Tag Archives: Movies

IT’S ALIVE — at Peabody Essex Museum!


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Happy Monday everyone!  Fall is still in the air and Thanksgiving is just around the corner (just TEN days!).  Halloween may already be over with, but the spookiness still lingers on around the Witch city of Salem.

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Even before the hasty Halloween month of October, the Peabody Essex Museum opened up their own horror themed exhibit since August.  The exhibit is titled ‘It’s Alive!’, featuring Kirk Hammett’s collection of horror and sci-fi movie posters (metal fans would know Kirk as lead guitarist for Metallica since 1983!).  Kirk Hammett has been working on his movie poster collection for decades and his various posters became one of many exhibits for the Peabody Essex Museum.  His horror and sci-fi movie poster collection were an essential source of inspiration that fueled his own musical creativity.

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I got to check out this exhibit yesterday and was blown away by some of these colorful posters.  Some posters I recognized from watching the films while others were completely new titles to me.  Nevertheless, it was quite an entertaining event to check out.  Here were the overall highlights from yesterday’s adventure:

Horrifyingly Amazing Posters

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First thing that caught my attention were the posters.  Various movie posters were hung around the walls of the exhibit.  The collection history starts around the 1920s and ends within the 80s.  While there weren’t many modern films featured, there were still some notable titles and themes I enjoy.

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One common horror theme I noticed were monsters, especially vampires.  Dracula was a huge hit in the movies, spurring what would be the start of vampire movies throughout the decades.  Vampires were especially a huge hit in the Hollywood creative pool from the 1990s-2000s (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, anyone?).

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Another common horror theme I passed through was zombies.  Zombies had its roots from Haitian folklore and the voodoo religion.  They have been a popular type of monster for horror films (even before The Walking Dead invaded AMC on Sunday nights).  Even as time goes on, these lifeless creatures still make their ways into TV series and movies each year.

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Other than Dracula and zombies, Frankenstein also made an appearance for the event.  Frankenstein was originally written by Mary Shelley back in 1818 and he has been adapted into many works of film.  He even got his own bride in the film Bride of Frankenstein on 1935.

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As I wandered more into the exhibit, more horrific monsters hid around every corner.  Some looked really creepy in the posters while others just seemed silly.  Even still, it was intriguing to see how films were made back in day.  Many of these films existed way before I was even born, so we’ve definitely come a long way with that Hollywood magic.

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My personal favorite posters were from the films within the 60 and 70s.  Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the infamous poster for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? I remembered Ryan Murphy’s Feud: Bette and Joan back in the winter and the poster immediately took me back to that series (you can learn more about their tumultuous story here).

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Cruising just a few steps over and the poster for The Exorcist was hanging up.  The Exorcist was released on December 26th, 1973 and became an instant cult classic.  It’s widely regarded as one of the scariest horror films of all time (FYI, people literally passed out after watching the film in theaters!).

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Across from that were the posters for Star Wars and Aliens.  These movies were more sci-fi films, but they made significant breakthroughs in the film industry.  Aliens took horror sci-fi to a new level with the monsters in space (their marketing stunt with the egg was genius!).  Star Wars was one of many films that took over the box offices many times.  Decades later and Star Wars still remains popular to this day!

Scary-Good Background Info

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Adjacent to the posters were some tidbits about the films themselves.  Some just featured the title of the film and when it was made while others provided some juicy story about the artist behind the work.  I really learned a lot info just from reading some of the cards.

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The tidbit that really got me thinking was about the various color scheme.  On the title card for Dracula’s Daughter, Karoly Grosz explained how black and yellow that is used boldly will stand out anywhere at any time.  Yellow reflects light on a sunny day while black absorbs it, making it a powerful contrast.  Many movie posters featured yellow and black in their color scheme, which really made the artwork stand out in your eyes.

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Being a PR pro myself, I understand how important color scheme is when it comes to design.  Utilizing a good color scheme is crucial for captivating your audience.  Use the wrong type of colors and your audience will be turned off by the promotional work.

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A lot of these posters utilized important design tactics to the very fullest.  Many of them featured lots of yellow and black to draw out that contrast.

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Reading these tidbits really added some flair to these artworks.  It’s always great to read about the grand history behind the designing of these posters.  Props to the artists for creating such masterful designs!

Bizarre Guitar Art

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One of the main focal points of the exhibit were the colorful guitars.  Being a huge fan of horror movies, Kirk Hammett fueled his passion by designing his guitars with pop culture flare.  Design tactics from posters like Nosferatu and Dracula were utilized to create these colorful sleeves.

These guitar sleeves looked absolutely incredible!  I loved the detail that was put into rearranging the content from the movie poster onto the parts of the guitar.  It was one of the interesting features of the exhibit other than the posters themselves.

