All posts for the month February, 2013

Face Off Season 4 Episode 7: Muzzle Up!

Published February 27, 2013 by vfdpixie

This week’s episode “Howl at the Moon” brings us some bummed out contestants.  They all miss Alam, and so do I!  They quickly cheer up at the Foundation Challenge, however, where they team up again to create a host of zombies.  I loved how their models introduced themselves by stumbling zombie style out of a barn.  Their guest judge was Gale Ann Hurd, executive producer of The Walking Dead.  That in itself was pretty amazing.  She tells them to think about how their zombies died to create a makeup.  Eric F. and Wayne, Meagan and Anthony, and House and Eric Z. all worked well with each other and banged out some cohesive, complete zombie looks.  Unfortunately Kris got teamed up with Autumn and they could not work as a team.  Autumn had a temper tantrum over her lack of sponges, and I loved how Kris just ignored her and kept going.  Gale Ann said their makeups were not complete because there was no attention paid to the backs of their models.   The winning team of this challenge was Meagan and Anthony, with Meagan surprisingly (at least to me) winning immunity.  Gale Ann said she liked how Meagan took charge of the all the models to get organized, and felt she could hire her to work on a set tomorrow.  Sure, whatever.

The Spotlight Challenge was pretty cool.  Once again in teams, they had to choose a planet and create a werewolf that might exist there.  They gang seemed energized with this challenge, and got together to create their looks.  House and Meagan chose Mars and designed an astronaut in mid-transformation after an attack from a Martian werewolf.  Eric Z. and Autumn went for Jupiter and came up with a werewolf partially made of stone to withstand the gravitational pull.  Eric F. and Anthony get Saturn and go for a design where the model will have to walk backwards for the makeup to be effective.  Wayne and Kris end up with Neptune and create a creature that dwells in darkness and comes out at night to feed, transforming into a werewolf in the moonlight.

Poor Eric Z.!!  His patience was tested to the limit with his partner Autumn.  The usually calm and collected man finally had to step away as their project got steamrolled by Autumn’s overbearing personality and over confidence with her skill.  She even had the nerve to call out Eric when mentor Michael Westmore came to see their progress.  Oi Autumn!  Please shut your mouth!!  The other team members plugged away, casting sympathic looks and shaking their heads at the kerfuffle.  Meagan surrendered full creativity to House since she had immunity, and she seemed to annoy him, but they did work fairly well together.  As always, there was the usual scramble at last looks before the final judging.

The top looks came from House and Meagan and Kris and Wayne.  the judges loved how House and Meagan created a solid back story that was obvious, the proportions that stayed true to a classic werewolf, and a great head sculpture and paint job.  Kris and Wayne got props for an interesting and beautiful werewolf and they loved the detailing of the spine, the paint job and the cohesiveness of the makeup.

The bottoms looks were created by Eric Z. and Autumn, and Eric F. and Anthony.  Eric Z. and Autumn’s werewolf was called “terrier-esque” by one of the judges, and even Eric has mentioned something about the face looking like a chihuahua.  The judges also disliked the sculpting and felt there was no blending of the makeup and no teamwork, and called Autumn bossy (thank you!!) for bullying Eric during the challenge.  The amount of work Eric F. and Anthony put into their design was acknowledge, but ultimately, the judges felt the reversal of the suit would prevent the model from functioning properly and the head look like a Halloween mask.  They also felt that Eric was always going big and hoped the sheer size of his makeup would get him through.

The top team ended up being Kris and Wayne, the winner being Kris because of his great sculpting of the back piece to their design.  I’m very happy that he won because he is really coming out of his shell and it seems like his confidence and comfort level has risen to the challenges.  I don’t want to sound like a mean person, but I actually cheered when they sent Autumn home.  They hated the werewolf from Jupiter, and called her loathsome for her behaviour and throwing Eric under the bus.  So glad!  She was really difficult and deserved to go home.  I think the judges are going to keep an eye on Eric F. and Anthony now, as they are quickly being challenged by Kris, Wayne, House and even Meagan.  And I hope that Eric Z. gets it together and uses some of his calm to step up because the judges noted that he didn’t really defend himself this time around.  Can’t wait for next week as the crunch for a winner get crunchier!!

Haunted House Gone Rogue

Published February 26, 2013 by vfdpixie

Sinister (2012, 1 hr, 50 mins)

I like a film with an unexpected twist, which is usually the core of a good horror movie.  I admit that I am often trying to figure out the formula within the first 5 to 10 minutes of a movie, and I can guess a plot around 60% of the time.  With Sinister, I was way off.

