Karina Stow

Beautiful Creatures' Alice Englert

Say hello to the newest household name: Beautiful Creatures’, Alice Englert! The little-known Australian actress is slated to become the next Kristen Stewart after the supernatural drama is released this Valentine’s Day.  Here are ten things to know about the brunette beauty:

1.  Talent runs in her family! Both her parents are film-makers, and her mom, Jane Campion has even won an Oscar.

2.  She’s a musician! Her song “Needle and Thread” is featured in her upcoming film Beautiful Creatures.

3.  She’s a high school dropout.  The 18-year-old star left school a year early to pursue acting.

4.  Although many mistakenly believe that she hails from New Zealand, Alice was actually born in Sydney, Australia.

5.  She’s suffered for her art!  While shooting in India for her upcoming film Singularity, Alice spent two days in the hospital being treated for a heatstroke.

6.  If you’re feeling glum about Valentine’s Day around the corner, know that Alice is right there with you! “No one has ever given me a Valentine,” the actress said in an interview with Poppy Jamie.

7.  She’s a world-traveler!  She grew up flying between Australia and New Zealand and her shooting her latest films have taken her to England, India, and of course, the United States.

8.  She’s worked closely with another member of a famous family! She stars alongside the younger Fanning in the film Ginger and Rosa.

9.  Although still a teenager, Alice has been working as an actress for a decade.  At age 8, she acted in the film Listen.

10.  Alice is the queen of accents.  She takes on a Southern one in Beautiful Creatures, an English one in Ginger and Rosa, and an Irish one in In Fear.  Her natural inflection is Australian.
-Karina Stow

MEntor -Teen CEO Tread for Teens

Allyson Ahlstrom has more on her plate than the average high school junior:  she’s a soccer player, a member of the track team, a pianist, and junior class president.  That would be plenty for most, but Allyson made time to found Threads For Teens, an organization that assists less fortunate teen girls in her area, and she now continually finds about 15 hours of her week to devote to being CEO of it!  In January of 2010, the ambitious 16-year-old began Threads For Teens, an organization that provides a customized shopping experience for under-privileged girls aged 13-17 in the Sonoma County area of NorCal who are nominated by a social worker, foster parent, or school counselor.  Each girl receives “two tops, two bottoms, a dress (formal or casual), a pair of shoes, a jacket, two accessories, and other small items”.  

Teen CEO

 To obtain her first donations of clothes, Allyson contacted over 300 clothing companies and a mere few hours later she was able to call Tommy Hilfiger one of her donors!  Allyson originally crammed all her donations into her bedroom, before moving them to a storage space.  The Threads For Teens boutique was born when, in August of 2010, family friends Lori and Bill DenBeste allowed her to use their vacant deli as a workspace.  Threads For  Teens is currently a recipient of  the 2011 National Violet Richardson Award and the 2011 Kohls Cares for Kids Local Award, while Allyson herself has received the 2011 Red Cross Real Hero Award.  The organization hopes to expand and create a scholarship fund.  You can get involved with Threads for Teens by liking their facebook page or by donating a formal dress!  ME sat down with the fab teen CEO to hear the secrets of her success.
ME:  What inspired you to create Threads for Teens? Did you have any mentors who helped you with the creation process?
AA:  I read a book called Generation Change by Zach Hunter. The book was about different service projects teenagers had done. I was incredibly inspired and felt like I could actually do something myself to make a change. Before, I felt I was too young, but after reading that I knew that I wasn’t. From the start, Threads for Teens has been my project, however, I have had support from many different people. The most influential in helping and supporting Threads for Teens have been my parents, and my teacher Ms. Greaney.
ME: What is the number 1 thing you’d like people to know about Threads for Teens?
AA: Threads for Teens is not just about clothing. Threads for Teens is about providing a boost of self-esteem in girls that have been through some extremely tough times. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful.
ME:    What are your personal career goals?
AA:  I have many careers that I would love to partake in. I am most interested in opening my own company, being a politician, or having my own talk show.

ME: How would you describe yourself?
AA:   I am a focused, organized, and dedicated person. At the same time, I am random, bubbly, and positive.

ME: Who inspires you?
AA: God, my parents, and the girls that come to my boutique. All the girls who have been through the boutique have suffered through horrific circumstances, but most have such a strong sense of courage.

