Indie Gems: Happiness

Because "Sexually confused" isn't PC title.

So this is an interesting film to write about. It falls under the category of "Excellent Movies I Never Want to See Again." 

Happiness is about a group of people trying to achieve just that. There's Joy (Jane Adams) who's trying to find herself after a string of bad break ups. She has two sisters; Helen, (Lara Flynn Boyle) a cold woman being prank called by her lustful neighbor, Allen. (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) And Trish (Cynthia Stevenson) who tells herself she has the perfect family, yet her husband Bill (Dylan Baker) is secretly a pedophile. 

If this movie is anything, it's very ballsy. Particularly for Dylan Baker's character. Putting a pedophile at the center of the film is tricky, but the film never sympathizes with him. Not once. Baker, Hoffman, and Adams are the stand outs here. This film is filled with interesting characters, even though none of them are actually very likable.

If I had one complaint about the film, it's that the final scene was a little too much for me. Otherwise this is an intense character study that begs to be scene, even if you will only lay eyes on it once.

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing with you." - Helen (Lara Flynn Boyle)

Thursday Movie Picks: French Language Movie

This week's theme from Wandering through the Shelves is French Language movies! I love so many of these, this was really hard to cut down to three. 

1) Water Lilies

This is my favorite French film. It's coming of age/sexual awakening/trying to fit in combined. All of those things have been done countless times, but this film feels special.

2) The Intouchables

I expected this film to be a hard drama and very depressing, it was actually very heart warming and pretty funny at times. 

3) Caché


When I first made this list, my #3 was Blue is the Warmest Color. Then I changed it to Tomboy because it wasn't as widely seen. Then I finally watched Caché and knew it was the one that had to go here. Basically what I'm trying to say is there are too many French language films I love. (I could've thrown Laurence Anyways in here too) But Caché was just SO interesting. This creepy guessing game keeps you on the edge of your seat.

2015 Independent Spirit Award Nominees

The Independent Spirit Award nominees were announced yesterday. These awards are incredibly hard to call for me. A lot of these films don't get a ton of exposure and they have the weirdest eligibility rules. (That's why you're not seeing any individual awards for Foxcatcher here and why Magic Mike of all movies got nominated before.) 

Here's a rundown of the nominees. My thoughts as always follow in green.



BEST FEATURE 

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole

Boyhood
Producers: Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland

Love is Strange
Producers: Lucas Joaquin, Lars Knudsen, Ira Sachs, Jayne Baron Sherman, Jay Van Hoy

Selma
Producers: Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey

Whiplash
Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak

The only film I've seen here is Birdman, hopefully that changes before the actual award show rolls around. No Imitation Game is a surprise to me. Especially with all the Oscar buzz surrounding it. Begin Again and I Origins not being here is disappointing too. 

BEST DIRECTOR

Damien Chazelle
Whiplash

Ava DuVernay
Selma

Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Richard Linklater
Boyhood

David Zellner
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

BEST SCREENPLAY

Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
Big Eyes

J.C. Chandor
A Most Violent Year

Dan Gilroy
Nightcrawler

Jim Jarmusch
Only Lovers Left Alive

Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias
Love is Strange

Nightcrawler! I'm so afraid this will get ignored by the Oscars, so these Indie Spirit nominations will help. I thought The Skeleton Twins would get a screenplay nomination, but what do I know?

BEST FIRST FEATURE 

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Producers: Justin Begnaud, Sina Sayyah

Dear White People
Director/Producer: Justin Simien
Producers: Effie T. Brown, Ann Le, Julia Lebedev, Angel Lopez, Lena Waithe

Nightcrawler
Director: Dan Gilroy
Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak

Obvious Child
Director: Gillian Robespierre
Producer: Elisabeth Holm

She’s Lost Control
Director/Producer: Anja Marquardt
Producers: Mollye Asher, Kiara C. Jones

I love that Obvious Child got in here too.

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

Desiree Akhavan
Appropriate Behavior

Sara Colangelo
Little Accidents

Justin Lader
The One I Love

Anja Marquardt
She’s Lost Control

Justin Simien
Dear White People


JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director and producer; executive producers are not awarded.

