Thursday Movie Picks: Affairs

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is about affairs. I swear sometimes I feel like I'm having an affair with my blog. I don't actually tell anyone I know that I do this. There's a lot of great films out there that fit, but I'm going to try to stick with films I haven't used in any of the previous years. Admit it, you were expecting American Beauty to land here?

1) The Good Girl

Until Cake, this was probably Jennifer Aniston's best role. She's Justine, who ends up having an affair with a young colleague that she finds intriguing. 

2) The King

Gael Garcia Bernal plays a young man who goes to look for the father he never knew, only to have that man, played by John Hurt turn him away. So he goes an has an affair with his 16 year old daughter. 

3) Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

Diane's affair with Lionel starts as curiosity and grows into a companionship she craves. Though you feel very bad for Diane's husband, who is a stand up guy through all of this. 

DVD Review: Macbeth

A gifset film...

Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) receives a prophecy that he'll one day become the King of Scotland. His wife, (Marion Cotillard) is on board with this and pushes him to take matters into his own hands, he murders the current king to take the throne, however nothing is that simple.

I read this play in high school, but it was very forgettable. As I was watching this film, some things would come to me. I remembered why I forgot it in the first place; it's pretty damn bleak. The film clearly chose style over substance, which brings me to the title of this post.

This film looks like an extended series of gifsets. They do great things with color and scenery, and all the things I'd expect to see while scrolling through tumblr. It's like this film's only purpose is to be seen in these small, yet beautiful frames by themselves, with nothing to tie them together. 

The dialogue is at times very hard to understand, Fassbender and Cotillard are excellent actors who don't seem to actually be trying very hard. Maybe they realized the film wasn't exactly relying on their performances? The director didn't seem to pay them much mind, so why try? 

Aesthetically, it's gorgeous. Albeit a bit pretentious at times. I was hoping to be proven wrong about Macbeth. That I didn't remember the story because my taste in high school was terrible, but this film did nothing but disappoint me. 

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "We'll not fail." - Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard)

Rambling TV: Game of Da Fuq? Agents of Shipping Trash + more

Game of Thrones
It's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack. This was a sold opener (aside from one thing) that got the ball rolling.

Castle Black
Davos hears Ghost's heartbreaking howling and he finds Jon's body. He, Edd, and some other Night's Watch men get his body into a room and baracade themselves. Throne, like the asshole he is tells the other members of the NW about what he did, and tries to rally them to their side. Davos knows there's going to be a fight. Melisandre takes one look at Jon and leaves, her faith shaken. Edd goes off to summon the Wildlings while Davos makes terms with Throne like a boss. Stannis would be proud. The episode ends with Melisandre's glamour coming off, showing her in her true form...that of an ancient woman. Wow.

Winterfell/North
Ramsay brings his dead girlfriend up to his wife's bedroom. Talks about how much he loved her, then orders the maester to feed her body to the hounds. Stay classy, Ramsay. Roose then keeps up with PA parenting 101 and brow beats Ramsay about losing Sansa and Theon. He ends with the comment that his wife is carrying a son.

Out in the snow, Theon and Sansa are running from the Bolton forces. They go through a freezing river and hide under a tree. Theon hugs Sansa, and it's so sad because you know he's thinking of Robb there too and how he let down the Starks. He offers himself up so she can escape, but just as they're about to be captured, Brienne and Pod show up and kick some Bolton ass. Theon even kills one of them. Brienne swears her oath to Sansa like she did Catelyn, and Sansa accepts. Pod helped her with the words.

Dorne
Fucking Dorne is a catastrophe. Seriously, I get they're trying to get some faux feminism "girl power!" thing going on with the Sand Snakes and Ellaria but it just doesn't work. I see all these jokes on Twitter about the Sham Snakes "listening to Lemonade early." Now. These women aren't empowering. They're going on a stupid revenge story for Oberyn who would not approve of them obliterating his ENTIRE family line, which they did in this episode. Fuck Dorne. I hope I never see it again.
King's Landing
Cersei is practically skipping to the harbor to greet Myrcella and Jaime and I almost feel bad. When Cersei finds out she dies, she tells Jaime of the prophecy of her children dying and how she knows it's now true. We also check in on Margaery in the dungeon, and you can tell she's about to plot something.