ME: Threads for Teens is about providing fashionable clothes for girls your own age. How would you describe your personal style?
AA: Well, I go to a school that requires a uniform so there is not much personal freedom there. When I’m not at school, I like to dress classy and semi-dressy. I am definitely not a fashionista though. Some days, I throw on old jeans and a sweatshirt.

ME: What advice do you have for girls your age who aspire to make a difference?
AA:   Anyone can make a difference. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or where you come from. None of that matters. What matters is your desire to help others. Pin-point what you want to do, and go after it. There are many people out there that would love to help you succeed.

ME:   What are some ultimate goals for your program?
AA:   The ultimate goals of Threads for Teens are to improve self-esteem, provide hope, and give love through gifts of clothing.

ME: What has been the most moving and rewarding experience in your career as CEO and founder of Threads for Teens?
AA: Watching the girls faces as the walk around the boutique, as they come out to show what they have tried on, I love watching. The comments are also sometimes meaningful as well. There are signs hanging around the boutique with messages along the lines of “You are beautiful”. One girl looked at one, and said, “Thank you, no one has ever told me that before.” That is what I am here for, to help boost self-confidence in girls that don’t necessarily have any.

—Karina Stow

Road Trip

With midterms behind you and nothing but school-free days and sunny skies in your future, spring break is the perfect time to hit the road with some awesome tunes and some awesome friends in search of an adventure. But planning the perfect road trip isn’t easy. Here’s what you need to know:

Choosing Your Road Trip Buddies

Regardless of how cool your rommie/sister/lab partner/BF seems to be, you don’t really know someone until you spend multiple hours in a confined space with them and virtually have no way to be apart. Although a road trip can bring you and your friend(s) closer, it could also test each your last nerves, so be sure that they are good road trip buddy material.
Relationship Evaluation
Before inviting someone to join you on the road, evaluate your relationship.  If one minute you’re slamming doors in each other’s faces and the next you’re French-braiding each other’s hair, you may not want them sitting shotgun on your Spring Break trip.  Choose someone with whom you rarely fight with, as arguments in a smaller space escalate much faster.
Driver’s License Please
To be a good road trip buddy, a person must also have a driver’s license. You may think you won’t mind being chauffeur throughout the entire mini-vacay, but you’ll probably get sick of staring at vast expanses of asphalt after a while. Bringing along other licensed drivers will allow you some well-deserved mellow-out time.  A good road trip buddy should also be familiar enough with you that they don’t mind splitting a hotel room, which will help you save your spending money for important things, you know, like that oh-so-adorable snow globe in the souvenir shop.
More the Merrier?
It’s also a good idea to bring two or three people, so that you feel safer in sketchier areas (there’s strength in numbers), unless of course you’re planning a romantic getaway with your significant other. More people also means more fun, but invite any more than four and you won’t get anywhere, because everyone will have a different idea of what to do. You should also consider asking your best guy friend along for the ride, because they make for terrific sleazy guy-repellant.
Pack Heavy, Store Light
People always say to pack light, but being prepared means your suitcase is going to be a little hefty.

Here are few tips for wardrobe packing:


  • It won’t be very convenient to do laundry, so you should bring at least one outfit per day you’ll be away from home.  
  • For days you know you’ll just be bumming it in the car, racking up miles on your odometer, opt for comfort.  
  • Choose clothes with smooth material over itch-inducing ones and if you must pack some pumps, leave them in the trunk until you arrive.  
  • Be sure to have attire for any kind of weather and for any kind of occasion.  
  • Your mom might raise an eyebrow when you pack your LBD, but who knows when you could stumble across a totally A-list event.
  • To keep your wardrobe from hogging all the space in your vehicle, neatly roll up your all your tops and compress as many as you can in the same Ziploc baggy.

Other items on your packing To-Do list should include:


  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight,
  • Non-perishable snacks and water bottles
  • Cell phone
  • Cell phone charger
  • Your car’s owner’s manual
  • GPS   



Busting Backseat Boredom
When packing, you should also consider bringing things to keep you entertained when you’re not the one behind the wheel.  Magazines and books are always a great way to pass the time.  If reading makes you car sick, playing an audio book on the stereo can be a lot of fun.  Somehow, classic novels are way easier to digest and way more fun when read aloud.

