American Horror Story

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Be our guest and watch all of your nightmares come true! American Horror Story (AHS; Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk, 2011) is one of the scariest TV shows currently airing. Recognized for its superb plot, writing, and acting, AHS has received nineteen awards and 67 nominations including Prime Time Emmy Awards and Golden Globes. Since its debut, it has received raved reviews from critics and audiences who have felt a sense of insanity from the show’s content of screams, sex and psychopaths. Currently in its third season AHS takes a life of its own with an emphasis on new characters and scenarios. The thread that connects each season is the miniseries’ common goal: to frighten.

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Quite fittingly, AHS has been broadcasted on FX since its US debut in October 2011. A number of clever advertising campaigns were launched including a “House Call,” which gave the opportunity for a viewer to be chosen to meet a character face to face. These strategies are just one of the reasons viewers flock to their televisions every week! The milieu of actors who have graced the silver screen for this show including Jessica Lange, Denis O’Hare, Frances Conroy and Zachary Quinto, convincingly bring horror of the script to life – making it difficult to miss a week of this show!

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Season one of AHS was set in a cursed house where the dead and the living resided in disturbed harmony. Despite the horror, refined photography skills captured the beautiful scenery, one of the highlights of this season. This was the ironic backdrop where the Harmon family moved into an old house with the hopes of repairing a broken marriage and a suicidal daughter. Unfortunately the house itself was grim. Sharing an abode with its deceased previous owners proved to be deadly.

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The second season was set in a mental hospital from 1964, where patients faced torture, pain and prejudice. The abandoned building still held all of its past misery and the ghosts of this horrific institution. A special guest appearance from Maroon 5 vocalist Adam Levine was short lived, as he couldn’t even survive past the first episode. The rest of the season displayed the creepy stories of demon possessions, alien manipulation, and human injustice – a scary combination.

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Presently, season three brings us back to enchanted places where witches try to escape the persecution of the witch-hunting era. Always bringing a polemic sphere from the past, this season involves voodoo, incest, and the brutality of slavery. Oscar winner Kathy Bates, and oscar nominated actresses Gabourey Sidibe and Angela Bassett,  together play three amazing witches with special powers and a horrifying future! It’s impossible to miss one single episode, after all, we are all so eager to know who will take the coveted role of the Supreme – the most powerful of them all, currently being played by the producers’ muse Jessica Lange! Find out which witch will rise to the top!

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Inspired by classic movies like Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and The Shining (1980), American Horror Story’s opening sequence developed by Prologue (also developed The Walking Dead and Se7en) has original music and pictures that explain its frightening purpose.

You may recognize the show’s creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck from Glee, but few people know that their desire to create American Horror Story came before that epic show. Ryan and Brad wanted free reigns for their petrifying creativity. Their purpose is to SCARE you with each episode of AHS – and they never let us down! Your Wednesday nights will never be more frightening.

Written By Clarissa Mesquita, from Paraíba, Brazil. This lovely lady is addicted to TV shows and movies, and enjoys fitness, fun and photography. She also loves pets and participates in an NGO to save homeless animals. Clarissa graduated with a degree in Social Communication from the Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil, and is amazed with her new yellow brick road!

 

Carrie

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Carrie, directed by Kimberly Peirce, follows the Stephen King tale of young girl (played by Chloe Grace Moritz) whose been a social pariah all of her life, mostly due to the unique and heavy Christian homeschooling with which her clinically insane mother has raised her. Eventually though, Carrie must attend normal, “scary,” public high school where she is predictably ridiculed and tormented for being so weird. One day Carrie gets her menstrual cycle in the ladies locker room and has absolutely no idea what it is since her mother never told her, believing even having a period is a sin. Carrie she has a total meltdown much to the delight of the wicked girl-bullies who throw tampons at her and videotape her pathetic, very bloody meltdown. Her life in public school is anything but pleasant. When Carrie discovers that she has telekinetic powers things begin to turn around for her, sometimes in interesting ways, but mainly in a horrifying, murderous, and destructive manner.

