Indie Gems: All The Days Before Tomorrow

Somewhere out there...

Wes (Joey Kern) and Alison (Alexandra Holden) should probably be lovers. Instead they've been best friends throughout the years. Their travels have kept them apart as they drift from place to place, adding experiences to their lives. Alison is about to leave for Tokyo in the morning and pays Wes a visit. We then get flashbacks of what their lives were like together leading up to this moment. We also get a glimpse of Wes's dreams, that are often in black in white, in Pakistan, and involve someone known as El Doctor (Richard Roundtree)

I was actually quite impressed with Joey Kern here. I haven't seen a lot of his work, but whenever I do all I can think about is him getting arrested in Super Troopers. The dialogue was a bit dodgy at times, but the movie felt like a dream. These two people had been to places like Brazil, New Zealand, Japan, places I can only dream of. So the flow of the movie worked really well. It was almost like we're looking through Alison and Wes's own personal photo albums and we're rooting for them to discover each other along the way.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "She looks so happy." - Alison (Alexandra Holden)

Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

Stay after the credits for an Avengers sneak.

The way the film makers went about Captain America feels different than the other super hero movies we've seen lately. Instead of bad CGI and over doing fight scenes they shifted their focus to Captain America's character. Who he was beforehand, his morals, his good heart.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, apparently not getting his comic book fix since The Fantastic Four) is a scrawny, sickly, young man who just wants to fight for his country. He's tried to enlist several times during WWII and keeps getting denied. By chance he meets Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci) who recruits him anyways. He's helping build a new breed of soldiers, and he needs someone with a good heart to fill the spot. You see, they've failed on this once before. Johan Schmidt (Hugo Weaving, apparently not getting his comic book fix since V for Vendetta) was part of this project, but he's now using his power for greed and evil. Rogers must stop him. After his transformation into Captain America, with the help of Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and Col. Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones, apparently not getting his comic book fix since Batman Forever) he's off to fight in the war and save the world.

The movie really captures the feel of the 40's. The cinematography is excellent. (though the editing at times is a bit jerky) They didn't overdue the special effects like Green Lantern did. Even though this movie was made to set up The Avengers, it didn't feel like a stepping stone like Thor. Thor didn't have it's own legs to stand on, Captain America does. It could survive on it's own. If you've seen The Hulk, then the ending shouldn't come as a surprise. The acting is decent, though I'm still a bit annoyed that Chris Evans is playing two different Marval characters. It's definitely the best super hero movie to be released this summer. As expected, 3D is completely pointless. I actually left the movie with a horrible headache. That was the only downfall.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "I do not have procedure tomorrow. Drink it tomorrow, I'll drink it now." - Dr. Erskine (Staney Tucci)

My Entry for The Greater Good Blogathon

Univarn over at A Life in Equinox had a wonderful idea:

"Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to forever alter the course of cinema as we know it. You have the opportunity to wipe one film from the history books entirely. Our unique time-blending technology has created a wormhole through which you can simply delete the existence of any film ever made. However, you should not underestimate the sheer power that comes along with such a decision. Even the tiniest of ripples could mutate our understanding of cinema as we know it. So, what will you do? What careers will you make or break in the process? The time for your decision is at hand."

 

I've seen a lot of movies that I wish have never happened. The problem I kept running into was either 1) They were based off of a book, so wiping them wouldn't really help because the book would still be around. (Old Yeller) 2) They were so little with completely unknowns that I didn't see much of cinema being altered at all. (House of the Dead) 3) Where would all those wonderful bad movie lists be without them? (Read: Showgirls, Teen Wolves and Astro Zombies) So I decided to pick a movie that most people enjoyed, but one that I think would greatly benefit cinema today if it didn't exist.


The Movie I Destroyed: Avatar

My Intended Outcome: 1) 3D Cinema would not be as popular. I solely blame Avatar for the reason so many movies are made in 3D. If this film had not grossed billions of dollars for 3D tickets, other film makers and studios wouldn't feel it is necessary add on to their features. It would be limited to strictly animated films and maybe a few campy horror movies.

2) Director/douche James Cameron would get off his high horse. This man now has the two highest grossing movies of all time under his belt and he's not going to let anyone forget it. He called himself "The King of the World" when he won an Oscar for Titanic and openly bitches about other films being inferior to Avatar. He says movies like Piranha 3D give 3D a bad name. Actually, that movie probably used it better than 90% of the other ones that are released. And most of that had to do with a flying penis. He insinuates that Kathryn Bigelow deserves her Best Director Oscar not for the fact that she's the best, but because he already has a few. This guy's ego is seemingly never ending. 