We start off with a jarring film of 4 people with sacks over their heads and nooses around their necks, hanging from a massive tree.  Your eye catches a slow movement, and you realize that a branch has been rigged to slowly strangle them as it drops to the ground. Our attention is then snapped back to true crime writer, Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) moving his family into a new home as he embarks on a new writing project.  This new home has a dark and horrific past and he plans to write a book about it.  He seems hopeful that this story and mystery about a missing child will bring him a boost to his stagnating career and ego.  His drive also leads him to keep the house’s past a secret from his wife Tracy (Juliet Rylant), and to show defiance to the local sheriff, who makes it clear that Ellison is not welcome.  His previous books have exposed incompetency within the police force and he is not popular with the law.

Things get creepy right away with the ominous presence of the massive broken tree towering over the house, a box of film reels that Ellison finds in the attic, and your friendly neighbourhood scorpion, which he quickly dispatches.  When he watches these films, he is horrified to see that they are home movies of happy families and the graphic ways in which they are murdered.  Reel after reel shows drownings, burnings, slashings and the most recent hangings from the backyard tree that terrify and push Ellison for answers.  The two burning questions haunt him:  “Who made the film?” and “Where is Stephanie?”, the missing child in question.  These mysteries isolate him from his family, and lead him to the bottle.  The house is also downright creepy, and his wife Tracy is frustrated with his hunger for success and lack of attention to his family.  More is revealed as Ellison enlists the help of a quirky deputy (James Ransone) and a university professor named Jonas (Vincent D’Onofrio).  He finds out that Stephanie is not the only missing child, and that there is a chilling demon-like presence in each film (to be precise, a “Mr. Boogie” who ain’t dancin’).  Add an unhappy daughter, a son that suffers from severe night terrors, snakes, angry dogs, and ghost-like entities, and we have the recipe for a downward spiral into obsessive koo-koo land.

When this film first starts with the home movie of a hanging, I thought, “What the hell?!!  What am I seeing here?!!”  It made me want to watch, despite the gruesome subject matter and my dislike for Ethan Hawke.  However, after the intriguing first moments, the film got a tad formulaic, with one haunted house cliché stacked upon another, and I also found the buildup to be a little slow.  Once it got going, though, I liked the twist that was revealed just as the pace was getting a bit tiresome.  I enjoyed feeling tricked by all the clichés as I pointed the finger at almost all the slightly suspicious characters and was totally off course.  I also loved the ’70’s feel to the production and the incredible scoring by Christopher Young that highlighted Ellison’s isolated, insular experience of his obsession and a general sense of foreboding.  Ethan Hawke was pretty convincing as a man desperate to be successful and do right by his family.  I didn’t quite understand the longed haired ’70’s rock star look of Ellison’s son, Trevor.  I was also not a fan of the children.  I don’t want to give away too much, but lets just say that the camera lingered a tad too long on them in a couple of scenes, which in the past has elicited extreme giggles from me at moments which are meant to be chilling.  I still think it was an origninal idea from director Scott Derrickson, who co-wrote the film with C. Robert Cargill, and also directed The Exorcism of Emily Rose and the upcoming Beware the Night.  I would recommend sticking it out to the end.

Most Memorable Scene:  As Ellison hears bumps in the night, he runs through the house searching for a source, as unseen entities play a haunting game of hide and seek around him.  Great camera effects!

Favourite Line:  “Snakes don’t have feet.”  The quirky deputy explains to Ellison after he reports noises coming from the attic and finds a snake up there.  Thanks dude, real perceptive!

Face Off Season 4 Episode 6: Bug Spray Not Included

Published February 20, 2013 by vfdpixie

This week on Face Off brings us two challenges with “Bugging Out“.  The first was of course, the Foundation Challenge that would award the winner immunity plus a makeup case filled with Makeup Forever products.  Quite the haul, I’d say, since constantly replenishing your kit is a drain on the finances. Their guest judge was Lihja Stewart, head makeup artist for Makeup Forever.  The remaining artists had to reinvent an iconic female storybook character and make them bad girls.  Bo Peep (Meagan), Miss Muffet (Wayne), Red Riding Hood (Eric F.), Belle (Eric Z.), Rapunzel (House), Gretel (Kris), Cinderella (Anthony), Sleeping Beauty (Alam), and Snow White (Autumn) all got worked over with burns, aging and gruesome transformations.  The standouts for me were Wayne who created a Miss Muffet who transformed into a spider, and Eric F who made Red Riding Hood into a werewolf.  Lihja chose Eric F.’s werewolf Red Riding Hood as the winner and the gang move on to the Spotlight Challenge.

