Friday, September 19, 2014

Indie Gems: Breathe In

Growing up and having responsibilities isn't for everyone.

This is especially the case for Keith (Guy Pearce) a musician who dreams of living in New York City again, playing the cello for the NYC Orchestra. Instead he's out living in the suburbs, with his wife, Megan (Amy Ryan) and his 18 year old daughter, Lauren. (Mackenzie Davis) He teaches piano at his daughter's high school, and occasionally subs for the Orchestra. His wife is more realistic about his dream of moving back to the city: They can't afford it. The decide to house a foreign exchange student from the UK, 18 year old Sophie. (Felicity Jones) She's a piano progeny who's unsure of what she wants to do with her life. She and Keith share several sexually frustrated glances, and soon her presence turns into a big problem.

Aside from the fact that Lauren and Sophie apparently attend the Academy of Students That Look Like They're Old Enough To Be Teachers Here, I actually really liked Breathe In. I wasn't expecting too, as the reviews I've mostly read had been mediocre to bad. I can't blame Sophie for having the hots for Keith, I mean look at Guy Pearce, nor can I blame him for not thinking straight when both his wife and daughter don't take his music passion seriously. The whole thing is highly inappropriate, but I really felt bad for all involved. They were all going through different things that escalated fairly quickly.

The music was beautiful, I love all the pieces they chose. This film is very melancholy and might not be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I'd even watch it again. The performances are wonderful.

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I feel like I'm causing so many problems here." - Sophie (Felicity Jones)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Back to School Blogathon

Wendell over at Dell on Movies has another great idea for a blogathon. He asks us to create a class based on characters from different movies. Here are the rules.

1. Choose at least 1 character to fit into each of the following roles:

Administrator (either a dean, principal, head master, or some other equivalent)
Star Student/Nerd
Jock/Class Bully
Popular Girl/Diva
Invisible Girl (aka not popular girl)
Class Clown
Troubled Youth

Of course, include a few words on why each character was chosen.

Some of the categories have slashes because there is a lot of overlap within. However, feel free to break those up to make your class even larger. For instance if you use a jock who is a nice guy, you can also include a bully. As long as you have the minimum number of students and others, your class can be as large as you like.

2. There are NO RESTRICTIONS on age. Theoretically, you can have Zach from Kindegarten Cop in the same class as Rodney Dangerfield's character to School

3. You can use multiple characters from a single movie, but a class must be made up of characters from at least three separate movies.

4. Use movies in which school is an important part of the plot or are largely set in a school.

5. Finally, use my banner somewhere in your entry and link back to this post

Admittedly, not all of the people I chose are from films that were mostly centered in school, but how these people behaved in school largely played a part in each film.

Head Master - Albus Dumbledore from The Harry Potter films - Because who wouldn't want Dumbledore to run your school?

Teacher - Ms. Rain from Precious - Because she had a big heart and a big love for her students, no matter how troubled they were.

Star Student/Nerd - Audrey from Dreamland - Audrey had so much potential judging from all the university acceptance letters she got. But she was too afraid of leaving her family behind to pursue it.

Jock/Class Bully - Stifler from American Pie - He was a bit much in the later films, but he was an amusing stereotype in the first two films.

Popular Girl/Diva - Regina George from Mean Girls - How can I not pick the Queen Bee?

Invisible Girl (aka not popular girl) Jane Burnham from American Beauty - Jane spent most of the movie trying to be invisible until she met Ricky.

Class Clown - Patrick - Perks of Being A Wall Flower - I loved him making all the freshman laugh in shop class, and he became a good friend to Charlie.

Troubled Youth - Dean from The Chumscrubber - He is going through a lot, and to say he's having a fucked up week is a gigantic understatement.

Thanks for hosting, Wendell!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Boardwalk Empire

"Sometimes I find it easier to despise someone than to love them."

That brilliant line was uttered by Van Alden in this week's episode of Boardwalk Empire. I think it sums up his character pretty well. Don't forget to click those gifs to be redirected to their makers.

Van Alden and Eli Thompson were missing from last week's premiere, but they make the most of it in this episode. Eli has turned into a depressed drunk who watches a warehouse get raided. Capone's warehouse, and he loses 20k. He's pissed, and they have to get it back.