Meereen
Tyrion and Varys have some great banter and then all of Dany's ships got set on fire. Whoops.

Dothraki Sea
The Dothraki are pigs. They talk about the most disgusting things and Dany doesn't say anything until the last minute when she makes everyone look like an idiot. I loved that. It's been a while since I loved a Dany scene. Unfortunately for her they're taking her to Vaes Dothrak because that's where widowed Khaleesi's are supposed to live. Daario and Jorah are on her trail.
Braavos
Poor Arya is still blind and getting her ass kicked by the Waif. That water dancing training should be handy right about now.


Better Call Saul

The episode started with this really brilliant shot of Chuck on a gurney that was very unique. I love when they do things like that. The directors of this show manage to seamlessly pull of tricks like that without feeling pretentious.

Let's talk about the tension in the scene where Mike has a gun on the Salamancas. It's amazing how intense that was, even when you know three of those people obviously don't die. 

Then there's the ending. With Jimmy confessing he set Chuck up and Chuck capturing it all on a tape recorder. I hated it. It ruined the entire episode for me. Not only because I saw it coming but because Chuck is literally the worst. I suppose it makes for good drama next season, but it was so typical and that's something Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad rarely is/was.
Agents of SHIELD


Inhumans are boring and they were the main focus of this episode. Every time one of them does something stupid, I secretly wish that an Avenger would show up and put them in their place. It did get more interesting towards the end. Hive, as they're now calling FrankenWard can possess Inhumans, and after a reenactment of And Then There Were None, we find out he got Daisy. As much as I wish they would kill both her and Ward off, they won't. But at least this should be interesting. 

May continues to be my spirit animal asking "what the hell is going on?" 

Malick is dead, at first I thought it was really underwhelming that he died off screen, then they flashed back to it and it was actually fucking gruesome.

Now for the most important part of this episode: FITZSIMMONS! They're finally a canon ship! It was so sweet and laid back and perfect, and I will kill this show with fire if they ever split them apart.

Veep

Holy shit this episode was hilarious. I can't believe how on point the dialogue was. Selena still doesn't know if she won the election or now, she's sending Amy (who recruits Dan)  to Nevada to schmooze some voters that have to revote. Jonah also got demoted which always warms my heart.

Memorable Quotes: "I declare a state of go fuck yourself." "You can't quib, I already fired you, rebard." (Said after receiving a text with a typo in it) "There is now time for some Chinese baby. Cancel it and see if you can get your money back."


Rambling TV is a weekly series where I ramble semi coherently about the things I've watched on television. There's usually wine involved on my part. Click those gifts to be redirected to their makers. 

2016 Blind Spot Series: Au Revoir Les Enfants


What I knew going in: Nothing. I didn't read the plot summary until right before the film started, and I picked it based on seeing it pop up on others' lists previously.

In 1944 France, Julien (Gaspard Manesse) is a young boy sent off to a Catholic boarding school during the war. He could somewhat be described as a "mama's boy." He wishes he could stay with her while his brother François (Stanislas Carré de Malberg) seems largely indifferent to being away. He's a bright kid who also tries to hide the fact that he occasionally wets the bed. But that's not the only thing he ends up hiding. A new student named Jean (Raphael Fejtö) shows up and becomes a bit of a rival to Julien. He's quiet, yet very bright and slightly  better in school than Julien. He soon learns a secret about Jean, and the two become friends.

To put in perspective how good this movie really is, let me tell you about the DVD Netflix sent me. It was terrible. It had a massive scratch in it, but since I'm cutting it close to the end of the month, I watched it anyways. The dialogue didn't always match up to the character's mouths, but that wasn't the issue. The DVD actually stopped in the last chapter. It would not play. I had to search the ending on youtube and use their closed caption translation function. And even with all that, the ending was still profoundly powerful. 