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To anyone who’s heard of Carrie, these details shouldn’t be momentous spoilers. The scene of Carrie at prom from the 1976 classic is one of the most famous scenes in movie history – just youtube it. The remake takes the bucket-of-blood bath to whole new extremes, showing you the blood falling not once, not twice, but three times so you can absorb its effects from every angle before it settles into Carrie’s perfectly pink dress. From there the destruction is terrifying and beautiful – and Moretz does an incredible job of becoming an entirely new Carrie; covered in blood and possessed she cowers through the halls of high school so demonically its hard to remember the shy, cowering girl from the beginning of the film. The famous prom scene is amped up in volume by heavy use of CGI. Though its easy to predict where certain things are heading, who will live and who will die, I found myself clutching my jacket and dipping down further into my seat as high schooler’s were flung against glass doors and sent ablaze in flames. Many say that Moretz is a bit too beautiful to play the awkward, pimply faced Carrie referenced in King’s novel – but I found her most suitable as a Carrie-turned-mass-murderer, even if her natural good looks detracted from her performance as an awkward teenage outcast.

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Overall, it was the cast of Carrie that really stood out – mainly Moretz and her mother, played expertly by Julianne Moore. Moore is both terrifying and pathetic, a mother whose own misaligned beliefs lead to shutting Carrie in a tiny closet to pray and continually physically abusing her when she questions her methods. Moore is guilt-addled and terrified, stoically firm in her beliefs in God but totally unaware of how to reconcile those with raising a teenage girl. The result is fantastic, and even if the religious imagery is laid on a little bit thick, Moore finds a way to play terrifying without the over-the-top grotesque that typically accompanies most horror film villains.

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While I found the film highly entertaining, and definitely scary, I did feel as though it didn’t quite know what it wanted to be. At times, its tone almost felt campy and surreal – self aware of its own bizarre plot twists and humorous high school caricatures. Other times however, the film felt morbidly dark and uneasy, wrought with religious imagery and even relevant cyber-bullying questions. Committing to either one of these extremes would have provided a much more satisfying movie-going experience – and probably added a new dimension to the remake that wasn’t present in its 1976 predecessor. As it is, Carrie feels scary, entertaining, and well-acted, just not necessarily new. As the pigs blood dries on Carries face and settles into the crevices of her eyelids you sit back and brace yourself for the inevitable doom that you know is coming.

If you’re brave enough check out the trailer and then go see the film and tell us what you think!
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Written By: Sarah Dunn who is 25 and has been living in New York City for the past 8 years. A graduate of Columbia Film Studies program, she is a film-fanatic, trailer-obsessed lover of movies, and currently works as a post-production supervisor for Treehouse Pictures. She’s been known to comb through entire TV series on Netflix in a day, knows far too much about feminist film theory, and consistently prefers to dump her M&Ms inside her popcorn rather than eat them separately.

The Best of London Fashion Week Spring 2014

London, the British Fashion Capital, showcased fun, chic and inventive collections. Check out our favorite looks from London Fashion Week!

Untitled Paul Smith

Untitled Unique

Untitled Temperley London

Peter Pilotto Peter Pilotto

Huishan Zhang Huishan Zhang

OSMAN OSMAN

Maria Grachvogel Maria Grachvogel

Lucas Nascimento2 Lucas Nascimento

Untitled Emilia Wickstead

Untitled Richard Nicoll

Untitled5 House of Holland

UntitledUntitled2 David Koma

Untitled Julien Macdonald

Untitled Holly Fulton

Untitled Jasper Conran

Untitled                Jean-Pierre Braganza

Untitled Bora Aksu

Untitled Daks

Untitled13 Fyoder Golan

Untitled14 Ostwald Helgason

Untitled Pearce Fionda

Untitled Mulberry

Untitled Antonio Berardi

Untitled Vivienne Westwood Red Label

UntitledUntitled2 Mary Katrantzou

Untitled Matthew Williamson

Untitled Christopher Kane

Untitled2Untitled Burberry Prorsum

Untitled GILES

UntitledUntitled2 Tom Ford

Fruitvale Station

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The howling sound of the BART train produced nostalgic feelings of my childhood growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. The sounds also re-hatched memories of the tragic event on New Years 2009; a tragedy that sparked action, eventually leading to this very film – Fruitvale Station. Opening up with real life cell phone footage from the platform of Fruitvale Station in Oakland CA, the fatal shot that ended Oscar Grants life is fired and the screen goes blank.

The film transitions into the last day of Grant’s life, giving us an intimate picture at the intricacies of the young man whose death shook the nation. In the aftermath of his death, heightened and polarized opinions of the real life man swarmed in the media. Writer and director, Ryan Coogler made sure to introduce the audience to who Grant was beyond the headlines. An exceptional performance by Michael B. Jordan humanized a multi-dimensional Grant. As a Bay Area native within Grant’s age cohort, I could not help but watch the film and think that this could have been my schoolmate, my relative, my friend.