If the maturity level in your car is a bit low, embrace it and play some MadLibs (Pro tip: Choosing ‘fart’ for every blank does not guarantee humor). If anyone has an iPad, consider downloading a movie or two off iTunes and have everyone squish in close to view it.
For some free fun, make a list of all the continental US states and give it to each road trip buddy, telling them to check off a state when they see its license plate.  The first person to get them all gets to choose where dinner will be that night and the last person has to fit the bill for said dinner!

– Karina Stow

Photo credit: Patxi Izkue

Katniss and Peeta gearing up for the 'Games'

The premise seemed a little freaky: a young adult novel about teens killing each other, but the controversial story set the world ablaze. Suzanne Collins penned this novel detailing a dystopian future in which, in order to assert its ultimate authority and discourage rebellion, the global government,  simply called the Capitol, randomly selects 24 adolescents to participate in a televised battle in which only one person may emerge alive. The movie further spreads the flame, and does not stray from the raw brutality of the book.

Jennifer Lawrence again plays the role of protector, which she held so skillfully in Winter’s Bone, the Oscar-nominated film that ignited her career. Here, she is Katniss, a commoner, a care-giver to her considerably weak sister and mother, and comparable to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth in fierceness. When Katniss’ baby sister, the saucer-eyed, angelic-faced Primrose (Willow Shields) is chosen for the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place. In doing so, she leaves behind her loyal and undeniably handsome best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and journeys to the strange and extravagant land of the Capitol where she must prepare to enter the Games. To make matters even more unfortunate, one of her competitors is the warm-hearted Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), a boy from Katniss’ district (Hunger Games lingo for state) who once saved her from starvation.

Before the Games begin, we are introduced to an array of interesting characters. Elizabeth Banks, nearly unrecognizable in eccentric Capitol garb, is delightful as the shallow, eerily upbeat Effie Trinket, who represents Katniss and Peeta’s district and to whom the Hunger Games really is just a game. Stanley Tucci is similarly delightful as the bizarrely lovable Caesar Flickerman, a Capitol talk show host covering the Games. Caesar is like a male, blue-haired Ellen DeGeneres, adding an element of fun into a very dark film.

But the fun subsides when the Games begin and the audience is treated to an eyeful of frenzied teens attacking each other to save themselves. Despite its PG-13 rating, The Hunger Games movie does not shy away from violence. Still, this violence is not needlessly glorified. This is certainly not a slasher flick out to shock you with excessive blood and guts.
Shaky cinematography during action sequences successfully conveys the Katniss’ fear. Collins’ best-selling book had the advantage of constant narration of Katniss’ inner monologue, but in the movie, where the heroine’s silence is necessary to her survival, Lawrence must capture all these complex emotions and thoughts solely through facial expression. As she is a talented actress, she pulls it off. The movie also differs from the beloved book by occasionally divulging from Katniss’ perspective. Some motives that were kept a mystery until the sequel are seamlessly slipped in. This alteration may anger fans looking for a word for word adaption, but the majority of the book’s fanbase should be satisfied. The filmmakers may not have stayed entirely true to Collins’ first novel, but they are true to the vivid world Collins crafted. Fan or not, The Hunger Games is a powerful story that’s made an unusually smooth transition from page to screen, and is guaranteed not to disappoint.
—Karina Stow

