Once hailed by Newsweek as “the next Spielberg,” writer/director M. Night Shyamalan has more or less been notable over the past decade only for being the butt of many jokes. After the critical and commercial successes of some of his early films, such as The Sixth Sense and Signs, Shyamalan’s artistic vision has only been on the decline ever since. From 2004’s The Village through 2008’s The Happening, and most notably 2013’s Will Smith/Jaden Smith vehicle After Earth, Shyamalan has had a terribly tough time directing or writing a universally-liked movie. Sadly, though quite unsurprisingly, Shyamalan’s newest endeavor — The Visit — didn’t leave me feeling like he is back to form.

In The Visit, 15-year-old Rebecca and 13-year-old Tyler are siblings who go to see their grandparents while their single mother, Paula, goes on a cruise with her new boyfriend. Rebecca is an aspiring film director and decides she wants to film a documentary chronicling their visit, as it is the first time the siblings have ever met their grandparents. Years earlier, Paula cursed her parents and eloped with her then-boyfriend (the father of Rebecca and Tyler), and has had no contact with them ever since, hence the fact the kids have never met their own grandparents. When the kids arrive, their grandparents John and Doris seem like a sweet old couple like any other cozy set of lovable grandparents. It doesn’t take long before “cozy” turns to creepy, however.

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Scream (2015, MTV)

With the recent tragic loss of horror movie icon, Wes Craven, I feel that I have to pay homage to the man who got me so hooked on the thrill of the horror flick. What made Craven’s films so superb was the way the narratives were always laced with ingenious plot points and sharp dialogue that not only exposed the true nature of numerous horror tropes, but also followed these conventions and allowed for the film to hold humor. Primarily, I am speaking of the first horror movie I ever saw – 1996’s Scream.

Scream was the film that chronicled Sidney Prescott as she made her way through high school in the sleepy little town of Woodsboro. Sidney’s mother had passed away and following that Sidney began receiving mysterious calls that before her mother passed, her mother had an affair and that is part of the reason she was gone. The anonymous calls are coming from horror icon, Ghostface. The Ghostface killer is most interesting because as the movie series moved forward, there was not only a new face but a new motive underneath the mask and it was up to Sidney, the survivor, to figure out who it was. Otherwise, she’d die. Read the rest of this entry »

Rachel Steele

Rachel Steele

Hello readers and happy Friday! As with every new semester, we here at Jet Fuel Review see editors come and go. With the 2015 school year upon us, we have a solid group of new members whom you may not even be aware of. They’re all wonderful people, so please help us in welcoming the new additions to our editorial staff for the Fall 2015 semester.

First up is Rachel Steele, a senior at Lewis University who has joined our staff as both Poetry Editor and Assistant Art & Design Editor. Rachel is majoring in English with a focus on the Creative and Professional Writing track, alongside a minor in Chinese.  She is also a tutor at Lewis University’s Writing Center. Notably, some of her own writing has been published in the spring 2015 issue of the Windows Fine Arts Magazine. When she has a few moments to herself, she kicks back with a craft beer and has a Netflix bingeing marathon. Here’s our Q&A with Rachel:

Who are you and what is your role in the Jet Fuel Review?

I am Rachel Steele, a senior Creative and Professional Writing major at Lewis University with a minor in Chinese. My roles for JFR include being a Poetry Editor and an Assistant Art and Design Director.

What book might we find on your nightstand right now?

You would find a stack of books on my nightstand! But I guess at the top would be the summer 2012 issue of Paris Review. Read the rest of this entry »

Hello readers, and welcome back to Sabrina’s Book Corner!

I spent the summer reading any book I could get my greedy little hands on in order to tell you all about them. We are going to start off with one of my favorites, The Selection by Kiera Cass.

The heroine of The Selection, America, does not want to be a princess. The Selection is a competition to win the Prince’s love and become the new princess. To America, this sounds like a waste of time, and this isn’t the life she wants to lead. Besides, America already has her life figured out. She is going to save up money to marry her secret boyfriend, who is in a caste below her, and take care of her family.

