SPOTLIGHT: Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst is so much more than Mary Jane Watson.  Yes, Spider-Man’s muse is her most famous role, but Dunst gives terrific performances in several other lesser-known films.  She uses her expressive facial features to convey unbearable sadness as well as inescapable joy.  Though her career is thought to have ended when the Spider-Man franchise went up in flames after the third installment, she’s been doing some of the best work of her career since then.

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Five movies to watch with a group

As the summer months begin for college students across the country, one of the movies’ prime profit seasons is upon us.  People go out in droves to see the latest Hollywood blockbusters with their friends.  Those art-house films of the fall stay on the shelves, as people enjoy big-budget entertainments with their friends and family.  Here then are my five picks for 5 movies that are enhanced with entertainment when you watch them with other people. Whether they make you laugh, cry or drop your jaw in amazement, you will either enjoy these movies better with a group or be able to endure them better because you are with other people.

1.  Superbad- Perhaps the most defining comedy of this generation, the outrageously explicit comedy from director Greg Montolla stars a teen comedy ensemble on rank with that of The Breakfast Club.  The laughs are constant as three friends try to score booze for a party in order to get laid.  That may turn off many sophisticated, stuffy types, but more honesty is fleshed out over the course of these two hours about the modern teen condition than almost any other movie made for that audience.  Add in the iconic McLovin’, and you have a non-stop laugh riot that will endure for years to come.

2. Kill Bill Vol. 1- Though it’s hard to put this movie on a list without its equally excellent Vol. 2, you cannot deny the crowd-pleasing intensity of Quentin Tarantino’s genre-blended bloodbath.  From the beginning, you get one of the most well constructed action films of the past 20 years as well as a story simple enough to keep track of while still chatting with those around you.  If the gory showdown at the House of Blue Leaves doesn’t have everyone’s jaw dropped by the end of it, you’re probably hanging with the wrong crowd.

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Image courtesy of Ace Show Biz

Drag Me to Hell
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Written by: Sam Raimi & Ivan Raimi (screenplay)
Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, and Adriana Barraza

Horror comedy may be the most difficult genres to mix together successfully.  You wouldn’t think that, as these days horror movies like the Saw series are laughable and the endlessly cliched comedies become more horrendous.  Sam Raimi, however, has proven himself a master of the genre.

Before he “sold out” (brought life) to the first two Spider Man movies, he was nothing more than a low-budget director of horror comedies that collected a cult following that included some unashamed critics.  With Drag Me to Hell marking his return to that genre, consider me one of the recently unashamed.

Not only is this one of the funniest films of 2009, it’s also one of the grossest and even scariest.  With most directors, you either lean on the horror or the comedy, but Mr. Raimi walks the tight rope of both and succeeds admirably.  His film is relentlessly entertaining.

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