January Movie Blues

  • January 24, 2017
  • Jenna Maxwell

No, it's not just your imagination. January is notoriously a little bit slow when it comes to new movies. Rarely, if ever, does Hollywood put out a movie during the month of January that completely explodes in wild popularity at the box office. In fact, the movies introduced in January are done so strategically--these are often the films that sometimes the studios have a few concerns about, or they may even consider being a little embarrassing. In addition to little support and a general lack of enthusiasm from the studios, January movie releases come out right during award season, which doesn't help matters. So, if it feels like after you've seen all those new holiday blockbusters that your local theater has pretty much dried up--well, you might not be imagining things. Maybe we just got a little spoiled over the holidays, particularly this year with so many big hitter movies coming our way.So, now it's gloomy January-- what's a movie lover to do? Some films coming out this month that have potential entertainment value and potentially could even be a hidden movie gem. Here's a sampling of what will be showing up at your local cinema during the month of January.

Monster Trucks. If you were to ask a four-year-old what kind of movie he would make given a chance, he might come up with a plot similar to that found in the film "Monster Trucks." In fact, that is precisely where the concept of this live-action, CGI hybrid film came from--as the then President of Paramount Pictures, Adam Goodman, reportedly came up with the idea for "Monster Trucks" with help from his preschool age son. A small fortune to the tune of 125 million dollars was spent making "Monster Trucks." The release date for the film changed many times before the movie finally made its theatrical debut on Friday, January the 13th. The Friday the 13th release date may not have been the only bad omen this film had to manage. When all is said and done, however, it's entirely possible that your kids will like "Monster Trucks" even if you don't. The premise of the movie centers around what would happen if cars were not powered by motors--but rather, they were mechanized by rather gnarly, disgusting monsters instead.(Hey, it could happen and in this movie it does.)

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, duly titled brings audiences the epilog to what has been a long, six film series of video-game-inspired movies featuring some outstanding Sci-Fi thrills. Milla Jovovich will be back to reenact the role of Alice as the film tries to tie together all the loose ends and bring the Resident Evil story home. Although the entire Resident Evil franchise has never been close to critically acclaimed, fans nonetheless love the films. The Resident Evil suite of movies represents the most financially profitable video game-inspired movie franchise to date. If you are looking for some solid winter entertainment, particularly if you are a follower of the series, this movie has great potential and is a must see. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter hopes to wrap the entire Resident Evil lineup with a bang!

If the new January movie releases just aren't getting you excited, fortunately, there is still time to see some great movies that have been released over the holidays and are still playing at your local theater. Some of our do-not-miss favorites include:

Don't let the winter blues get you down! January is a great time to go to the movies. January movie crowds are much lighter than they were just weeks ago, and you never know when that unexpected January film release might unexpectedly turn into a cult classic. What are you waiting for?


Fun Facts About Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

  • January 10, 2017
  • Jenna Maxwell

Have you seen Rogue One yet? If so, you are one of the nearly 500 million people who has already taken part in the first Star Wars standalone film. Since around these parts we are pretty much obsessed with all things Star Wars, we thought we'd pass along a few fun facts and tidbits about Star Wars and the latest film, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."