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That’s it for my adventures at the ‘It’s Alive!’ exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum!  The movie posters, tidbits, and colorful guitar pieces were all incredible to look at.  It’s been a long while since I have been into a museum and I was glad to finally check out this entertaining exhibit.  Who knows where my next adventure will be.

Will it be another museum?  Another philosophical walk in nature?  A conference?  Stay tuned on this blog to see what will happen next!

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Harvey’s Horrendous PR Nightmare


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Hollywood is no stranger to PR nightmares.  Whether it’s a box office blunder or another celebrity partying too hard, PR nightmares are sure to swivel around Tinseltown.  PR pros love a good PR nightmare to work with, especially in the entertainment capital of the world (I’ll say this again – there’s NO such thing as bad publicity!).

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We all enjoy checking out the latest in movies, music, tv shows, fashion and even literature; but it’s the scandals hiding beneath the curtains that make the show that much more spectacular.  As social media’s popularity grows, the thirst for juicy scandals become much more desirable.  There’s one PR nightmare stemming from a man who co-created a movie company known for producing some of the best independent films to date.  Get ready, folks – this is the PR nightmare of Harvey Weinstein.

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Harvey Weinstein was born in New York City on March 19th, 1952.  He’s most known as the co-founder of Miramax, a subsidiary film and television company founded in Buffalo, New York.  Miramax is known for producing some of the hottest independent films such as Clerks, Sex, Lies, and Videotapes, Pulp Fiction, and The Crying Game.  What’s interesting to point out is that their television production division (Miramax Television) produced series like Project Runway and Clerks.

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All the scenes were set smoothly for Harvey Weinstein…that is, until the PR nightmare began.  In the beginning of October, The New Yorker and The New York Times reported that a dozen of women accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault, and even rape.  Many of these women reported having similar experiences with Weinstein, in which he denied all of these accusations.  Due to the results of the accusations, Weinstein was fired from his own production company.

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But the PR nightmare was JUST getting started for Harvey.  His wife, English fashion designer and actress Georgina Chapman, left him once the accusations started.  Not only was he fired from his own company, but he was also expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Many leading politicians he supported started denouncing him.  This horrific PR nightmare was only getting worse each day.  It only took one match to engulf his reputation into flames.

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Even while writing about this particular piece, Harvey’s PR nightmare is only drudging along ever so slowly.  His wife, political supporters, and even his own company are out of his grasp.  Hollywood is a small town where everyone hears through the mounting grape vine.  It only takes one small vine to connect with its other branches in order to ignite a PR nightmare.

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That is the tragic PR tale of Harvey Weinstein and his entertainment career.  The cat is already out of the bag (and continues to be out as well), so there’s very little damage control that can be done at this point.  Only strategic PR move would be to roll with the punches.  Word has already gone out, so only time will heal this reputational wound.

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Rather than dwell on the horrors of the accusation, we should take this as a lesson in the muddy world of Public Relations.  Secrets will be shocking to hear, especially if you’re higher up on the totem pole.  The higher you climb up, the harder you will fall.  These scandalous sexual accusations will only plunge Harvey down further into his nightmare.

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Sometimes the scariest event is not so much the monster, but the leading events that happen once the monster is caught.

Death Note(Anime) Vs. Death Note(Film)


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Netflix released some crazy-good TV series as well as some interesting flicks to check out.  A lot of movies, both old and new, pop up in the digital slot within the Netflix library.  I’ve already seen most of these movies before and it’s hard to keep up with the new indie flicks that come up (most of them were INTERESTING, to say the least!).

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A lot of movies seemed to be a miss for me, but there was one film that I was on the fence about for a while.  Based off the infamous manga series, Netflix released a live action film of Death Note.

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Before I start this review, I have to admit that I didn’t know what to expect with this film.  I absolutely LOVED the Death Note anime series, so hearing of a live-action film idea made me wince in pain.  Death Note was one of few anime I watched over and over because it was just so brilliantly done.  Last night I decided to check it out (with a perfect ramen dish I made for dinner!).

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Selecting this film, I thought this would actually be somewhat decent…but WOW…it was just that ridiculous from start to finish.  I laughed, I winced in pain, I rolled my eyes, and I even face-palmed through this embarrassment of a live-action film.  Death Note fans should definitely avoid checking out this movie.  No amount of Blue Kush helped me enjoy this nightmare of a god-awful live adaptation stemming from one of my favorite anime of all time.

Now that I stopped cringing, it’s time to discuss what’s so horrid about the Death Note film:

Severed Storyline

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Let’s start with the storylines: The Death Note anime revolves around Light Yagami, a brilliant high school student who discovers the Death Note.  He picks up the notebook from the Shinigami Ryuk who explains that any name written on the notebook shall die.  All the user needs are a name and face in mind for the person.  Light Yagami attempts to create a world where he cleanses all the evil off of the earth, acting as a ‘God’ while using the notebook.  His god-like plans are continually thwarted by L, igniting a psychological cat-and-mouse game with his adversary.