Nowhere in her plans did America want to become a princess, but when her secret boyfriend breaks up with her, and her mother pushes her to apply, America finds herself not only applying for the Selection but winning a place. Now she is one of thirty-five girls who have a chance to compete to win Prince Maxon’s heart and become the next princess.

There’s only one problem — America still doesn’t want to be a princess. All America wants is for her heartbreak to end and to go home. That is, until she actually meets Prince Maxon. Maxon isn’t at all who she thought he would be; Maxon listens and is understanding. America could use someone like that in her life.

Hastily thrown into the world of ballgowns and royalty, America finds herself very confused. Could she be falling in love with a prince she swore she wasn’t even going to like? Could she become the next princess? Is that even something she wants? Thirty-five girls are competing for one man’s heart. Who will be the one to win Maxon’s heart? That is something not even he knows. 

Writer Kiera Cass brings us on a wild ride with The Selection. May the best girl win!

That’s all for this week, happy reading!

—Sabrina Parr, Poetry Editor

Welcome, blog readers, to another installment of our weekly Pick-a-Poem feature. Each week, we feature a new poem for you to check out and hopefully discover a whole new poet to read. These poems come from Poetry Daily, which is a great website where you can find a new poem every single day. Today we’re featuring Last Night by Ray Gonzalez.

According to his bio page, Ray Gonzalez has been a prolific writer. He is the author of fifteen books of poetry, three collections of essays, and two collections of short stories. He has also edited twelve anthologies. He has also served as Poetry Editor for The Bloomsbury Review for 35 years, and founded the poetry journal LUNA in 1998. He is currently a professor at The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Last Night by Ray Gonzalez

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Inspiration is a flighty temptress. Sometimes she dips down into your brain and gives you some great ideas, and other times she spends months far away. Sometimes you have to chase after inspiration, searching for posts like this one that will seemingly give you the silver bullet you need to get your writing groove back. You might read a “help me start writing again” book to get your brain started. I’ve done those things in the past, trying to find inspiration so that I can sit down and begin at last. But I think there’s a more obvious answer staring us all in the face. Why not try getting inspiration from yourself?

Think about it, you’ve written before! You may be stuck right now and see no way out, but you’ve gotten out in the past. I’m sure you have Google Drive folders or computer files full of very real evidence that proves you know how to write. Somewhere, there is proof that you can do this. With this in mind, I’d like to propose two new methods of inspiration.

(1) Take inspiration from your past achievements. This one is really, really simple. If you’re feeling particularly stuck, try sifting through your past work. Look at projects that you’ve finished and admire just how lengthy and word-filled those documents are. Reading other people’s work is a great way to get inspired, but reading your own work should be as well. In addition to reminding you that you can, in fact, write, this might just spark a new idea. Even if it’s just a short story or vignette about a character in one of your past projects, that’s enough to get you writing. And once you’ve begun, it’s easier to continue.

(2) Mine your abandoned projects for new ideas. There’s no shame in digging up old ideas, dusting them off, and giving them a second chance. I’ve been trying to think up ideas for National Novel Writing Month in November and this took me back to an idea I started last summer. All I wrote for that idea was a smattering of short stories, but I really liked the characters. Now I think I’m going to use them again, just in a different story. If it’s something you created, it’s fair game!

I hope these ideas help you out as you continue your quest for inspiration. And if you’re already feeling properly inspired, happy writing!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Welcome, dear blog readers, to another installment of the Pick-a-Poem feature here on the blog. Every Wednesday, we choose a new poem to showcase here from the multitude of poems that are available at Poetry Daily. It’s a wonderful site that posts a new poem for you to discover every day, so be sure to check them out. Today we’re featuring Midnight, Talking About Our Exes by Ada Limón.

According to her bio page, Ada Limón has written several collections of poetry, including Lucky wreck, This Big Fake World, and Sharks in the Rivers. In addition, her poetry has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, and American Life in Poetry. Nonfiction essays and articles of hers have appeared in Hemisphere Magazine, Guernica, and VIDA.

Midnight, Talking About Our Exes by Ada Limón

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