Blue Ruin
Writer/Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Producers:Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani

It Felt Like Love
Writer/Director/Producer: Eliza Hittman
Producers: Shrihari Sathe, Laura Wagner

Land Ho!
Writers/Directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens
Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy

Man From Reno
Writer/Director: Dave Boyle
Writers: Joel Clark, Michael Lerman
Producer: Ko Mori

Test
Writer/Director/Producer: Chris Mason Johnson
Producer: Chris Martin


BEST FEMALE LEAD

Marion Cotillard
The Immigrant

Rinko Kikuchi
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

Julianne Moore
Still Alice

Jenny Slate
Obvious Child

Tilda Swinton
Only Lovers Left Alive

I'm happy for Jenny Slate, especially. Though I wish Keira Knightley would've gotten in for Begin Again.


BEST MALE LEAD

André Benjamin
Jimi: All Is By My Side

Jake Gyllenhaal
Nightcrawler

Michael Keaton
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

John Lithgow
Love is Strange

David Oyelowo
Selma

Gyllenhaal and Keaton were both tremendous. Oyelowo is good in everything and Lithgow looks promising in Love is Strange, but Andre 3000? Really? Over Ruffalo for Begin Again, Pitt for I Orgins, and Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game?

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

Patricia Arquette
Boyhood

Jessica Chastain
A Most Violent Year

Carmen Ejogo
Selma

Andrea Suarez Paz
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

Emma Stone
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Chastain's nomination surprises me for that film. I didn't think it was getting that strong of reviews. Then again, neither did Junebug and Amy Adams deservingly got those nominations.


BEST SUPPORTING MALE

Riz Ahmed
Nightcrawler

Ethan Hawke
Boyhood

Alfred Molina
Love is Strange

Edward Norton
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

J.K. Simmons
Whiplash

I'm glad to see Norton and Ahmed here. Simmons seems like a lock for an Oscar nom at this point.


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Darius Khondji
The Immigrant

Emmanuel Lubezki
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Sean Porter
It Felt Like Love

Lyle Vincent
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Bradford Young
Selma



BEST EDITING

Sandra Adair
Boyhood

Tom Cross
Whiplash

John Gilroy
Nightcrawler

Ron Patane
A Most Violent Year

Adam Wingard
The Guest



BEST DOCUMENTARY 

20,000 Days on Earth
Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
Producers: Dan Bowen, James Wilson

CITIZENFOUR
Director/Producer: Laura Poitras
Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky

Stray Dog
Director: Debra Granik
Producer: Anne Rosellini

The Salt of the Earth
Directors: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders
Producer: David Rosier

Virunga
Director/Producer: Orlando Von Einsiedel
Producer: Joanna Natasegara



BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM 

Force Majeure
(Sweden)
Director: Ruben Östlund

Ida
(Poland)
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski

Leviathan
(Russia)
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Mommy
(Canada)
Director: Xavier Dolan

Norte, the End of History
(Philippines)
Director: Lav Diaz

Under the Skin
(United Kingdom)
Director: Jonathan Glazer

I can't wait to check out Xavier Dolan's newest. 

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD (Given to one film's director, casting director and ensemble cast.)

Inherent Vice
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Casting Director: Cassandra Kulukundis
Ensemble Cast: Josh Brolin, Martin Donovan, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Joaquin Phoenix, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio Del Toro, Katherine Waterston, Michael Kenneth Williams, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon



SPECIAL DISTINCTION AWARD

Foxcatcher
Director/Producer: Bennett Miller
Producers: Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik
Writers: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Actors: Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum


18th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD - The 18th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.

Chad Burris
Elisabeth Holm
Chris Ohlson



21st ANNUAL KIEHL'S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD - The 21st annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl's Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl's Since 1851.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour

H.
Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia

The Retrieval
Director:Chris Eska


20th ANNUAL LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD - The 20th annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters.

Approaching the Elephant
Director: Amanda Rose Wilder

Evolution of a Criminal
Director: Darius Clark Monroe

The Kill Team
Director: Dan Krauss

The Last Season
Director: Sara Dosa

Review: Mockingjay Part 1

A movie half empty.