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Now here’s the movie’s plot – Light Turner discovers a notebook from the Shinigami Ryuk, who bullys him into writing a name on the notebook.  After experimenting with a few criminals (most importantly, the man who killed his mother), he teams up with classmate Mia Sutton to rid the world of evil.  The duo team up in this vengeful scheme when L comes into the picture.

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So yeah, the storyline completely differs from the original manga series.  Rather than stick with the same storyline, they changed it around to become some vengeful romance story between Light and Mia.  I do give them credit for how Ryuk came out in the film.  Either way, it doesn’t work at all and turns the audience off from the film.  Death Note has a beautiful psychological thriller concept and there was barely any advanced psychological tactics featured.  They didn’t even showcase the notorious potato chip scene (out of ALL of best scenes, they don’t even have the freakin potato-chip montage!).

            Light Turner/Light Yagami

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Light Yagami is a gifted high-school student who was bored with his normal life.  He utilized the Death Note to create this whole new life free of crime.  His madness progressed throughout each episode as he climbs higher and higher into his ultimate goal.

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On the other hand, Light Turner was this whiny high school douchebag that had no clue how to strategize his plan.  Light kept looking for ways out, freaked out about the number of rules featured within the Death Note, and pretty much couldn’t handle the pressure at all.  He was not gifted at all nor was he successful with his so-called vengeance.

It’s safe to say that Light Yagami was a lot more interesting to watch than Light Turner.  Turner has NOTHING on Yagami!

            L as Antagonist

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Within the anime series, L is one of the smartest detectives around who has many strange quirks (eating lots of candy, squatting).  He is a very logical person that analyzes many aspects of his cases.  L is very cautious about how he approaches Light, keeping his enemy close in his mind games.

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In the film, L is sloppy in his detective work.  He doesn’t keep his emotions intact and acts in a hasty fashion when things go wrong.  It’s gets so sloppy that he starts chasing after Light with his gun (FYI, L doesn’t EVER use guns in the anime!).

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Between the two, L in the anime series was a much better antagonist to watch.  The other L was just an humiliating imposter that acted way too quickly on his impulses.  It was just sad to see this dumbed-down version of L presented to the audience (as a matter of fact, ALL of the characters were dumbed down in the live-action film version!).

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            At this point, I can conclude that this film is definitely worth avoiding.  This water-down version was so humiliating to watch that I cringed almost every minute of the film.  A severed storyline and characters dumbed-down to become almost idiotic made Death Note a serious miss for me.  If anything, I would definitely re-watch the Death Note anime.  This beautifully-crafted psychological thriller anime featured one of the best cat-and-mouse mind games I ever had the pleasure of watching.

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And with that, just skip the Death Note live-action film and watch the original Death Note anime series instead.

Send in the IT Clowns


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With fall coming in around the corner, the horror films will be screening in theaters nationwide.  Horror movies are great to watch and they’re extra special around Halloween time.  The summer blockbuster franchise season may be ending soon, but now it’s time to get scared silly with the horror films.  One horror franchise that everyone is excited about this year is Stephen King’s IT.

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IT is set to release in theaters nationwide on September 8th.  Based on the novel Stephen King wrote in 1986, the classic tale follows seven children in Derry, Maine who are terrorized by a creepy clown known as Pennywise.  Pennywise is responsible for the dozens of children that disappeared from the town.  After being terrorized by the traumatic clown, the children face their own demons as they got older.

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Fans of Stephen King’s novels will definitely be looking forward to the film.  This horror franchise will definitely open up a whole new fear of clowns.   One movie theatre is pushing that clown culture over the edge by hosting a ‘clowns only’ screening.

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You heard me right, people – a CLOWNS-ONLY screening of IT will be taking place in September!  The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas is hosting the screening just for clowns.  Some activities that will occur before the film starts include raffles, face painting, a photo booth, and some other terrifying events.  Moviegoers are encouraged to dress like a clown for this special screening.

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This whole ‘clowns only’ screening idea came about after the Wonder Woman screening controversy.  After holding a screening of Wonder Woman for women only, a lot of men grew angry over the event.  One of those complainers asked if there would be a male-only screening of Thor: Ragnarok or a special screening of IT for the clowns.  Sure enough, The Alamo Drafthouse decided to take his idea of a clown screening.  Other ‘clown only’ screenings will be happening in Brooklyn, Dallas, Omaha, Phoenix, San Antonio, and other places.

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It’s interesting how The Alamo Drafthouse went along with the man’s idea of screening IT just for clowns.  Rather than spark up some political controversy, The Alamo Drafthouse decided to get creative for the upcoming IT film.  This makes for an interesting PR stunt to drum up buzz about the movie.