3) Had this film with the world's most generic plot line never been made, we wouldn't have to suffer for the two more installments that are already in pre-production. Avatar under water? Oh the possibilities! Who's plot will you steal now? The Little Mermaid? Journey to Atlantis?

The Actual Result: Hopefully my intended outcome would actually happen, but a few other things would be:

1) No awkwardness in the Best Director category at the 2010 Oscars. That would be a shame, I found it pretty amusing.

2) Sam Worthington's career may not have taken off like it did. Personally, I like his smaller indie films like Somersault far more than his big name action ones. He has something special, but now he feels generic.

3) Zoe Saldana's career might be different. Sure, she had Star Trek before she had Avatar, so maybe she would still be where she is today. She had five films released in 2010 alone. I don't see the appeal for her.

4) The people on the Avatar Forums thread: "Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible." Wouldn't have a place to express their feelings and share their depression of Pandora not being real. See what I mean?



Indie Gems: All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

A feature length music video.

That's what the film felt like at times, but it is in no way a bad thing. All My Friends Are Funeral Singers is actually a side project by the band Califone. They even have an album of the same name, though it was released earlier. Director Tim Rutili is also in the band. They tour with both their film and album together, often playing the film's score live.

Zel (Angela Bettis) is a lonely fortune teller living in a house that she inherited from her grandmother. Not only did she inherit the house, but also several ghosts that live there. They assist her with her fortune telling, help her speak to those in the afterlife, but once they realize they can't leave they begin to turn against her. Zel isn't the one keeping them there, but while she doesn't want them to leave she has to find a way to help them.

Earlier I said that the film reminded me a lot of a music video. This isn't just because Califone plays throughout. It has a lot to do with the way the film drifts from scene to scene. There's a dreamy feel to it. With all the ghosts dressed in white, the use of the lighting and the camera angles. It all feels like a dream. I thought the story was creative. The performances were weak, I've never been a fan of Bettis' work but the director makes them enjoyable. Many will say this film is only for fans of Califone, but I do not agree with that statement. I think any fan of Indie films can appreciate this.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "It's not me that's keeping you here. You're doing this to yourselves." - Zel (Angela Bettis)

Review: Happythankyoumoreplease

No, thank you. Keep it.

Forgetting to use the space bar when naming your film grabs my attention, but poor performances from your lead actor and a weak script are certainly not going to keep it.


The film centers around Sam, (Josh Radnor) a struggling writer living in New York City. He finds a child alone on the subway and attempts to take him to the police station. The kid won't go, so Sam decides to let him tag along. Through Sam we meet his other friends. Mississippi, (Kate Mara) a bartender/cabaret singer that Sam starts to date. His best friend, Annie (Malin Akerman) who's looking for men in all the wrong places when a perfectly good suitor is practically begging for her attention. Then there's Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan) and Charlie (Pablo Schreiber) who disagree about moving to Los Angeles and starting a new life there.

The only thing I've seen Radnor in prior to this is How I Met Your Mother. It's hard to judge what kind of a performer he is because his co-stars are constantly stealing all the scenes. Now I understand why. Radnor is a poor lead and had absolutely no likable qualities at all. He also wrote and directed this film, I think all that responsibility made his performance seem lazy. He should've casted someone else in that role. The supporting cast do what they can with the weak script given to them. Zoe Kazan stood out to me the most, she gave a great performance. Mary Catherine and Charlie's story was the most interesting to me and felt real.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "Then after I say thank you, I should say more please." - Annie (Malin Akerman)

Review: Rubber

Just because.

You've got to love it when in the first few moments of the film you are about to view, the character on screen breaks the 4th wall and tells you that the movie is going to serve absolutely no purpose. No fucking reason at all, just because. You can almost appreciate the honesty.

We're not the only ones watching this film, a large group of people standing in the middle of the desert with binoculars are as well. The film follows Robert, a tire. Yes, the tire has a name. He rolls around aimlessly and soon discovers he can make heads explode just by thinking about it. He tests it on a few animals first, then goes after humans.

The pacing of the movie is slower than slow. It would've probably made a better short film. I get what the director was trying to say and I appreciated the effort. I knew what this film was about going in, so I wasn't expecting the plot to be intriguing or the effects to be convincing. I got just what I figured I would.