I've been pretty vocal about my complaints about Mockingjay being split into two movies. It's so unnecessary. Not enough to make me skip it entirely, I do love The Hunger Games trilogy, but splitting the movie was not only a bad narrative choice, but it highlighted my biggest complaint about Mockingjay in the first place.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is no longer the fierce competitor we saw from the first two films. She was always a little unhinged after the games. She's still confused on who she loves more, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) whose been taken captive by the capital, and her best friend Gale, (Liam Hemsworth) whose still been by her side this entire time. Katniss is now mopey, depressed, and clearly not understanding the gravity of the situation she's found herself in. The majority of this film, like the book it shot in an underground bunker in District 13, the one that we were all lead to believe was destroyed. District 12 has been destroyed, and we see the ruins. 13's president, Coin (Julianne Moore) wants Katniss to be the face of the rebellion, and has a series of propaganda videos shot to show all of Panem that she's alive and ready to fight.

Except Katniss is just like "we need Peeta" the entire time. I always hated how drastically different Katniss felt in Mockingjay, and this film just highlights that. I also never understood why Katniss would want Peeta over Gale in the first place, but that's a whole other discussion. Mockingjay part 1 doesn't feel like a complete movie and now we're stuck waiting a full year (at least the Harry Potter movies had the decency to make everyone wait only a few months) to complete it. The film is very faithful to the book, with a few things spiced up to fill up run time, but overall, it's just more proof that not all of these YA novel movies need their final installment to be split in half. There's not enough filler for it.

Recommended: It depends. If you're a fan, then go for it. If you can wait, I'd suggest waiting until part 2 hits theaters, and watch this one right before.

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "I don't like this whole prohibition thing she has going on." - Haymitch (Woody Harrelson)

Rambling TV: Thoughts on The Walking Dead, The Newsroom, and Agents of SHIELD

The Walking Dead


After three straight weeks of bottle episodes, we're finally getting one with the whole group together again. Too bad it ended up being a bit underwhelming.

At the hospital, Beth overhears the police saying they want to turn Carol's machine's off. When she stands up to them, Dawn says she can't go back on her order, but she gives Beth the medicine key to help. Beth, who has apparently never heard of the words "subtle" or "nonchalant" tries to help Carol. It was a sweet gesture, and one of my favorite moments, but it was so damn obvious.

Then we meet up with GREATM (Tara's team name for Glenn, Rosita, Eugene, Abe, herself, and Maggie) Abe is still kneeling on the ground, dumbfounded by Eugene's confession. He's still passed out by the way, and Maggie takes care of him (and puts Abe in his place) while Rosita, Glenn, and Tara go fishing and get some water. Rosita gives us a little back story on how she met Abe. 

Michonne, Carl, Judith and Father Gabriel stay behind at the church. (And Father G sneaks out later, because...actually I have no idea why he had to sneak. I'm sure they would've let him walk out the front door.)

Rick, Dary, Sasha, Noah, and Tyreese plan to kidnap some cops to make a trade. Rick doesn't want to do that, he just wants to storm in, but he gets outvoted. (Daryl actually disagreed with Rick. I'm shocked.) Sasha is still in a bad place over Bob, and Tyreese is trying to help (though he's taking the wrong approach, IMO) and Sasha's state of mind totally bites the group in the ass at the end of the episode.

The Newsroom

My husband told me last week that he thinks that was the last time we were going to see Neal, and fuck, now I think he's right. No Neal here, but his story is certainly picking up.

Charlie's fake out scene to stop the FBI raid was nothing short of brilliant.

BJ Novak is playing the new guy who's going to own ACN, and he's a total douche.

Jim and Maggie are destined to be together? Right? There was a lot of glances there. Plus, Jim and Hallie got into a stupid fight.

Sloan and Don continue to be hilarious and adorable.

Agents of SHIELD

EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. Seriously though, that was a lot of gore for an ABC show, right?

At least Fitz is back out on the field. And Ward is back to being batshit crazy. Those are pluses. 

And there was an Agent Carter cameo!



*Click those gifs to be redirected to their makers*







2014 Blind Spot Series: My Neighbor Totoro


What I knew going in: This was meant to be a companion piece of sorts to the insanely depressing Grave of the Fireflies. And I have a ton of memories of commercials for this movie when it was dubbed the first time back in 1998.