  • "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is the first Star Wars movie that is supposed to not be an actual part of the original Star Wars episodes. The movie is considered to be the first Star Wars standalone film.  The concept for the story, first envisioned by John Knolls, was pitched to Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy who promptly fell in love with the idea. The rest, as they say, is history.
  • Rogue One is a prequel that in Star Wars history, takes place just before Star Wars Episode IV, "A New Hope." (1977) Rogue One tells the tale of the Rebel Alliance's attempt to steal the plans for the Empire's new superweapon, the Death Star.
  • One of the best reviews of the new film likely came from George Lucas himself who claimed to have loved the movie. Director Gareth Edwards stated, "his opinion means the world to me."
  • Rogue One is the first Star Wars film not to feature a Jedi as the primary character. Darth Vader (an ex-Jedi) does appear in the movie.
  • For the second time in Star Wars live action movie, a woman has the leading role. In "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," Felicity Jones stars as theater Orso.
  • "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is the first Star Wars film not to begin with scrolling text. Didn't you kind of miss it?
  • "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is the third Star Wars film to receive a PG-13 rating.
  • The planet that Jyn is rescued from is called Wobani. Doesn't this sound an awful lot like Obi-Wan? Coincidence? We think not.
  • Without completely spoiling the movie for those of you who have not yet seen it--Princess Leia does have a surprise cameo created primarily with CGI technology. In light of the untimely passing of actress Carrie Fisher who played the role of Leia in the original Star Wars film, this brief moment seemed particularly timely and poignant.
  • What would a Star Wars film be without a companion droid?  In "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" audiences are introduced to a reprogrammed Imperial droid known as K-2S0.

And because we completely love them, just a word or two now about the fabulous Rogue One costumes. From Jyn Erso herself to the Imperial Death Troopers, we think the costumes of Rogue One are amazing. Jyn's Erso finds herself up against the Empire as part of a must succeed desperation mission to steal the Death Star plans. Jyn's attire reflects her bold as well as strong personality, from her rugged jacket to her ever ready belt and holster.

After seeing the movie, you feel in love with K-2SO, right? (Is it weird that we always come out of these Star Wars films in love with the Droid?) K-2SO's costume look is fun and imaginative, just like his quirky, lovable character.

The dark and ominous Death Troopers of the Advanced Weapon Research Division are a highly specialized stormtrooper, reflected in their epic costumes. These Death Troopers have a gleaming dark armor that is in huge contrast to the everyday white stormtroopers we've come to know and love. The Death Troopers are fierce bodyguards to Director Krennic, a highly placed officer in Imperial Intelligence.

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is showing now in a theater near you.


Best of 2016 - The Costume Characters You Loved the Most

  • January 03, 2017
  • Jenna Maxwell

2016 was an interesting year for a lot of things--but in these parts, what we've come to appreciate the most are characters that are not only interesting but who also have their own unique personality and sense of style.  When it comes to getting into character and dressing up in a costume for any occasion, pop culture, television and the movies are one of the best sources for new and fresh character ideas.  2016 was no exception.  2017 will inevitably bring with it a fresh new onslaught of personas for us to fall in love with--but before we get ahead of ourselves, let's take a look back on some of the most popular costume characters of 2016!

Deadpool. The Marvel Comics hit movie "Deadpool" introduced audiences to the irreverent, obnoxious and hilarious anti-hero, Deadpool.  Not your typical clean as a whistle superhero, Deadpool shot some fresh new life into the superhero costume character genre.

Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman.  Superhero costumes are traditionally always popular, but there is nothing like a hit movie to drum up some new excitement for an old tried and truly beloved character.  Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice did just that for these three classic heroes. 2016 was their time to shine.

Game of Thrones. Do we ever get tired of Game of Thrones?  (No.) Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and a huge cast of amazing characters to choose from left costume wearers and fans of the show only one problem--which Game of Thrones character look to choose.

Star Wars.  "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" introduced moviegoers to a whole new batch of epic Star Wars characters including, Kylo Ren and Rey.  And of course, there is still an entire plethora of Star Wars staple characters that are always popular including Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and those ever-ready Storm Troopers.

Pokemon. 2016 shot some new life into the classic Pokemon characters with the introduction of the mobile game app Pokemon Go.  Players of the game were able to use the app to walk streets, suburbs, and neighborhoods in search of Pokemon creatures to capture. 

Captain America.  Captain America is not just another superhero.  Arguably the most patriotic of all the heroic comic book characters ever imagined, Captain America also had his own feature film this year, namely "Captain America: Civil War."   Captain America embodies all that is just, noble and brave--it's no wonder that we love him. 

Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton. Two of the most interesting non-fictional characters of the year came out of this year's Presidential Election.  The two presidential candidates were the topic of nearly every conversation country wide while creating a massive quantity of daily headlines for months.  Donald Trump will be our new president, but both candidates were popular choices for costume dress up.

The Classics:  There are some costume characters that year after year, always remain popular.  This year's most popular classic looks included Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Zombies, (of all types) Pirates, Vampires and Witches.

Harley Quinn & The Joker.  The most popular character duo of the year was arguably Harley Quinn and the Joker; both rebooted in a fresh new way via 2016's feature film, "Suicide Squad." The completely dysfunctional nature of Harley Quinn and The Joker's relationship only added to the vileness of their wacky union.  Add to the mix two unique, simply off-the-charts personal styles, and you have the makings of a costume look that is simply unsurpassed.

And there you have it--2016's most memorable costume characters. We can only wonder what fabulous costume characters may be in store for our entertainment in 2017.

Happy New Year from your friends at Halloween Express!


What To Do With the Post-Christmas Blues

  • December 30, 2016
  • Jenna Maxwell

Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house was a feeling of letdown, from the kids to the spouse. Do you have a case of the post-holiday blues? Let's face it; sometimes the best part of the Christmas season is the anticipation that leads up to it. After weeks of looking forward to the big event, it can be a bit of downer to face the morning after. Do not despair, because the week following Christmas can still be filled with tons of holiday fun. In fact, why not make this the best week of the year?

Go Shopping! The day after Christmas is a traditional time for sales; everyone knows this. Post Christmas shopping crowds can be just as bad as the masses before the holiday, but if you are brave, the deals are out there for the taking. In particular, now is the perfect time to snag a deal on those Christmas d?r items you want for next year, as well as stock up on wrapping paper and other holiday supplies.

Return the Stuff You Don't Want. It may be tempting to wait, but most retailers are prepared for an onslaught of returns the day after Christmas, so returning unwanted gifts the day after Christmas may not be as bad as you think, in fact, it may even be surprisingly easy. If you have the original sales slip or a gift receipt, by all means, bring it to speed up the process. If you just want to exchange your item for something else, make sure you understand the store's procedure for processing the swap before waiting in a long line.

Winter Vacation Fun! Most kids are out of school; some adults have a few extra days off work during the week between Christmas and New Years. Take advantage of this time off now that the Christmas stress is behind you. Whether it be enjoying a day playing in the snow or hitting the slopes, wintertime brings its own brand of fun, so take advantage.

Catch Up On Your Sleep! Maybe you are just exhausted from all the holiday fun. If that's the case, there is no time like the present to plant yourself on the couch and just stay there--for as long as possible. Binge watch that TV series you've wanted to see or check out a non-Christmas movie. (Or twoUr threeu

Blockbuster Movies! Speaking of movies, during the Christmas season, theaters are jam-packed with blockbusters that moviemakers have been timing for a purposeful holiday season release. Get out of the cold and snuggle up with a large bowl of movie theater popcorn and enjoy! Our top movie picks for this winter break:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (November 18)
Moana (November 23)
Passengers (December 21)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Movie (December 18)
Assassin's Creed (December 21)

Visit a Holiday-Themed Attraction! Most holiday attractions and light displays stay open the entire week between Christmas and New Years. Even going to the zoo or an amusement park during the holiday season is an entirely different experience. Many venues are aglow with spectacular lights and d?r. Don't think you've missed out on the fun because Christmas has passed--make your plans and get there before New Years!

Make Your Plans for New Years! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in Christmas that we almost entirely overlook the New Year's holiday. Start planning now for what could arguably be the best party of the year!

Christmas of 2016 is now in the books, but the fun is far from over. Make the most of the special days between Christmas and New Year's and close out this fantastic year with a bang!