Capone is sporting a large scare, and it dawns on me that skipping ahead to 1931 completely misses the St. Valentine's Day massacre, which I thought would actually be a part of the show. 

Gillian is in some kind of mental hospital and bribes a warden into giving her a pen and paper - something she can't have. She's going to write a letter, but we don't know who to.

Willie Thompson, Eli's son is trying to get a job as a lawyer, but whenever he mentions he's from Atlantic City, and that's he's related to Nucky, he gets nowhere.

Nucky goes back to NYC to find out who's trying to assassinate him. He talks to Torrio and tells him he thinks it's Lansky.

Lansky, Lucky Luciano, and Benny Siegal  meet with Tonino (remember, he had a part in blowing up Babette's last season and killing Nucky's girlfriend, Billie Kent) and discussion their issues with Nucky.

Later, Tonino goes to Nucky and tells him Lansky and Luciano were responsible for the hit, then he offers to work for him, because he thinks they're going to kill him soon anyways. Nucky tells him to tell his bodyguard where to find Lanskey, and the episode ends with Tonino dead on Luciano's doorstep with his ear missing, and a knife in his back with a postcard from Havana. 

This week's flashback to Nucky's childhood included his sister's death, the commodore coming to pay his respects, and Nucky's dad being a general asshole and drinking their money away so they don't have the funds to bury her properly.

I really liked this episode. It had a lot of build up, and seems like it will set the stage for many things. Plus it posed many questions. No Chalky this week, but he's in next week's preview. Willie is kind of a wild card, I wonder if he's going to rat Nucky out at some point? His family did get torn apart.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review: The Double

It takes two.

Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) might as well be a living, breathing door mat. He lets everyone walk all over him. He's been at his job for seven years, yet everyone thinks he just started. He has a crush on his neighbor/colleague Hannah (Mia Wasikowska) but won't do anything about it. Then one day his exact double shows up in the form of James Simon. He's calm, collected and wins over everyone around him. Simon knows he's got to go.

I never read Fydor Dostoevsky's novel, on which this is based on. Something tells me this would be better as a book than a film. I liked the tone, it was very dark and eerie but the pacing was terrible. It's almost painful to watch Simon try to make it throughout the day, I just wanted to tell him to "hurry up" half the time. It makes the film feel much longer than the hour and a half it really is.

I see online this draws a lot of comparisons to Enemy, another film in which the lead character finds his exact double. That's about all they have in common. Enemy was fantastic, and this shouldn't be in the same sentence. It's a shame too, because I love Eisenberg and Wasikowska, and they were good here, the film itself just didn't back them up.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "Defense wins championships." - James Simon (Jesse Eisenberg)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Indie Gems: Dom Hemingway

"Jude Law is Dom Hemingway and you're not."

That's the tag line for this movie and it's awesome.

Dom (and his unfortunate hairline) is a thief who just got out of prison after 12 years. The first thing he does when he's free is promptly beat the shit out of the man that his wife married while he was locked up. He then meets up with his former partner, Dickie (Richard E. Grant) who goes with him to collect money he's owed from Mr. Fountaine.(Demian Bichir) But Dom's attitude is never good and things are not as easy as he'd like them to be. He's also estranged from his adult daughter Evelyn (Emilia Clarke)

I honestly think this is the best performance Jude Law has ever given. Dom is kind of larger than life in a way. His temper is short, he frequently loses his shit and his ego is massive. Law is so charismatic that I actually felt myself rooting for Dom towards the end, even though his character is awful. The film itself loses steam as it goes on, but it's never unwatchable. This film demands to be seen for Law's performance. Plus, who knew Emilia Clarke could sing?

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "They should study my cock in art classes, spend whole courses studying the splendid contours of its exquisiteness, don't you think?" - Dom Hemingway (Jude Law)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

DVD Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

Expectations vs Reality 
all vampires have dry, teased hair. meanwhile Yelchin does his best Rory Culkin impression

I had really high expectations for this film the minute I saw it was in production. Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin? Sold. I expected it to be fascinating and sexy but by the time I actually got my hands on it, I found nothing really happens in this film at all.

Adam (Hiddleston) is an old vampire living in Detroit. He's a text book emo who makes music, but doesn't want it to get "too mainstream." He hates his life, refers to humans as "Zombies" and contemplates suicide. His wife, Eve (Swinton) who has been living in Tangiers pays him a visit to liven up his mood. According to most summaries of this film I've read, all is going well until Eve's little sister Ava (Wasikowska) shows up and disrupts everything.