Ron and Hermione
He’s the peanut butter to your jelly, your late night texting buddy, and your partner in crime.  You two are nearly inseparable, yet both of you constantly put a stop to rumors that you’re dating (You’ve got your “We’re just friends” speech memorized by heart).   He’s your BGF (Best Guy Friend) and every girl should have one.  But what’s a girl to do when she starts wishing that the BGF was her BF?
Confronting your crush could go one of two ways: You transition into an awesome new relationship or you slide into an awkward friendship and you could lose your bestie forever.  How do you discern whether or not to take the plunge?  MyEveryzine’s got the perfect process for evaluating the sitch.
Test the Waters
In ideal circumstances, your BGF will confess that he likes you first, saving you from having to muster up the courage and fear of rejection.  If he does like you, he’s in the exact same mental state as you: Terrified to make a move in case his feelings aren’t reciprocated.  You can subtly assure him that you like him back by packing a little more flirt into your friendship.  Hug him a millisecond longer than you usually do.  Casually grab his arm as you tell him a funny story.  If the two of you typically hang out in a group, suggest a one-on-one friend-date, like a cheesy horror movie marathon at your place (Scary movies are a super sneaky method of flirting, because a part of the brain called the hypothalamus  associates fear with attraction.)
Consider Chemistry
Use this time of pursuit to reflect on how well you guys mesh together.  Is it awkward hanging out with him and only him?  Does he seem at all uncomfortable with your advances?  When your hand brushes against his, do you feel sparks?  Movies often exaggerate about the fireworks you should feel when you’re with your soulmate, but chemistry does exist, and if the two of you don’t have it, you just have to nurse a broken heart for a bit and then get back to being buddies.  
If you guys decide to go from comrades to couple, you’re going to put quite a bit on the line.  Before you put everything out in the open, you need to figure out if you two would make it.  Look out for glaring red flags like him talking to you extensively about a different girl or turning down multiple attempts to keep you company without other friends around.  If he starts acting distant, there’s a good chance you’ve been friend-zoned.
However, if he’s jumping at the opportunity to watch dumb movies with you and pig out with you and your favorite foods, if you catch him looking at you out of the blue, if he texts you back at 2:00 AM when you can’t sleep, this could be the start of a relationship even Ron and Hermione would envy.
Honesty is Key
Once you’ve sat down for a long while and considered if he could really like you and if you could like him, and you’ve decided you two have a really good shot at making it work, it’s time to profess your ‘like’.  Find a time when there’s few other people around and neither of you are distracted.  Just breathe and let your heart pour out.  Tell him that if he doesn’t feel the same or if you two don’t work out, you still want to be his BFF.  
If you do it the ME way, you get a Win-Win situation, either a wonderful boyfriend or a wonderful best friend.  Try and be happy no matter which way it goes, because either way you’ve got an awesome guy in your life that’s got your back.
—Karina Stow
Photo courtesy: Warner Brothers

Fitness February has begun and you have New Year’s resolutions to keep and flirty Valentine’s Day fashions to fit into.  But as everything on television has taught us, you can’t get a thing done without some musical encouragement.  Here’s your workout playlist of the week!

1.  “Intro” by The xx— Start off your playlist with this primarily instrumental melody that’ll have you feeling like the lead in your own movie, right in the midst of a “get fit” montage!

2.  “Good Life” by One Republic Gentle enough for some simple morning yoga stretches, energetic enough to get your primed up for the tough stuff!

3.  “You Make Me Feel” by Cobra Starship Get alert and get your heart pounding with this fast-paced tune, which can guide you through a fast and fierce set of crunches.

4. Buried Alive” by Avenged Sevenfold  Its epic guitar riffs and sultry vocal stylings are perfect for channeling anger and other yucky feelings into exercise.  Beware; the powerful song goes hardcore in its last minute!

5.  “I Choose Happiness” by David Choi All sugar and bounce, ‘I Choose Happiness’ will match your mood exactly when those endorphins kick in.

6.  “Booty Swing” by Parov Stelar Jazz up your playlist and snap out of your mid-workout slump with this cheerful tune that radiates vintage vibes but contains a modern and mood-lifting beat.

7.  “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO  This catchy song has a great treadmill tempo and a nice, even if a bit narcissistic, message.  The lyrics will remind you of the sexy bod you’re aiming for… You work out!

8.  “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros  It’s a perfect soundtrack for jogging around your neighborhood and soaking up all the beauty of the great outdoors.

9.  “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele If the great outdoors is a tad dreary, use this stellar ballad to power through the cloudy February gloom.

10. “‘Till I Collapse” by Eminem and Nate Dogg  Become inspired by this last song to use up every last drop of energy.  Its motivational lyrics will help you endure the final moments of your successful workout.
Karina Stow

 Photo by Petras Gagilas 

Hart of Dixie

Hart of Dixie (CW) Mondays @ 9/8c


Rachel Bilson takes to the small screen once more in the CW’s new medical dramedy Hart of Dixie. Bilson plays Zoe Hart, an emotionally unattached New Yorker who will do anything to become a type of surgeon that the actress herself has trouble pronouncing. When she is denied the fellowship she’s spent the past four years pining for (due to her inability to truly know her patients), she impulsively hops on a bus to Blue Bell, Alabama to take over the practice she has mysteriously inherited. Cue the country music, Southern Belles, and brawny farmboys. 