Recommended: See it for free. This is a hard movie to recommend, because it's not a good movie, but it's not trying to be either. It's just there to be there.

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "Why do some people love sausages and others hate sausages? No fucking reason." - Lt. Chad (Stephen Spinella)

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

It opens at the close.

What can I say? My most anticipated movie of the year. The end of my favorite series of all time. It's bittersweet. I've been a Potter fan for a long time and my excitement for this movie has been off the wall. I caught Part 1 and 2 at my theater back to back at midnight on Thursday. I love going to midnight movies, the crowds are always so excited. There was lots of clapping in the screening I attended. Claps for The Dark Knight Rises Teaser, claps for the random that ran through the theater and screamed "Harry Potter..fuck yeah!", claps for Ron and Hermione's kiss, claps for Molly Weasley's infamous line, and loud cheers at the end. Overall, everyone seemed to have left pleased.


Part 2 picks up right where we last left our trio. Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has stolen the elder wand from Dumbledore's grave, and our trio are still at Shell Cottage having just escaped from Malfoy Manor. Harry, (Daniel Radcliffe) Ron, (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) have an idea where the next horcrux is; and its hidden in Bellatrix Lestrange's vault at the uber-protective Gringott's Bank. We jump right right into Gringotts, then right to the final battle which takes up 3/4 of the film. The pacing is quick, almost too quick. Part 2 has the shortest run time of all the Harry Potter films.


I've tried my hardest not to compare the book and movie, it's almost impossible but I have to say I really, REALLY enjoyed this film for what it was. It was dark, it kept most of the scenes from the book in there while altering a few for cinematic sake. The one thing I really didn't enjoy was Harry and Voldemort's final battle. Not the battle itself, but the fact that it didn't take place in front of everyone. In the novel, Harry and Voldemort face off in the Great Hall in front of all the survivors, this makes Harry's win more triumphant. Now they fight in the courtyard alone. Even though the fight itself was still good, I thought it took away from the story with everyone else not being there to witness is. I was also a little bummed they didn't show Fred's death the way it was told in the book. That was one of the most emotional parts, and it felt like an afterthought.


But then again, there were a few things changed from the book that I enjoyed. Snape's memories: They added a few scenes and it made it more emotional and raw. Snape was always one of my favorite characters, especially when you hear his story. I'm glad Snape got his moment. I remember reading that Snape's scene wasn't going to take place in the Shrieking Shack and I was a little upset. After seeing the scene in the lake house, I thought it worked perfectly. Ron and Hermione's kiss in the Chamber of Secrets? I'm fine with that. With Steve Klove's piss poor screen writing I was afraid they wouldn't kiss at all. I'll take what I can get. Also a minor change, the left out the part where "fiendfyre" destroys horcruxes. That felt like an "oh, by the way" moment in the book, so when they stabbed the horcrux with the Baslisk fang first, I didn't complain.


Overall, I thought it was a wonderful send off to a wonderful series. I could talk about Harry Potter for days. Do I think this will be an Academy Award nominee at the end of the year? I hope so. I'd love if it snuck into the 10 possible Best Picture nominees. I would love even more if Alan Rickman got a nomination for his performance as Severus Snape. It's a long shot, but he was great and he hasn't been nominated yet. That's got to happen some time soon. The epilogue was as sweet as it was in the book. I was worried about the age enhancing make up, but I thought they looked good and I found it really heartwarming. I'll be seeing this in theaters a few more times.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "Not my daughter, you bitch!" - Molly Weasley (Julie Walters)

Indie Gems: Pulp Fiction

Do they speak English in What?
Ok, so one could argue that this isn't technically an independent film per se. Miramax financed it, they were an independent studio until Disney bought them out during the time they had Pulp Fiction. Nonetheless, it had a small budget and wasn't given a whole lot for marketing. This is why I label it as in Indie Gem.

Pulp Fiction is about a few intertwining stories. Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfeild (Samuel L. Jackson) are mob hit men trying to retrieve a suitcase containing something valuable for their boss, Marsuelles Wallace. (Ving Rhames) Wallace has also tasked Vincent with taking his wife, Mia (Uma Thurman) out for a good time while he's out of town. Then there's Butch, (Bruce Willis) a boxer being paid by Wallace to lose his next fight. Problems arise for this group of people and suddenly they are all thrown in together.

