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What to Watch on Netflix Instant Tonight: Horns (2013)
April 8, 2015 at 9:00 am 0

Editor's Note: This is a new series on Allie Kay Tee that will answer the question everyone asks when they open Netflix Instant: What should I watch?! Instead of agonizing over your decision, just come to Allie Kay Tee and browse the Netflix Instant Reviews category. I've got you covered with reviews of great and not-so-great movies to watch. 

Horns was the kind of movie I really, really wanted to do well.

Director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) brings to life the dark fantasy novel by Joe Hill (son of Stephen King). The story turns our beloved Dan Radcliffe (in this film, Ig Perrish) into the devil -- sort of. Meanwhile, Joe Anderson from Across the Universe plays Ig’s trumpet-playing, coke-addled brother and Max Minghella from The Mindy Project plays Ig’s best friend from childhood and his current lawyer. There are a few girls here and there, but one of them is dead and the other has basically thrown her life away.

Here’s the premise: Ig Perrish is in love with his childhood sweetheart. But then she dies -- at the foot of the treehouse they had been sneaking out to for the past 10 years. Everyone blames him, and then he grows horns. The community made him out to be the devil, so he became the devil, “fallen” from heaven without his angel of a girlfriend beside him. Religious references abound, including Easter eggs like Joe Anderson’s license plate, GEN 138, which refers to Genesis 13:8, which reads, “ And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brothers.”

The horns have magical powers, of course. Can’t have a movie with good ‘ole Dan Radcliffe without some magic in it! They make everyone around him tell the truth.

Old ladies tell off mothers with loud children, and his doctor confesses that he really just wants to get high on cocaine instead of operating on his horns. Ig does everything he can to get rid of them, but nothing works. And then the snakes come. Did I mention he speaks Parseltongue? In the book, he delivers a sermon to his snakes.

I see God now as an unimaginative writer of popular fictions, someone who builds stories around sadistic and graceless plots, narratives that exist only to express His terror of a woman's power to choose who and how to love, to redefine love as she sees fit, not as God thinks it ought to be.  The author is unworthy of His own characters.  The devil is first a literary critic, who delivers this untalented scribbler the public flaying He deserves.

What’s so entertaining about Horns is that it’s absolutely outlandish. You never know what’s coming next (although the big plot twist is pretty easy to spot), and when you think the movie’s over, you check and there’s 20 minutes left. It’s a classic “whodunnit” scenario with a dark twist, and it will make you laugh incredulously.

My main gripe with Horns is that the female characters really were not developed enough, although I'm sure this is the fault of the medium and not the story. I suppose it’s because we’re seeing these women through the eyes of a male character, but Ig’s girlfriend in the flashbacks seems absolutely perfect. His old friend, on the other hand, is a whore (really).

What I like about Horns, though, is that it’s unlike any other horror movie out there today. I don’t need another Paranormal Activity 5; I’m grateful to be able to watch an original story, even if there are a few plot holes, even if it makes you sympathize with the devil. What matters is that it’s entertaining, and one of the few horror movies on Netflix (alongside Oculus) that's actually worth your time.

In short, I know Horns would never win any awards, but it’s addicting to watch. And that’s why it’s on Netflix Instant.

I give it a B-. What would you give it? 

Production Companies: Red Granite Pictures, Mandalay Pictures

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Kelli Garner, Heather Graham, David Morse, Kathleen Quinlan, James Remar

Director: Alexandre Aja

Screenwriter: Keith Bunin; based on the novel by Joe Hill

Producers: Cathy Schulman, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland, Alexandre Aja

Executive producers: Joe Hill, Shawn Williamson, Adam Stone, Joe Gatta, Christian Mercuri, Danny Dimbort

Director of photography: Frederick Elmes

Production designer: Allan Cameron

Music: Robin Coudert

Costume designer: Carol Beadle

Editor: Baxter

Sales: Graham Taylor & Deb McIntosh, WME

No rating, 123 minutes

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The Best Calendar App for Your Money: Google vs. Readdle
Reviews, Technology
The Best Calendar App for Your Money: Google vs. Readdle
April 1, 2015 at 8:30 am 0

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a little obsessive about productivity apps. I've used 10 different to-do list managers. I'm always excited to check out new updates to my tech. I follow Lifehacker, TechCrunch, and Fast Company, and I'm the first to check Twitter during events such as the Apple Watch unveiling. In short, I can't go a day without getting some news about a new way I can hack my life to make it more productive.