Hart of Dixie isn’t boring but its unlikable protagonist seems to make the one-hour pilot drudge on. Zoe claims to be serious about her craft, but she regards her superiors as a disgruntled teen would address her least favorite teacher. She speaks to her potential patients without an ounce of professionalism, asking her first, “What’s up, you sick?” Let’s leave the dry doctor wit to Dr. House; It’s not quite as cute on a youngster without the skills or experience to back up the arrogance.The extent of Zoe’s medical vocab is “scalpel.”  Perhaps her casual lingo is supposed to make her relatable, but she has an entitled attitude and a blatant disregard for other people that can’t just be written off as her blind ambition or Manhattan upbringing.

Still, it’s visually appealing to see the wispy Chanel-clad Bilson against the Alabama backdrop, all citrus hues and giant trees. Southern studs George (Scott Porter) and Wade (Wilson Bethel) aren’t too hard on the eyes either.  

The plot itself is a little contrived, but with some more character development, the show has promise. Bilson’s wooden acting loosens up a bit when a soap-opera-type twist at the end of the show finally causes her plastic expression to give way to real emotion.The twist alone has ME willing to give this mediocre-at-best pilot a second chance and tune in next Monday.

Cute couple kissingGraduating high school brings much excitement … and much stress.  You have colleges to choose from, student loans and the haunting question of to break up or not to break up?  Sometimes that diploma can look a whole lot like a death certificate for a relationship with your high school sweetie.  But whether you’re concerned about surviving a long-distance relationship or wondering how sharing the new atmosphere will change you, ME got the scoop on how to make the transition a whole lot smoother.  We put together a panel of high school sweethearts (now married) and got them to share their expert advice on making your love last past graduation!
Think ‘Me before we’ 
Chances are you’ve been told to make sacrifices for love. After all, Bella gave up human life for Edward, Rose gave up a life of wealth for Jack, and Juliet…well, you know.  But the truth is at this point in your life, you should be a little selfish!  As tempting as it may be, don’t settle for a school just because it’s mere miles away from your Boo.  If your dream school or awesome career takes you far away from home (and your special someone), you should pursue it if possible.  If you’re in a supportive relationship, your partner will understand.  Similarly, even if it hurts, try not to be too large of an influence on your partner’s college and career plan.
“Once you start developing a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship…this is your other half and you kind of lose, I think, your identity,” says Micah Elliot, who’s been married to her high school boyfriend, Bruce, for more than 20 years. Micah is a strong believer in independence, pursuing your own dreams before you share dreams with another person. “You have to do things as an individual, I believe, before you can do things together, because you need to figure out what you want out of your life before you can go ahead and say… ‘Would you like to share this particular life with me?’” says Micah, adding that you have know yourself first.
Kristen Harris, who’s been married to her high school boyfriend, Thomas, for two years, has similar advice.  “Be yourself first, make yourself a priority, don’t make your relationship [a priority].”

Take breaks 
“I think we should take a break,” are seven words no one wants to hear.  However, sometimes taking a few breaks can make for a better relationship in the long run.  If you’ve been with someone for the last few years, there are  a whole lot of fish in the sea that you’ve never come in contact with!
Monica Riddle and her husband, Darren, who have been married 21 years and have dated since sophomore year of high school, firmly believe that it is necessary to date other people to affirm that you have found the person you want to be with forever.  They both went on dates in college, but never dated one other person regularly.  Micah and Bruce went the same route, emphasizing the importance of needing to “experience different people.”

