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Mar 14 2017 2:30pm

“Hello, Brother”: The Vampire Diaries Series Finale Brings Damon, Stefan, and Elena Full Circle

Saying Goodbye to The Vampire Diaries...

When The Vampire Diaries premiered on September 10, 2009, I had no idea what to expect. Lots of sexy hookups and action shots? Probably. The promotions leading up to the event - specifically posters of a gorgeous brunette flanked by two chiseled hunks—did little to dissuade my opinion, and I figured that, like most teen dramas on the CW, The Vampire Diaries would fall under the “guilty pleasure” television category. 

Oh how wrong I was...

Thanks to a bevy of explosive cliff-hangers (“hello, John; goodbye, John”), complex antiheroes (two words: Klaus Mikaelson), and witty one-liners that packed plenty of bite (snarky Damon forever), The Vampire Diaries never failed to entertain me over the course of eight glorious seasons. But as much as I relished all the decade dances, swoonworthy declarations of love, and constant references to Stefan's “Hero Hair,” The Vampire Diaries' poignant exploration of the transformative nature of grief remains its greatest strength for me. Even when the usually fast-paced storylines started to get bogged down by convoluted mythology and plot holes emerged, when vengeful monsters ran amok and Matt Donovan suddenly became the only non-mystical person left, one thing always resonated with me: TVD's ability to delve into the most somber aspects of the human experience and turn them into stories that inspire and engage.

[Read more...]

Feb 27 2013 1:00pm

Post-Twilight Speculation: Will Stephenie Meyer’s Vampire Saga Be Continued?

Doesn't anyone miss me?

Months have passed since Bella and Edward sparkled forth into the sunset (with their precious half-immortal daughter, Renesemee, cradled beside them, of course). But despite the Cullens' happily ever after ending, whispers that Stephenie Meyer's popular franchise is far from over have begun circulating throughout the Twilight community.

So are the rumors true? Will there another book or, at least, a follow-up to 2012's Breaking Dawn Part 2?

[No, the Fifty Shades Movie doesn't count...]

Nov 15 2012 5:30pm

How to Prepare for Breaking Dawn Part 2: A Viewer’s Guide

How do I feel about the release of the final Twilight Saga movie, Breaking Dawn Part 2? To quote Bella Swan, “Happiness expanded like an explosion inside me – so extreme, so violent that I wasn’t sure I’d survive it.” Basically, spontaneous emotional outbursts are to be expected in the midst of all the excitement.

Therefore, to prevent myself—and other appreciators of the series—from entering a state of utter hyperventilation, I put together a guide on how to battle all the intense feelings that might (aka WILL) arise while viewing the last installment. (Also included are shameless tips on how to make the most of this experience so that you properly relish each moment of this pop cultural event.)

1. Reread the books. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a fervent supporter of Stephenie Meyer's books. After the first one, their ability to mesmerize me waned. To be frank, I don't even remember what happens in the last book,  which is why it's more important than ever to brush up on all the specifics you may have overlooked while skimming through the muddled plot. Knowing what the shielding power does, who the Volturi members are, what sorts of harrowing situations Alice foresees, and what each character's back-story is will not only make for a better viewing experience but you can also rattle off the details all cool and casually so as to impress your amigas.

[Cool and casual with the background info: Check. What's next?...]

Apr 21 2012 4:00pm

Julian Fellowes’ Titanic Miniseries, Episode 2: Cutting Corners and Cheating the System

Jim Maloney slogs through water in TitanicThe second part to Julian Fellowes’s Titanic miniseries is full of surprises...or, to be honest, just one. But it’s a doozy. It opens up in Belfast rather than Southampton and the ship is still moored at the dock. As political tensions rise, a group of protesters assemble to shout atrocities at men walking into the Harland and Wolff shipyards to work on the Titanic. The year is still 1912, but the ship is in the final hours of construction. And, unlike the first installment, the second part is more anticipation, less yawning. Why? Well, because viewers finally get to see something that James Cameron’s version never showed—the actual planning and shortcuts that were implemented!

One of the more exciting aspects of Titanic Part 2 is that Fellowes’s storytelling finally begins making sense. Viewers finally get to learn more about two of the upper servers and some of the other passengers, not just the upper crust. The first part was quick and uneventful (even with the bloody ship going down less than three quarters of the way), but the second episode highlights the aspects that make Downton Abbey so delicious—all the social mores and class struggles often associated with that time period. And brazen American actresses and “new money ladies” aside, the redheaded Irish Catholic families are the ones lugging around some heavy baggage in episode two!

[Finally, some soapy deliciousness...]