I point that out because I thought it was going to be a big part of the movie, when in reality, Ava is part of the story for roughly 10 minutes. She shows up, is a pain in the ass and leaves. Then Adam carries on being emo and Eve carries on trying to put up with it. The film just wasn't that interesting. It didn't even have the decency to give us a Adam and Eve sex scene. Instead, we just have these characters drifting by. The film shows hints of promise, but never actually follows through with any of them.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "What do you expect, he's a musician?" - Eve (Tilda Swinton) 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Boardwalk Empire, 19 Kids, and why Lifetime is awful.

Now that True Blood is done, I won't be giving full recaps until The Walking Dead comes back, so here's some quick thoughts on what I watched on TV this week. Click those gifs to be redirected to their makers, as always.

Boardwalk Empire

The final seasons jumps ahead seven years to 1931. Much has changed.

Nucky is in Cuba with Sally trying to finalize a deal with the man who owns Barcardi rum. He wants to sell it in the U.S when it becomes legal again. (Or still while it's illegal. Whatever) He runs into Meyer Lanksy, who says he's on vacation with his wife. They haven't seen each other since "A.R's funeral" (In real life, Arnold Rothstein died in 1928) Later, a machete wielding assassin tries to kill Nucky, when his body guard disposes of him (after cutting off his eye and keeping it) Nucky approaches Lanksy's wife and finds out she's just a prostitute. Did he order the hit? 

Chalky is in jail, but we don't know what for. Later, some other prisoners attack the guards, and he's able to escape. Another prisoner chases him down and asks him questions about telephones, then they escape together. 

Margaret is still working at the stockbroker's office in New York, and during a pep talk to her and all of her colleagues, he blows his brains out in front of anyone. Soon Margaret is being bombarded with questions about her boss, and a key to a file cabinet that she claims to not know where he kept it. Later we see her pulling out Arnold Rothstein's folder before someone interrupts her.

Also in New York, Luciano (Who Meyer said earlier that he didn't really speak to anymore) is talking with Joe Masseria. He leaves to use the restroom, and shots ring through the restaurant where they were sitting. When he comes out, we learn he's ordered a hit on Masseria who's lying dead on the floor. He's then made head of this area by his boss in a very formal Mafia ceremony. 

Throughout this episode, we were treated to flashbacks of Nucky's childhood and when he first met the Commodore. It reminded me a lot of the flashbacks True Blood did with Bill Compton this year, the only difference was that these were actually interesting. I'm actually looking forward to more of them, I wonder if they'll ever include Jimmy?

No Van Alden, Eli, Mickey, or Capone this week. But it looks like we'll see them next week.

19 Kids and Counting

This season opened up with Jill planning her wedding. She still acts like a 16 year old girl. (Not her fault, her parents shelter her)

Jessa's teenage boyfriend is going to move into a "guest house" on Duggar's property so that they can be closer. By "guest house" I mean a windowless room in a shed on their property. He's also going to work for Jim Bob. For those of you keeping track, this kid is leaving his home and his college life to be Jim Bob's bitch boy before he marries his daughter.He also gets a curfew. Are they both going to live in the guest house after the wedding? This job can't pay well enough for a house.

Jill and Derick get to "house sit" a mansion after they're married. Josh and Anna looked so jealous at this news. They only got a 960 sq ft house. Poor Anna probably wishes she could've given birth on the master toilet instead of the one she actually did give birth on. On live TV. I find this amusing because it seems less about Jim Bob being helpful to the couple and more about him continuing to control them. 

None of the girls are wearing shoes in a warehouse they're cleaning. Even though they mention finding a dead rat. Wtf.

Poor Josiah is still at the Christian Militia boot camp, and only got a face time appearance here. Sad. 

The Brittany Murphy Story

 I only saw the first 10 minutes or so, but just seeing the title of this film on my TV Guide made me have a huge problem with Lifetime. What's with all these unauthorized biopics? Looking into this a little more, the entire movie was shot in 16 days and the lead actress (who looks absolutely NOTHING like Brittany Murphy) was given 2 days to prepare. What's the point? You want to tell her story, get permission, take the time to prepare, find someone that at least resembles her. Or you know, just don't do it at all.