For the elimination, each contestant chose from brightly coloured abstract photos that were actually microscopic close-ups of insects.  They were to create human/insect hybrid characters using the photos as inspiration.  This challenge seemed to be a game changer.  Anthony could not wrap his head around a concept for his ant character.  He admitted to being stumped and I wondered if he was burning out due to the pressure of staying on top.  Eric F. seemed to breeze along with his Desert Wolf Spider design, and I’m sure it helped that he had immunity, although I don’t think he needed it as his design was once more creepy and creative.  Eric Z. created a real blood sucking mosquito, Wayne chose a firefly and House a honey bee; Autumn worked on a beetle and Meagan created a moth hybrid.  Throughout the series, Michael Westmore has been a fantastic mentor and his advice has been dead on.  Alam wanted to blend a multicoloured palette for her grasshopper and Michael pegged the difficulty with the design being too busy right away.  His sharp eye also caught Kris’s great detail with his butterfly.

It seemed like the artists were really scrambling this episode, bogged down with little technical details that they may have approached with more enthusiasm at the beginning of the competition.  The judges were a bit tougher this time around, and I agreed with them because at this point of the game, the gang really needs to start taking stock of technique and paying heed to past mistakes.  The judges loved the colourful butterfly Kris created because he really showed his skill with sculpting and use of the picture he chose.  They also raved about Wayne’s firefly, with his creative use of a light-up tail, mouth movement and great silhouette.  Autumn and Eric Z. also did well, as the judges praised her sculpting and his design.  Unfortunately, Anthony was raked over the coals for his slap-dash antenna and paint job, sculpting and design.  He had predicted his place in the bottom, and he was right.  Meagan and Alam also got called out on their confusing makeups and bad paint jobs.  I believe Ve called Meagan’s paint job ” psychedelic vomit”.  Ouch!!  There was also a Face Off first as the winner would have been Wayne, however he forgot his picture back at the studio, and did not use the colour scheme in his paint job.  According to the judges, his execution of the challenge was therefore incomplete.  As a result, Kris won with his cohesive butterfly, which was my favourite.  Sadly, we had to see Alam pack her kit and head home.  I really liked her!!  I’m glad she got this far and I predict  her disposition and quirkiness will serve her well in the future.

Just want to say a quick thank you to all who have been reading these updates!  Please leave a comment with your thoughts on the contestants and the show!

T.V Notes

Published February 17, 2013 by vfdpixie

I’ve been watching a lot of telly over this Family Day weekend, so I thought I would comment with sentence or two on a few interesting tidbits.

Ghost Mine is a show I’ve been watching here and there.  It’s a reality show that follows miners who are hired to work a mine in Oregon that has been reported to be haunted.  The mine owner hired two paranormal researchers to study and report any happenings, and to reassure the miners that they are safe.  This particular mine has abundant gold deposits, enough to keep the miners going despite the creepy occurrences in and around the mine.  I watched the first few episodes and found it interesting but it didn’t get me really going until the latest episode.  What I’m jazzed about is the compelling paranormal evidence they are finding.  Take that with a new Masonic connection and a secret passageway, and you have an intriguing look into the history of doomed mining town that is better than any Hollywood ghost story I’ve come across.

Next up is Primeval: New World.  It’s the North American extension to the British series where a crack team of scientists and science geeks race to return dinosaurs who barge though sparkling time anomalies and wreak havoc on us human snacks.  This North American version is filmed in beautiful B.C., and they identify it as such, which is really cool.  Gone are the days when Canadian cities masquerade as American.  I like the cast, but wish the female characters would not wear such tight jeans.  They are chasing dinosaurs after all.  And the dinosaurs are amazing!  Bring on the monsters!!  The computer animation is top drawer, probably because there are a lot of great animation companies in B.C.  It’s a good watch with lots of action, and really cool if you like dinosaurs.

Last but not least is The Walking Dead.  The gang is back to thrill and gross us out, with an added member, Merle (ick!!).  Rick has completely lost it as he keeps seeing his dead wife, Lori, and the rest of the prison team have to find new leadership.  Will it be the newer, angrier Glenn, or one of the new people camping out in the prison like Tyrese?  After the Governor shows how crazy he is, the townspeople are spooked, and Andrea has a chance to take the lead, but will they follow?  This last episode shows exactly how wily and mad the Governor really is, and his sneak attack leaves the gang in dire straits.  Can’t wait for the next episode!

As an aside, I’m enjoying the recap of the last season of Game of Thrones.  Need to refresh my memory before the new season starts on March 13th.  Yay!!!

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