While Kristen attended Cal State Fullerton and Thomas worked, the two decided to take breaks from their relationship.  Unlike the other couples interviewed, Kristen and Thomas chose not to date others, using the break more as time to work on themselves.
So what’s best for you and your beau?  That’s a serious talk every couple should have before heading out to college or the work force.  If you’re both comfortable with the idea of dating other people, go for it, and if you’re comfy with exclusivity, don’t fix what ain’t broke.
Be a Wing-woman 
If you and the bf choose to be with each other exclusively, make sure you keep yourself in check.  Sure, get the whole college experience: Study hard and party hard, but when you’re partying it up, don’t put yourself in a sitch where cheating is even an option.
Keep good company. If your best gal pals have boyfriends back home, you’ll be less likely to act like a single girl, and you won’t constantly be jealous of people who do live the single life.  “It’s all in who you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with single people, I’m sure it would be very hard,” says Kristen, adding with a grin, “I was a good wingman for a lot of my friends.”
Accept change
Take a moment to think about what you were like four years ago … totally different right?  Different clothes, different music interest, different views on the world and lifea lot can happen in a matter of a few years, and college is when that gradual process of “growing up” goes for a speedy finish.  So when you’re changing from a fabulous girl to a fabulous woman, make sure you account for the fact that your significant other is going through all the same changes.

“Even though you think ‘I’m gonna be this person for the rest of my life,’ when you’re in high school, you’re not, and neither is the person that you’re with, so in order to make it work you have to respect the changes that they’re making, respect your own changes, and not try to be somebody that you’re not,” says Kristen.  Never pretend to be “old” you, just because that’s who your partner fell in love with. If you’re meant to be, he’ll be just as crazy about ‘new’ you.

Hold the wedding bells for a sec 

You’re certain he’s the one, and seriously considering swapping your grad gown for a wedding gown this summer, or maybe the summer after that. All ME’s couples agree bad idea. “I have a couple of friends who married their high school sweethearts and now they’re getting divorced. It’s sad to see at such a young age… Before you hit thirty, to already have a divorce. They thought they could change the person [their partner was becoming],” Kristen said. “Enjoy your youth!” Micah said. And that’s the bottom line, isn’t it?  As cliché as it is, it’s true: You’re only young once.  As magical as marrying your high school sweetheart can be, it’s also a lot of work.  It takes patience, communication and a ton of luck.

So soldier on or rock the single life, either way the “real world” can be just as full of romance as the halls of your high school.

-Karina Stow

Photo Credit: Ronnie Gavelin

Sparks fly between Thomas McDonell and Aimee Teegarden

Move over, Say Anything and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; there’s a new teen classic in town and its name is Prom. The script, penned by newcomer Katie Welch, is witty, charming and sentimental in all the right places. It’s brought to life by a fresh, young, talented cast including  Friday Night Lights’ Aimee Teegarden and “10 Things I Hate About You’s” Nicholas Braun.

The StoryProm Review 
Directed by Joe Nussbaum (Sleepover, Sydney White), Prom captures every bit of the drama that comes along with high school’s biggest night: the dress hysteria, the decorations and th e pressure it puts on the couples and the singles.  It centers around 14 high-schoolers and their various Prom-related struggles.  The story really begins when all of the Prom committee’s hard work goes up in flames. With a show-must-go-on attitude, Senior Class President Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden) takes on the task of recreating all that was lost with only three weeks left before the big day.  In order to graduate, delinquent Jesse Richter (Thomas McDonell) must help Nova in her efforts to put together a spectacular Prom.  At first, personalities clash, but, before long (Surprise!), sparks begin to fly.  

 The Cast
Aimee Teegarden gives a worthy performance as perfectionist Nova, but the character is a little bit overdone and pales in comparison to McDonell’s rebellious Jesse, who steals the screen with his
brooding brown eyes and smug delivery.  He looks just like a young Johnny Depp (He’s set to play the teen version of the famous actor in the upcoming film Dark Shadows).  This skilled hottie plays Jesse with a whole lot of poise; His lines fall off his lips like he made them up.  McDonell is truly a modern day James Dean, breathing life into a tired cliché; he makes it good to be a bad boy again.  

Getting creative with Prom invitations

Another triumph for the guys is Nicholas Braun as the perpetually dateless Lloyd Taylor.  Lloyd is adorably awkward, a true romantic who lacks in the swagger it takes to pull off the grand gestures he dreams up.  His asking mishaps are some of the funniest scenes in the film, and his quirky portrayal will surely land him comparisons to a young John Cusack.  