I'm sure I could spend a lot of time talking about how I use my to-do lists and what growth hacking tools I use the most, but today I want to do a quick review of a new iOS app: Google Calendar!

In college, I used my calendar all the time. If you accidentally missed as many meetings with professors or advisers as I did freshman year, you'd understand my extreme need for an all-encompassing calendar app.

First, I want to say that I never even considered using the Apple calendar app. I use a Windows computer, so I knew I wouldn't be getting the full benefits of being able to sync with my laptop. I also knew the functionality would be bad, and I really wanted something that would easily sync with my Google calendar, as at the time I managed my a cappella group's calendar, detailing when rehearsals were, when shows were, and when we would be starting new songs and auditioning new solos.

After doing a lot of research and trying out a few calendar apps in my iPod Touch (I didn't have an iPhone because there was WiFi on campus), I decided to pay up for the well-reviewed and beautiful Readdle app. It was $6.99. What I liked the most was being able to color-code events (something a lot of apps weren't offering, for some reason) and view my week at a glance. I synced Readdle with my Google Calendar and that was that.

I've been using Readdle since 2011 and it's worked fine for what I needed. Last year, right around when I graduated college, it updated to "Calendars 5." However, now that I'm in the working world, I've noticed a few limitations. I have to upgrade to create recurring events. I have to upgrade to use my Task Manager. I even have to upgrade to invite someone to an event.

If I remember properly, I paid a good amount for this app in the first place! I was a loyal customer for years before the update. Why should I pay another $1.99 per feature?

So, when Lifehacker posted about Google Calendar finally releasing an iOS app, I was thrilled. I downloaded it right away. Here's how it compares to the Readdle Calendars 5 app -- the version that I downloaded, without the $1.99 upgrades. Keep in mind, these are the most important features to me as a marketer.

Google Calendar Readdle's Calendars 5
Viewing by Week  No Yes
Search Yes  No
Shared Calendars Yes Yes
Recurring Events Yes  No
Location Yes  Yes
Invitations Yes  No
Privacy Settings Yes  No
Integration Yes  Yes
Added Features Pictures Advanced Alert Options
Color-Coded Yes Yes
Price Yes  No

Most of this is pretty self-explanatory, but I do want to highlight a few things.

Viewing

I like to view my whole week's calendar at once, not per day or per month. Unfortunately, Google Calendar doesn't offer that option, although it does come close: There is a 3-day view, a schedule view (which is my favorite so far), and a day view. I would be surprised if they didn't offer a week view or even a month view in the next update. Readdle, on the other hand, can show a list view, day view, week view, and month view easily.

Location

You can add a location to an event in both apps, but the Google app will sync with Google maps to show you where it is, how to get there, and what it will look like. A big added bonus.

Added Features

What I like so much about the Google Calendar app is that it's beautiful and smart. When I write an event with the word "concert," the event shows a picture of a microphone. Similarly, if I write "gym,"  the event shows weights and earbuds. Check it out!

Google Calendar App Review IMG_1923

I wracked my brain for something that Readdle's Calendar 5 app does that's just as cool, but only landed on their advanced alert reminders; you can set alerts for the event time, 1 hour, 2 days, or customize it. Google has the same option, but Readdle offers you the ability to send those alerts via SMS.

And the Winner Is...

Overall, price trumps everything else in my opinion. Calendars 5 is still $6.99, while the new  Google Calendar app is free, and offers many of the same features as well as several new ones. Download it now here and let me know what you think!

Editor's Note: Readdle's Calendars 5 app does offer the ability to create recurring events and invite people in the app that costs $6.99. The added in-app purchases are not showing for me because I updated from a previous version.

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