Apr 13 2012 11:30am

Julian Fellowes’s Titanic, Episode 1: More Sink than Swim

Julian Fellowes’s Titanic posterTitanic was called the ship of dreams. And it was. It really was,” a 100-year-old Rose Dawson Calvert gushes in the first few minutes of James Cameron’s epic yet tragic love story about the fated steamship. And, almost immediately, the film hurtles back through time just as the RMS Titanic is ready to set sail on April 10, 1912, from Southampton, England. Viewers witness the doomed liner’s gleaming beauty and size of epic proportions as young Rose peers up from beneath her hat’s wide brim and soaks in the wondrous sight. But while the majestic ship itself is clearly the main attraction in Cameron’s reenactment, it’s not so much in Julian Fellowes’ four-part ITV miniseries (produced by Bleak House mastermind Nigel Stafford Clark) that will soon air on ABC in the U.S. Instead, in the Downton Abbey creator’s version, the maritime catastrophe itself takes a modest backseat to the social mores, class interactions, and stiff Edwardian tendencies of that period.

[Hey, it happens...]

Apr 8 2012 3:00pm

Nicholas Sparks Pie: A Love Story Recipe

The Lucky One movieThe swoons. The tears. The heartache. If you’ve ever indulged in a Nicholas Sparks creation, then you’ve most likely experienced all three back to back. So how exactly does this Nebraskan love story enthusiast infuse so much feeling into each page of his romantic treasures —-tales so precious and rare that they (according to him at least) surpass any Shakespearean and Jane Austen masterpiece? Although following in the footsteps of the author of The Notebook, The Lucky One (made into a film that’ll be in theaters April 20), and A Walk to Remember sounds daunting, we’re here to tell you that it is possible...with the right ingredients, of course.

When followed to a T, the perfect love story recipe can produce potent, delectable stirrings (think long walks in a lush garden, breezy Sunday afternoons, and red-hot kisses in the rain). When altered slightly, though, it could have disastrous results and leave readers irate or wallowing in despair. Fret not, though, because we’ve jotted down each specific step just for you. Do follow closely!

[Now we’re cookin’ with gas...]

Nov 19 2011 3:00pm

Hottest Werewolves in Hollywood: Alcide, Corvin, the Teen Wolf, and More!

Benicio del Toro and Emily Blunt in The WolfmanVampires and their neck-plunging ways may be the bees knees now, but werewolves are closing in on “Hottest Monster” territory. Why are werewolves the latest (and sexiest) supernatural craze? Because they’re fierce, magnetic and totally irresistible (yes, even with all that fur)!

Check out a “Top 10” list of male werewolves so fine, they’ll have you howling with delight:

Benicio del Toro as Lawrence Talbot in The Wolfman: The plot for this reboot came up a little short, but Benicio’s turn as a brooding werewolf thankfully livened up the screen. So what makes Benicio as Lawrence Talbot stand out from the pack? His poignant struggle to control the beast within, that’s what. While many men would have found their newfound strength intoxicating and would have wreaked havoc on neighboring towns, Lawrence put in considerable effort to ensure that his transformations did not result in a high deathtoll. (Um..can you say selfless and honorable?) Any man who can pull off wearing a white billowing shirt while baying at the moon seems like one worthy of affection!

[Hey, there, wolf boys...]

Jun 11 2011 11:00am

The Brother Lover Dilemma in DeVa Gantt’s Colette Trilogy

Elena, Stefan, and Damon in The Vampire DiariesWhereas most love triangles (i.e. Pearl Harbor and The Notebook) feature a woman having to choose between two different guys, few actually tell the tale of a heroine trapped between two brothers.

There are some stories that focus on “brother loving”; Moonstruck (starring Cher and Nicholas Cage), is a film about an Italian woman who falls for her fiancé’s foul-mouthed, crazy brother. And let’s not leave out the hottest supernatural triangle that keeps it all in the family, namely the one where Elena Gilbert falls for brooding vamp Stefan Salvatore, but cannot deny her attraction to his equally alluring older brother Damon in the Vampire Diaries. Still, brother lover plots are rare treats!

[Treat me!...]

Jun 3 2011 4:00pm

Dance Movies That Give Romance a Good Whirl

Save the Last DanceDance movies usually follow a standard, cookie-cutter formula:

1. the protagonist experiences a big move, far away from home

2. He/she is a social pariah in his/her community

3. He/she finds love and friendship through some salsa, rhumba, ballet, hip-hop…you name it.

These movies usually twist their basic plot ankles and fall flat in terms of believable romance. But there are some movies out there that truly know how to steam up the rehearsal room (and our libidos) with authentic chemistry. Here are my top three picks for dance movies that swept me off my feet with their suave love moves:

1. Save the Last Dance: A Caucasian girl moves in with her estranged father in his hood apartment after her obsession with dance/spoiled brat tantrums causes her mom to die in a car crash. She vows never to pirouette again. Seriously? Literally, when the movie opened with this scenario, I wanted to scram from the theater. How annoyingly cliché, I thought to my teenaged self.

[How it ended up in the Top 3...]