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The essence of life is found in the lives of those we touch. This story was told from the perceptive of the relationships Grant had with the most important people in his life – his daughter, mother, girlfriend, friends, and extended family. The social reality of his character was displayed on screen, helping the audience to connect with him not as a “good” guy, or “bad” guy but as a human being.

On screen Grant affectionately and playfully connects with his daughter, Tatiana – his pride and joy. A Daddy’s girl, endearing moments of the two racing, making funny faces, being comforted when scared, and sneaking her extra fruit snacks showcased the caring father he was. A flashback to Grant’s time in prison also reveals the mistakes he once made that kept him from being the father he wanted so badly to be. It too, showed the pain of his own mother, Wanda, played by Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, who grew tired of enduring the painful reality of visiting an incarcerated son, and comforting his daughter who could not comprehend his absence. This very flashback reminded Grant of his desire to change his life though he struggled with keeping a job and providing financial support for his family. Trying to keep a lie, we see the attempts Grant makes to right his wrongs.

A family celebration for Wanda’s birthday was the heart of the film, where the most important people in Grant’s life gathered unbeknownst to them, for the last time. Eating a traditional Gumbo dish for New Year’s Eve, the family did what we all do around the holidays-chow down with laughter and fun as their main course. Following, the BART ride to San Francisco was a fun and exciting thrill – slappin’ Mac Dre, a deceased Bay Area rapper, everyone on the train could be heard rapping, “I’m in the building and I’m feeling myself.” Anyone who has ridden BART on New Years knows the magnetic feelings of this party bus that empties into the dynamic streets of San Francisco. It’s was a celebration and Grant and friends did just that!

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One moment can change a lifetime. Throughout the film there were opportunities where one decision might have altered the fatal outcome. The looming hope of an alternate ending was present. However, a scuffle on the BART train led to the event we all hoped to escape – Grant and his friends being held on the platform by police. Even in these last few moments you can see the multi-faceted sides of Grant as he was angered by feeling unfairly targeted, while yearning so badly to get home to his family. By the time audiences witnessed the fatal shot fired, an excruciating pain accompanies. There were no dry eyes in the theater.

Following Grant’s family and friends we all anxiously waited in hope of Grant’s recovery, at Highland Hospital. Any Bay Area native knows the fear that accompanies the cold halls of this well-known trauma center. The audience joined Grant and wanted so badly to see his life work out for the best. This was our son, father, boyfriend, and friend. We had spent the last hour getting up close and personal with Grant and mourned his loss potential. What weighed heavy on our hearts was our knowledge that this was more than a movie; it was real life – a reality we dreaded.

The film closed with its final clip capturing Grant’s daughter at his 2013 Memorial service, reminding us of her immense lost.  A sorrowful feeling was partnered with hope and a call for us to cherish each moment we have with our loved ones because we never know when it will be our last.

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain

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It’s a celebration in the mock-reality introduction to Kevin Hart’s amusing comedy show, “Let Me Explain.” Enjoying success amongst friends and fans, Hart is approached by naysayers who have a lot of trash to talk about his career and personal life. True to the reality of fame, he comically struggles with people questioning his life experiences. Fed up, he has a Hart-rageous outburst in the middle of the party where he decides he will take center stage at Madison Square Garden, a platform where he can explain his self to the world.

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A true world-class comedian Hart’s comedy tour that took him throughout Europe and the Americas is documented. Grown men just shouldn’t be on a our bus together but in true homeboy style they brave a road trip that solidifies Kevin as a international star. Yes people scream his name in Europe and those that don’t quiet learn who he is, as he leaves a lasting impression in his own funny way.

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Finally Kevin Hart lands in Madison Square Garden where the cameras captured two sold out shows of his stand up comedy routine. The show had the Garden and theaters audiences laughing out loud as he broached topics we can all relate to – relationships, cheating, divorce, lying, and even daddy-dom. His “real life” stories proved to be a hit among the crowd. Hart truly got into character as he lived each story out on stage. Of course we could relate to the crazy fights you have with a partner, the outlandish lies you  tell, and getting caught cheating. It felt like you were hanging with your outrageously funny best friend, telling jokes about a crazy ex – story after story of unbelievably funny encounters  As he mimicked the gestures and voices of the women he dated you may recognize someone you know – maybe even yourself. Just before Kevin Hart departed the stage he had an emotional moment of realization. Standing in front of a sold out audience in Madison Square Garden, New York City he had arrived, a testament to all that despite the odds dreams do come true – one joke at a time!

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