Wednesday, June 15, 2016

4 Fantasy, Sci-fi and Paranormal Movies to Watch This Summer

Posted by: Angela Campbell
Every so often when I can’t think of something to post, I simply put up a list of movie suggestions. I watch a lot of movies when I can’t find time for reading, which has happened a lot lately. I also tend to like a lot of things that mainstream audiences don’t enjoy or never bother to watch, so I feel obligated to put that disclaimer out there. If you watch and don't like these, I'm sorry. I'm weird. I have no excuses.

For those of you who like movies and have a few hours to kill this summer, I thought I’d share some fantasy-paranormal-sci-fi movie recommendations with you. These are some I’ve seen lately:

I must preface this with a note that I do love Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” — it’s one of my favorite books of all time — and I own every movie version of “Pride and Prejudice” ever made. That said, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” I felt a little snobbish about the whole thing — how dare they?!? — if I’m honest. However, I do like zombie movies and TV shows, so in the end, I was game to see it. You know what? OMG, I absolutely loved this movie! Yes, it was very silly, but it was also a lot of fun! I thought they also made some smart choices with the storytelling. I haven’t read the book on which it’s based so I have no idea if that credit goes to the filmmakers or Seth Grahame-Smith. Either way, good job, movie people. I also have a mad crush on Sam Riley’s leather-clad version of Darcy now. I never thought I would say that about any Darcy portrayal other than by Colin Firth or Matthew MacFayden, but it’s true. Sam Riley, I heart you. And if you love “Doctor Who” you will adore Matt Smith’s version of Mister Collins in this. He is absolutely hilarious. Best of all are the Bennett sisters, all of them, especially Elizabeth, because they kick serious hiney in this movie. There is some blood and gore, but not a ton, so if you’re squeamish, don’t let that stop you from watching (it is rated PG-13, after all). I enjoyed it so much I went out and bought my own copy. I mentioned I’m weird, right?

400 DAYS
I totally admit that I watched this sci-fi movie mainly because I love the actors Brandon Routh and Caity Lotz, but it turned out to be quite interesting. The premise is that four astronauts are put into a 400-day simulation in an underground facility to test the psychological effects of space travel. When they emerge, they discover that the Earth has changed — but are the changes real or psychological? I can’t say more than that because then I’d get spoiler-y. The ending is more than a little frustrating, but overall, if you like sci-fi, you’ll probably like this one — or at least the first 50 minutes or so. It kind of falls apart around that mark. The surprising thing for me is that it was produced by Syfy (yes, the TV network that produced “Sharknado”) although it wasn’t campy or stupid. It was a legit, straight-up sci-fi film. Who knew Syfy was even capable of such a thing?!?

This movie had me at cute, talking animals. I know it’s a Disney animated film and one you wouldn’t expect to find on a list here, but seriously, this movie is amazing. It’s entertaining while delivering some important social messages. "Zootopia” follows adorable Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin of “Once Upon a Time”), an ambitious little bunny from Bunnyburrow with a dream of someday being a police officer — never mind a bunny has never been a police officer before. Judy crosses paths with Nick Wilde, a sly con artist fox who knows how to pull off the perfect hustle, even on rookie cop Judy. When Judy gets a chance to solve the mystery of 14 missing mammals to prove she’s every bit as capable as the other cops on the force, she turns to Nick for help. “Zootopia” shows that anyone can be anything. “Zootopia” also inserts sly innuendo about workplace discrimination and racial and police profiling into its buddy cop comedy. The result is that kids of all ages will, hopefully, walk away with good lessons about tolerance, being open minded, and not judging people by appearances. Did I mention it had cute, talking animals?

In theaters ….
I personally love horror films, and “The Conjuring” is one of my favorites. I love a good ghost story, and so I was excited to see “The Conjuring 2” when it hit theaters last weekend. I didn’t expect it to be as good as the first movie. After seeing it, I can now say I really think it’s the best sequel I’ve ever seen, hands down, although I don’t think it was as scary as the first. However, it is still pretty freaking scary, so if you can't handle scary, this movie will make you a nervous wreck. I hope you're not a scaredy cat because I thought it had some excellent storytelling behind it with a strong theme of good versus evil. Mainly, I love the way Ed and Lorraine Warren are portrayed here. I totally want to hang out with these two ghost-hunting investigators! Ed and Lorraine are real people (Ed passed away some years ago, but Lorraine is still alive) and I have studied their cases when doing research for my stories, so I have the benefit of knowing more about them than the general public. I also know the real events surrounding the Enfield Poltergeist case didn’t happen exactly like they are portrayed in the movie — eh, Hollywood, what are you gonna do? — but the way it’s all presented here is masterful storytelling nonetheless. If you like a good ghost story, catch this one in theaters. You won’t be sorry.

What movies have you seen lately that you'd recommend?

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