It's hard to pick out a favorite Tarantino film. When ever I get asked to, I always change my answer. Sometimes its Pulp Fiction, sometimes its Kill Bill. He just makes some damn good movies, and for anyone trying to get into his work. This is a good place to start. The dialogue is my favorite part, it's funny, rapid, and to the point. Sam Jackson in particular gives one of the best performances in his career. He has the best lines, hands down. The entire cast (minus Rosanna Arquette, she was a bit dodgy in my opinion) is great and the film never gets boring. It's violent, but if there's one thing Tarantino handles nicely it's violence. It can be extreme, but he doesn't let it wade into offensive territory.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A+

Memorable Quote: "Oooh. I'm sorry, did I break your concentration?" - Jules (Samuel L. Jackson)

2011 Emmy Nominations + My Thoughts

Here's a list of the 2011 Emmy nominations. As always, my thoughts are in green after the categories. Snark Alert: Breaking Bad wasn't eligible to be nominated and I'm going to keep bringing that up until the awards show airs.

Drama Series"Boardwalk Empire"
"Dexter"
"Friday Night Lights"
"Game of Thrones"
"The Good Wife"
"Mad Men"

Again, Breaking Bad didn't qualify, so I'm guessing that's how Game of Thrones got in there. Still, that's a good show and I'm glad it did. I personally would've replaced FNL with True Blood. I'm hoping Boardwalk Empire takes it. That show is wonderful.

Drama, Lead ActorSteve Buscemi, "Boardwalk Empire"
Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights"
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie, "House"
Timothy Olyphant, "Justified"
The list of men that now have a chance since Bryan Cranston isn't nominated! I'm pulling for Buscemi. I don't understand how Friday Night Lights keeps getting nominations. Someone on Twitter brought up a good point. Hugh Laurie isn't the only actor that's great at playing a crazy genius. Then they brought up John Noble from Fringe. I have no idea why the Emmys hate Fringe so much. I don't watch the show regularly, but every episode I've seen of it has been pretty damn good.


Drama, Lead ActressKathy Bates, "Harry's Law"
Connie Britton, "Friday Night Lights"
Mireille Enos, "The Killing"
Mariska Hargitay, "Law and Order: SVU"
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men"
This is, I believe Mariska Hargitay's last season on SVU.  I expect they'll just give her this Emmy.


Comedy Series"30 Rock"
"The Big Bang Theory"
"Glee"
"Modern Family"
"The Office"
"Parks and Recreation"

I'm very pleased The Big Bang Theory got in here! I still need to see what Modern Family is all about. Glee..eh. Not a Glee fan.Comedy, Lead ActorAlec Baldwin, "30 Rock"
Louis C.K., "Louie"
Steve Carell, "The Office"
Johnny Galecki, "The Big Bang Theory"
Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes"
Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"
I'm really happy that both Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki got nominated for BBT. Sure, Parsons is the best on the show, but it's nice to see him share the spotlight for a chance. Johnny had a great season. I can't believe Louis C.K got in there! That's awesome, I've caught Louie after watching Rescue Me a few times, and he's a funny guy. FX doesn't seem like it gets a lot of Emmy love, so it's cool to see him in there.


Comedy, Lead ActressEdie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"
Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
Laura Linney, "The Big C"
Melissa McCarthy, "Mike and Molly"
Martha Plimpton, "Raising Hope"
Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"
Great list. Go Tina Fey.


Comedy, Supporting ActorTy Burrell, "Modern Family"
Chris Colfer, "Glee"
Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men"
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, "Modern Family"
Ed O'Neill, "Modern Family"
Eric Stonestreet, "Modern Family"

Again, I really need to start watching Modern Family. Haven't heard a bad thing about it.
Comedy, Supporting ActressJulie Bowen, "Modern Family"
Jane Krakowski, "30 Rock"
Jane Lynch, "Glee"
Sofia Vergara, "Modern Family"
Betty White, "Hot in Cleveland"
Kristen Wiig, "Saturday Night Live"
I'm sick of Betty White. I thought this fad was over?


Drama, Supporting ActorAndre Braugher, "Men of a Certain Age"
Josh Charles, "The Good Wife"
Alan Cumming, "The Good Wife"
Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"
Walton Goggins, "Justified"
John Slattery, "Mad Men"
The fact that Dennis O'hare wasn't nominated for True Blood is a bunch of crap. Even if it might be a little erotic for the Emmys, you can't tell me O'Hare's Newsroom scene alone didn't deserve a nomination.