I'm just in awe of this movie. It's hard for kids to carry films, and you can tell Manesse and Fejtö were very green, but they make it all work. Their relationship progression felt natural. It's easy to think "not another movie set during WWII, but this doesn't even feel like that type of movie. It's instead a study on childhood friendships that mold Julien and Jean even during the horrors of war. 

And I'm always here for a teacher referring to a student who wrote an essay as "a bit pretentious." That made me laugh harder than it should've.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A+

Memorable Quote: "Goodbye, children." - Father Père Jean (Philippe Morier-Genoud)

Indie Gems: Shelter

"I used to be someone."

Tahir (Anthony Mackie) is a Nigerian man who is homeless on the streets of NYC. We meet him as he's being released by the police on a disorderly contact warning. He finds his cart and all his thing stolen. He spots another homeless woman, heroin addict Hannah (Jennifer Connelly) with his jacket, and follows her. After a rocky start, the eventually fall in love and we find out what put them on the street in the first place.

At first it's almost jarring to hear Mackie speak in an accident that's not his own. I've grown so used to him in Marvel movies. It's a welcomed change to see him out of his comfort zone. Jennifer Connelly is intense as always. I found Tahir and Hannah's relationship to be very layered. Tahir finds Hannah at rock bottom, rock bottom for being homeless anyways. While they both homeless for different reasons, the way they somewhat connect is heartbreaking.

This is Paul Bettany's directorial debut. He makes a few mistakes, but wouldn't we all? I think he relied on those long drawn out scenes with only music playing a bit too much. At times I always wanted to skip forward until the characters were talking again. But knowing Bettany and Connelly's history of donating to homeless shelters in NYC, I think they treated the subject carefully. They showed how hard it can be, how anyone could end up that way. It felt very sincere in his hands.


Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "So you're not one of those Creationists." - Hannah (Jennifer Connelly) 

Thursday Movie Picks: Astronauts

This week's theme from Wondering Through the Shelves is all about astronauts. You know, that thing everyone wants to be as a kid but few actually do as adults because it's really hard to become an astronaut. Here's three of my favorites. 

1) The Martian

Mark Watney is the king of Mars! The poor guy got left there and managed to survive. Mars fears Watney's botany powers. Hopefully NASA doesn't bill him for the effort to retrieve him...

2) Gravity

If Gravity had a title like Birdman's, it would be "Gravity: Or fuck that, I'm never going to space." Even though I'm not a Sandra Bullock fan, I loved seeing a strong female character lead this film. It's also one of the few movies I think worked in 3D

3) Moon

This film is so underrated and Sam Rockwell deserved an Oscar nomination for this astronaut who has been working on the Moon by himself for three years. It also has twists you may or may not see coming. I certainly didn't, because I actually managed to avoid all trailers of this before popping it in my DVD player all those years ago.

DVD Review: Daddy's Home

The evil step king

Brad (Will Ferrell) loves kids. He can't have any of his own, so when he marries Sara (Linda Cardellini)  who already has two young children from a previous relationship, he thinks he has it made....until the children's absentee father, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) comes back into their life and he finds himself in an awkward dad-off to win the children's affection.

If you've seen The Other Guys, you know Ferrell and Wahlberg have tons of comedic chemistry. Since this film is PG-13, and not an Adam McKay PG-13, it does feel like they're held back a bit.

There's a lot of really stupid things about Daddy's Home. Some jokes are very over the top. There's a scene half way through the movie where both Brad and Dusty attempt to teach their young son how to fight some fourth graders who are picking on him. The pay off of this scene is so hysterical it  almost makes the entire thing worth it.

Truthfully, there's not a lot to say about Daddy's Home. It's nothing spectacular, but I did laugh a few times, and pretty hard during one of them.

Recommended: Yes/No. If you like Ferrell and Wahlberg together, you should definitely see it. If not, skip it. 

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "I can't stay inside the cones, man." - Dusty (Mark Wahlberg)