyone else, use your discretion. As your average person going in to this movie expecting nothing, I’ll give it an average rating of six out of ten stars. I think that it was a difficult task to create a live action version of singing animals and this one missed the mark for me.

How did you feel about the new Lion King? Which Disney movie are you hoping they remake next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Heroic Hollywood

Lil Red’s Book Club: In A Dark, Dark Wood Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: In A Dark, Dark Wood Edition

Hiii everyone! Today, we are going to be discussing Ruth Ware’s debut novel entitled In A Dark, Dark Wood. Miss Reese Witherspoon actually just bought the rights to this book to be made into a movie so be on the lookout for a Gone Girl-esque, twist and turny murder mystery flick on the horizon. And, *without spoilers* let’s discuss:

dark

In A Dark, Dark Wood tells the back and forth tale of an adorably British term “hen do” AKA bachelorette party gone horribly wrong. Our story is told from the point of view of Leonora, Lee, Nora, or Leo depending on who she’s talking to and saying she’s not the most reliable narrator is an understatement. Especially considering that she found herself waking up in a hospital after a murder that she can’t quite remember the details to.

The hen do gathering is for Leonora’s high school best friend, Clare, but – the trick is that she hasn’t spoken to her in ten years. So why did she receive an email from Clare’s extremely passionate bridesmaid, Flo, in the first place? Reluctant at best to go, Leonora and another high school friend, Nina, make a pact to go together but leave if they see fit.

Surrounded by strangers at the bachelorette bash in a house made of all glass in the middle of the forest, Leonora finds herself trapped for a long weekend. Tensions build, secrets are spilled, and someone gets shot with a gun that was supposed to be filled with blanks. And, the question now is, whodoneit?

This is actually my second time reading In A Dark, Dark Wood because my mom thought it might be something that I would like. By the time I was about twenty pages in, I had realized that I read it before so that kind of shows you how memorable the book was to me, despite it’s grand reveal at the end.

Was this book entertaining? Quite. Was it just like Every. Other. Gone. Girl. Style. Book.? Abso-freaking-lutely. I won’t say I hated it, because that’s not true. I wouldn’t have reread it if I didn’t. However, it wasn’t the best thing that I’ve ever read and none of the characters were particularly likeable, which made it hard to get really into it.

Overall, I’d give this book a 5.5 out of ten. It was readable and a nice page turner to spend an afternoon with. But, I think you will find the superficial characters over the top and the narrator to be a bit of a bore. Read it, maybe. Or, better yet, just wait for the movie to come out, instead.

Has anyone else read In A Dark, Dark Wood? What were your thoughts on it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Groovy Movies: Crawl Edition

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Groovy Movies: Crawl Edition

Howdy! This past week, I took one of my clients to see a new creature horror movie called Crawl. Normally, I am not big on the flicks with giant animals terrorizing people, but this one was highly entertaining, super suspenseful, short and sweet, and the actors weren’t half bad, either. Take a look at the trailer and then read on to find out my rating for this new release:

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to this video.

Long story short, a hella hurricane is happening in Florida and when swim star, Hayley, has heard nothing from her dad, she ventures to their old home to investigate. He is nowhere to be found inside of the house but the family dog, Sugar, leads her to the crawl space beneath, which she begrudgingly goes into.

After some searching in the claustrophobic bottom layer of the house, Hayley finds her dad severely injured with an alligator bite to the shoulder and leg compliments of the one that entered the premises through a flooded drain pipe. And, to make matters worse, there’s not one but two of them. And, to make matters worse AGAIN, the crawl space is beginning to fill with water thanks to the major hurricane happening. So, their options are to drown or figure a way out despite the massive gators making home there…

And save the dog, of course.

Like I said earlier, these types of movies are normally not my cup of tea. But, I thought that Crawl was an absolute HOOT. It was a really fun watch and the suspense was nonstop thanks to a combination of things like the close quarters of the crawl space, the flood waters steadily rising, and oh yeah – the big ass alligators. I also liked how this movie was relatively short at an hour and a half because it moved quickly and made the anticipation of the flood waters rising feel even more desperate.

Hayley and her dad were also both very likeable and I found myself rooting for them and their safety the entire movie. So, whenever a setback would happen or a plan didn’t work, it definitely felt like a major blow. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie and I would give it a seven out of ten. It was a great summer flick to see in theaters and I would for sure recommend it!

Who else has seen Crawl? What were your thoughts on it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: AMC Theaters