Drama, Supporting ActressChristine Baranski, "The Good Wife"
Michelle Forbes, "The Killing"
Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men"
Kelly Macdonald, "Boardwalk Empire"
Margo Martindale, "Justified"
Archie Panjabi, "The Good Wife"

I'm glad Kelly Macdonald is in there!

TV Movie or miniseries"Cinema Verité"
"Downton Abbey"
"The Kennedys"
"Mildred Pierce"
"Pillars of the Earth"
"Too Big To Fail"

The only once I've seen is Mildred Pierce. (which was fantastic) I'm surprised The Kennedys is in there since everyone ripped on it so much when it first came out.

Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV MovieEdgar Ramirez, "Carlos"
Greg Kinnear, "The Kennedys"
Barry Pepper, "The Kennedys"
Idris Elba, "Luther"
Laurence Fishburne, "Thurgood"
William Hurt, "Too Big To Fail"


Lead Actress in a Miniseries or TV MovieDiane Lane, "Cinema Verite"
Elizabeth McGovern, "Downton Abbey (Masterpiece)"
Kate Winslet, "Mildred Pierce"
Taraji P. Henson, "Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story"
Jean Marsh, "Upstairs Downstairs (Masterpiece)"

Kate Winslet is an Emmy nominee! Hopefully she'll be an Emmy winner too. Is there anything she can't do?

Reality Competition"The Amazing Race"
"American Idol"
"Dancing With the Stars"
"Project Runway"
"So You Think You Can Dance"
"Top Chef"
Reality HostTom Bergeron, "Dancing With the Stars"
Cat Deeley, "So You Think You Can Dance"
Phil Keoghan, "The Amazing Race"
Jeff Probst, "Survivor"
Ryan Seacrest, "American Idol"

I love Tom Bergeron. Even though I didn't watch DWTS this year, or any of these shows for that matter.

Review: Horrible Bosses

Psycho. Man eater. Tool.
The movie doesn't sugar coat it, these men have some really terrible bosses. Nick's (Jason Bateman) boss, Dave (Kevin Spacey) is an asshole that's essentially screwing with Nick's head about giving him a promotion. Kurt's (Jason Sudeikis) new boss, Bobby (Colin Farrell) is a coke head who's going to run his late father's company into the ground. Dale's (Charlie Day) boss, Julia (Jennifer Aniston) is a vulgar woman who constantly sexually harasses him at work. They can't quit their jobs for various reasons, so they hatch a plan to kill their bosses. That's the only way out.

I loved how over the top this was. I like a good R rated comedy, and this felt like it didn't hold back. There were plenty of laugh out loud moments and the cast was great. Even though Charlie Day's voice is like nails on a chalkboard occasionally, he was tolerable. The bosses were definitely the best part of the film. I liked how crude Jennifer Aniston was, it was a nice change from her normal rom-com self. Colin Farrell was great for the few scenes he was in, I wonder if most of his scenes got cut? Kevin Spacey stole the show. You can tell  he had a ball playing this character. He's is no stranger to playing complete dicks, he does it so well. Jamie Foxx also has a small but memorable role in the film. I loved the Snow Falling on the Cedars reference. This has been the best full on comedy I've seen all year. I say "full on" because I enjoyed Super more, but that movie had a lot of dramatic elements to it.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I'm gonna get that dong, Dale." - Julia (Jennifer Aniston)

Indie Gems: The Go-Getter

Far Fetched can be charming.

That was my thought immediately after viewing The Go-Getter. There is no way this story would happen in real life without serious consequences, but that was part of the film's charm.

Mercer's (Lou Taylor Pucci) mother has just passed away. He wants to find his long lost, older half brother to tell him the news. After finding out he has some traveling to do to get to him he steals a car from a gas station and away he goes. The car belongs to Kate, (Zooey Deschanel) a seemingly quirky girl who is way too calm to have just witnessed someone stealing her vehicle. She left her cell phone in the car, so she calls it and speaks with Mercer throughout his trip. He runs into some interesting people on the way, particularly Joely, (Jena Malone) a care free stoner that has a few other intentions for Mercer.