The ladies kind of take a back seat in this stud-filled teen movie, but Danielle Campbell’s Simone is a memorable character, mainly because her pretty face gets a lot of camera time.  Her big eyes convey the innocence and vulnerability necessary for her character, a naïve sophomore who hasn’t yet realized she’s totally stunning.  However, sometimes Simone’s innocence fades to plain old vacancy in those giant eyes, and Campbell becomes more of a camera object than a character. 

The rest of the cast do a great job at making this an ensemble movie, really committing to the subplots that make this movie magical.  Mei Kwan (Yin Chang) and Justin Wexler (Jared Kusnitz) successfully portray high school sweethearts struggling to hold onto their relationship as they prepare to enter the adult world of college.  Nolan Sotillo rocks as a baby-faced underclassman Lucas Arnaz, coping with a raging case of love-sickness for the first time in his life.  De’Vaugh Nixon is convincing as Tyler Barso, a conceited athlete-type that’ll seem familiar to anyone who’s attended a high school where jocks rule the campus and the hearts of every girl in the student body.  And Kylie Bunbury’s Jordan Lundley is a breath of fresh air as a popular girl who isn’t blonde, and is collected and confident rather than catty and cruel. 

The Music 
’s soundtrack is another one of its many pluses.  It’s like an iPod playlist stolen from that cool girl in your math class who goes thrifting and can pull off chunky rings and glasses without lenses in them.  The soundtrack of “Prom” is a nonstop indie-fest, with songs by Neon Trees, Passion Pit, Allstar Weekend and more.  The music, paired with powerful cinematography (the happy scenes are perfectly bright, the emotional scenes contrastingly dimmer), makes Prom one of Disney’s best.  

Prom takes the generic good-girl-meets-bad-boy plot and gives us bright young stars, believable chemistry, funny and heart-breaking subplots with the crazy, stressful, expensive and utterly perfect event that is Prom as the backdrop. Prom is a movie that allows us to turn to our parents and say: Hey, your generation may have had the Brat Pack and John Hughes, but our generation came just as close to capturing that entire teen experience in a smart, funny and touching feature film.
– Karina Stow

Photo credit: Richard Foreman Jr. © Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Sam ClaflinYou may already know him as the studly prince from Snow White and the Hunstman, but Sam Claflin is about to win over the hearts of many more a teenage girl as Finnick Odair in the second installment of The Hunger Games series Catching Fire. Finnick is a Games contestant with a swimmer’s physique and a tragic love story.  Like Finnick, Sam is totally crush-worthy.  Move over Josh and Liam! Here are ten things to know about the confirmed Future Finnick:

1. He’s a Cancer, born on June 27, 1986, which for all you zodiac followers, makes him most compatible with Taurus girls and Cancer chicas.
2. He has an accent! Born in Suffolk, England, the 26-year-old has a swoon-worthy British lilt*.
3. He used to be a jock! He planned to pursue a career in soccer (or football, as they call it good ol’ Britain), but an ankle injury kept him from signing on with Norwich City.
4. He knows his craft! The green-eyed Brit graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 2009.
5. He’s an underdog!  Sam has only graced the big screen twice – as William in Snow White and the Huntsmen and as the kind-hearted missionary Philip in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
6. He considered taking on Shakespeare. The actor contemplated touring in a theatrical production of Macbeth, but changed his mind when he was given his role in The Pillars of The Earth. While attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, he played Silvius in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, as well as Dorimant in Man of Mode.

7. He has a heart of gold! On January 14, 2011, Sam participated in Good Morning America’s Warm Coats, Warm Hearts Coat Drive. There’s nothing more charming than a guy who’ll get involved with charity!

8. Along with his role in Catching Fire, Sam is set to act in three films scheduled for a 2013 release: two dramas—Mary & Martha and Belle—and an international thriller called Overdrive.

9. He models too! You can catch him in guyliner, artsy sweaters, and fishnet in series of photos that appeared in the February issue of Wonderland Magazine.

10. Sam beat out actor Max Irons for the Pirates of the Carribean role of Phillip, a young missionary.  You may know Max Irons as the wealthy wanna-be-beau Henry in Red Riding Hood starring Amanda Seyfried.
—Karina Stow

*Lilt: the attractive inflection of a person’s voice. Who said studying for the SAT isn’t fun 😉