Christmas Traditions Explained

  • December 20, 2016
  • Jenna Maxwell

Christmas. It's the most wonderful time of the year, right? Why do you think this is? Well, the answer is quite simple. Much of what we treasure about the holidays lies in celebrating with old time honored traditions. The holiday season, in general, is loaded with all sorts of culture, folklore and annual rituals that are not only utterly awesome but also have been carried on from generation to generation. From Santa Claus and holiday cards to hanging stockings and decorating with holiday evergreens, all the things we do to celebrate the Christmas season have their beginning someplace deep in history.

Santa Claus-The idea of our modern day Santa Claus is based on a real Saint that lived during the fourth century in Myra, or modern day Turkey. The legend of Saint Nicholas tells of his great generosity and devotion to helping children. Many miracles have been associated with the old Saint as he became well known through the ages for his full beard, fabled red cape and many acts of incredible kindness. In 1822, a man named Clement C. Moore wrote the famous poem, "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" (later the title changed to "The Night Before Christmas,") in which the legendary Saint Nicholas was given a new, upgraded visage. In the beloved Christmas poem the description of Santa Claus goes like this:

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot.
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow.
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke as it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly.
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

The new and improved image of Santa Claus did indeed stick. The rest, as they say, is history.

Christmas Trees-Centuries ago in Germany, fir trees decorated with apples were used during a religious reenactment of the events that took place in the Garden of Eden. These unique trees were known as Paradise Trees. As time went on, some German families put these Paradise trees in their home at Christmas time in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ. Remembering the beautifully decorated trees of his childhood, the husband of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, whose homeland was Germany, introduced Christmas trees to England in 1848. The royal family's holiday trees were frequently featured in magazines, and soon the whole idea of a Christmas tree spread widely, the practice becoming very popular amongst the masses.

Christmas Stockings-Ancient folklore tells the story of a widower who was raising three daughters in a small village in Europe. In those days, if a young lady had no dowry, she was unlikely to marry. Since this particular man had little money, he worried for his daughter's futures. As the story goes, Saint Nicholas heard about the family's plight. Knowing that the proud man would never accept outright charity, Saint Nicholas instead went down the chimney and hid pouches of gold coins in the girl's freshly laundered stockings that were conveniently hung near the fireplace to dry.

Mistletoe-The Ancient Celtic people believed that mistletoe had both magical and medicinal powers. Not only did they use this plant to heal various ailments, but they also thought mistletoe was useful in warding off evil spirits. The Scandinavian people thought that mistletoe was the plant of their love goddess, Frigga. This connection may be where the tradition of kissing under a bunch of mistletoe began.

Holly, Ivy and Christmas Wreaths-Centuries ago, in Northern Europe, local villagers believed evergreens to have magical or mystical powers. Because these plants grew and remained green even in the dead of winter, the folks thought that evergreens symbolized the strength found in life. In ancient times, it was not unusual for people to bring pine boughs, holly, ivy or other evergreens inside to decorate and bring a little bit of life and color indoors. Sometimes the evergreens were fashioned into a circular, wreath shape. To the ancient Romans, the wreath symbolized victory. To Christians, the circular shape of the wreath symbolized the eternal nature Christ with no beginning and no end.

Holiday Greeting Cards-In the year 1842, a man named Sir Henry Cole worked at a public record's office, the likely the predecessor of a Post Office. During his tenure there, Sir Henry came up with the idea of creating beautiful Christmas Cards. Sir Henry's friend, a local artist, designed some Christmas themed greeting cards that would be sent out en masse to his many friends to wish them a Merry Christmas.

Candy Canes-When Christmas trees first became popular and widely used, the most common decorations included various sweets, fruits, and nuts. Ordinary sticks of peppermint candy were amongst these tree-ready confections. As time went on, the regular peppermint stick was altered from its traditional straight shape into its current iconic Christmas Candy Cane form. This curved shape is thought to be symbolic of the shepherds crook, paying homage to the shepherds who were abiding in the fields the night of Jesus' birth.