In reality, Kate would've phoned the police about Mercer, not called him directly about the theft. Mercer and Kate form a very interesting relationship over the phone. It provides some comfort, where as Joely and Mercer's relationship is for all the wrong reasons. I absolutely loved how this movie was shot, it's definitely the "indie style" that we're used to seeing. The film drags at points, but our three leads are talented actors (though perhaps a little typecast) and the movie is great for an afternoon viewing.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "You're so fucking selfish." - Joely (Jena Malone)

DVD Review La Vie En Rose

La môme
Ah, the French. They make some beautiful movies.
La Vie En Rose is based on the true story of French singer Edith Piaf. (Marion Cotillard) She grew up on the streets and eventually became a famous singer, but not without plenty of hardships on the way. The movie jumps around to show different parts of her life, with Cotillard playing Piaf from a teen all the way to an elder lady.
 
 
Cotillard lip synced to Piaf's voice for the film. Normally lip syncing is not as impressive, but for movies based on famous singers I think it works. Plus you can really tell how hard Cotillard worked to perfect it. Everything from the way she moved her lips to how she was breathing during her songs was spot on. She even went as far as to shave off her hairline and her eyebrows to look more like Piaf. Cotillard is a taller woman, and Piaf was exceptionally small. Cotillard hunches and manages to closely resemble her waif frame. Her performance was beyond impressive. When Cotillard won the Oscar, I had not seen the film. After my first viewing there was no doubt in my mind that they picked the right person. Not to mention her acceptance speech was beyond adorable.
 
 
The only issue with Cotillard being so good is that everyone else came off as part of the background rather than a supporting cast. No one gave as memorable of a performance as she did. The un-chronological approach of the story can be occasionally hard to follow, but never boring. The only issue I had with the DVD was I wish the subtitles would've included the songs. They only covered the talking.
 
 
Recommended: Yes
 
 
Grade: A-
 
 
Memorable Quote: "I sing the same way that I talk!" - Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard)

DVD Review: Adrift (À Deriva)

Sexually charged.
Sexually charged is a good way to describe this film. Not because there are a lot of sex scenes, because there isn't. The thought of sex never seems to far from the character's minds. The way the movie was shot even seemed overly sexual to me. Needless to say, that's our theme for this Portuguese film.

Filipa (Laura Neiva) is just coming of age. While going through her teen awakening she begins to take a closer look at her own parents. Her Father's (Vincent Cassell) relationship with her alcoholic mother is starting to become strained. She constantly belittles his work as a writer. He tries to focus on his work and his children but soon finds himself in an affair with a beautiful American woman (Camilla Belle, who literally has 2 lines in the entire movie.) who lives nearby. Filipa finds pictures of them in her father's desk and takes to following him to her house and watching them through the windows.


When I first heard about this movie I thought it was going to be more about Vincent Casell. That's what originally intrigued me, but it's Filipa's story. Our lead actress is promising, but I felt like the film was just waiting to be something more. It's not that the characters lacked development, because I thought they were presented well. The tone of the movie just set me off a bit. It's hard to explain. The relationship between Filipa and her Father is weird to begin with and continues down that path and never recovers. I felt like the director was trying to say something else, but never did. While the movie was interesting and held my attention, it wasn't what I was expecting.

Recommended: Draw, see it for Cassell if you're a fan, he's never boring.

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "I hate you." - Mathias (Vincent Cassell)

Indie Gems: Notes on a Scandal

Bad Teachers.
Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) is a teacher at a new school. She's younger and prettier than most of the other staff, so everyone takes notice of her. Barbara Covett (Judi Dench) is a strict, older teacher who befriends Sheba and eventually learns a dirty secret: Sheba has started to have an affair with a fifteen year old student. Barbara is becoming more and more obsessed with Sheba, and essentially black mails her with her knowledge of the affair. She wants Sheba to stop, but not for her husband and family, but so she can have her all to herself.
The performances in this film are beyond top notch. Both ladies deserved the Oscar nominations they got for this. Cate is so conflicted as Sheba. She's ultimately our protagonist, but we know she's doing something wrong. Yet, we still want to see her come out ok because Judi's character is so stern and frightening. That's how you know a film is powerful. When you are so drawn in to the characters that you really have to think and question their actions.
The supporting cast is great as wel. Bill Nighy as Sheba's older husband, Andrew Simpson as Steven, the young boy having the affair, even Juno Temple as Sheba's moody daughter. They all fit in so well. The music is haunting and beautiful, and the film is shot with grace. I definitely recommend it to any Blanchett or Dench fan, because these are some of their best performances.
Recommended: Yes
Grade: A
Memorable Quote: "My boyfriend is older than your boyfriend!" - Polly Hart (Juno Temple)