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Screening events for films like Wonder Woman and IT are great publicity stunts to generate more buzz on franchise.  These kinds of stunts pull audiences from all around the area to check out the latest film hitting the theaters.  Fans of Stephen King’s IT novel will don their best clown outfit to celebrate their favorite story.

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I think this is an incredible PR stunt!  Moviegoers will be even more freaked out with all of these clowns sitting around them.  It’s a shame that there isn’t a ‘clowns only’ screening in Boston because that would’ve made for quite a movie experience!

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Screening events like ‘clowns only’ screening for IT are great examples of publicity stunts for movies.  Publicity stunts will only help the product/service grow higher if it is pulled off correctly.  It’s important to strategize your stunt so that you reach your goals/objectives for the work.  Any errors that happen with the stunt will create a PR nightmare for the company!

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The Alamo Drafthouse showcased a great example of how a publicity stunt like ‘clowns only’ screening of IT will help flourish the franchise.  Not only will this pull more potential audiences into seeing the film, but it will generate some fantastic publicity.  PR pros should take note of this case study for a future reference.

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Last year we had some craziness with the clown sightings around America and now we have a screening event where clowns are encouraged to attend.  All clown enthusiasts should attended the ‘clowns only’ screening of IT in September!

#EmojiMovieFAIL


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Every now and then we hear about these crazy and ‘original’ ideas surfacing from Hollywood.  Whether it is a horrendous TV pilot that barely aired on ABC (like Imaginary Mary!) or a music mash-up that did not mix well with the audience at all.  Either way, these preposterous ideas do make for hilarious news stories.  We’ve had some amazing pop culture that is trending well and laugh at the terrible ones that flopped.

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Earlier this summer I discussed the problem of franchise films this summer (which you can read more about here).  Film ideas stemming from licensed franchises just isn’t cutting it anymore with the audiences.  These days I rarely attend the movies these days since there’s better selections on Netflix.  I thought I’ve heard of every moronic idea for films these days; that is, until I learned about…The Emoji Movie.

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I am DEAD serious when I say this folks – we have a franchise film strictly on EMOJIS.  Emojis, as in, those ‘cute’ and ‘adorable’ pixelated messages people send to their contacts every day.  We have scrapped so far down to the barrel that we’re creating a storyline for cartoon picture of a heart that we use on our phones.

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Rather than ramble on about how god awful this summer film is, let’s get down to some intriguing points about this topic.  The Emoji Movie was a TERRIBLE idea for the summer and it’s finally time I explain (with two explanatory reason) what went horrifically wrong with this film.

Here we go….

#EmojiIdeaFAIL

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Image result for the emoji movie

First off, let’s discuss the monstrosity of this mundane film.  The story goes like this: Gene, a multi-expressional emoji living inside a teenager’s phone, sets off on his journey to become a normal ‘meh’ emoji just like his parents; basically, it’s a young character that goes on an adventure to search for himself (where he came from, what his original backstory is) so that his parents would accept him.  The concept of the story may sound intriguing, but its heavily boggled down by having the characters become emojis.

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This whole idea doesn’t work as a franchise film because it’s been played out thousands of time.  This cute and heartwarming type of story has been utilized so many times for films that now it’s being milked for something trite like emojis.  A repetitive theme used for the plot plus a tiresome trend like emojis equals one train wreck of a film.

#EmojiMovieMarketingFAIL

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Take a close look at the billboard for a minute or two.  Before I looked through Buzzfeed, I had NO clue what kind of message was even being relayed to me.  Hi-five me the popcorn July 28th?  Slap me the popcorn calendar?  WHAT DOES IT EVEN MEAN?!?

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Image result for Emoji Movie Billboard

If you were just as confused as I was, you are not alone.  This billboard had audiences so perplexed about the message that they turned off from the whole idea itself (this is one of those scenarios that you DON’T want happening during your marketing promotion strategy!).  Even after the trailer released, the film was panned by many critics.  Some social media users were so outraged that they decided to ban the film altogether (one user called for a boycott simply because it was ‘dumb as fuck’).  Other than the franchise film itself being ridiculous, the promotional stunt failed to reach its audience.

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And there you have it, two explanatory reasons for why this god-awful film flopped with its audiences.  The Emoji Movie took viewers to a really watered-down and monotonous world of emojis and provided a cliched story about a young man searching for his home.  It is not interesting nor an original film to check out.  This is definitely one of those films to skip after blazing some good cannabis (I could never enjoy this even after a bowl of Citrix).

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Here’s to hoping that there’s a revived childhood classic franchise that is worth watching in theaters.  For right now, I’ll skip the ticket and take my movie-viewing experience over to Netflix.