I watched this movie with my three year old son. The film follows a family who moves to the country side and finds some friendly spirits in and around their house. Here's a breakdown of our experience.

5 minutes in - "Can we watch Ninja Turtles?"

10 minutes in - "Mommy, Ninja Turtles."

20 minutes in - "Ninja Turtles"

Cat bus appears - 

Kid: "...what?"
Me: "See, that kitty is a bus!"
Kid: "Kitties can't be buses!"
Me: "Yes they can, see."
Kid: "NO!"
Me: *laughs at son's ridiculous response to the cat bus*
Kid: "IT'S NOT FUNNY!"

Then he got up and walked away so I finished this movie alone like a loser. Despite it not being his cup of tea (and I'm really not sure why, he watches a variety of stuff) I thought My Neighbor Totoro was a very sweet film. It felt so different from any other children's movie I've seen. It was very imaginative and it didn't once get into depressing territory like I was afraid it would. (The girls' mother was sick)

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I'm not afraid" - Mei (Elle Fanning in the version I watched)

Although let's be real, I didn't like that cat bus either. Mostly because it had windows that were like holes in the cat's body and I don't like holey things and this is getting weird so I'll leave it at that.

Indie Gems: Teeth

When you think your sex life sucks...

Think about Dawn's. (Jess Weixler) She's a high school student that believes in purity. She's saving herself for marriage, refuses to think any impure thoughts, she's an all around good girl. Only all this is fueled by the fact that she has teeth in her vagina. You read that right.

This is one of those movies that I heard about when it first came out back in 2007, and thought "That's so ridiculous...I have to see it." It took awhile, but I finally got to sit down and watch it.

And this movie is ridiculous. There's plenty of shots of severed penises and lots of screaming, but it finds a good balance between being funny and being interesting. This film knows it's over the top and embraces it, and I can't help but love it for that.

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I'm a virgin.....in his eyes." - Tobey (Hale Appleman)

DVD Review: A Promise

Promise me you'll make a better film next time.

I'm going to spoil the ending of this film towards the bottom of my review. But let's face it, this film isn't that great to begin with, so you're not missing much.

The film takes place in Germany before WWI. Friedrich (Richard Madden) is an ambitious young man who comes to work for Karl Hoffmeister. (Alan Rickman) Karl takes him under his wing and when he becomes ill, asks Friedrich to move into his house to help him with day to day operations, then report back to the office. While doing that, Friedrich and Karl's young wife, Lotte (Rebecca Hall) fall deeply in love, practically after first sight.

You'd think with a cast like Rickman, Madden, and Hall, this movie would be great, but aside from them giving good performances the movie just fails all around. The editing is terrible, I felt like I was watching a slide show at times, and I had to wait for the slide to be replaced as we changed scenes. Then there's Friedrich and Lotte's relationship. It basically consists of them staring at each other. When Friedrich is sent away, they pledge to wait for each other..and they don't even have sex. Not once. Nor do they even kiss. Not even after he returns after six years. No sex scenes at all. I was deprived of this:

I knew this movie got bad reviews, but I watched it anyways for the cast, and also thinking I'd be getting some glorious Richard Madden nakedness. Nope. Then get this, on his death bed, Karl tells Lotte he brought Friedrich there FOR her. Because he could tell they loved each other from the beginning. WHAT?!?!?! Yes, of all the mediocrity that is this film, this is what I choose to bitch about the most, but I can't help it. It was the least they could've done.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "Don't you think it's a little late for work?" - Karl Hoffmeister (Alan Rickman)

Review: Birdman

Or the unexpected virtue of ignorance. 

Riggan (Michael Keaton) is a has been actor who was famous for playing a super hero called Birdman. He's trying to stay relevant by directing and starring in his own broadway play. He clashes with his diva co star, Mike. (Edward Norton) His fresh out of rehab daughter, Sam (Emma Stone) resents him and is working as his assistant. He's driving his best friend/producer, Jake (Zach Galifianakis) crazy. Andrea Riseborough, Naomi Watts, and Amy Ryan also star.

Birdman is so batshit crazy that I'm not even sure how it works, but it does. It's shot in "one continuous take."(Really there were a few edits made, but they're not easily spotted) There's always loud music playing. Riggan appears to move things without touching them and his alter ego Birdman is the voice in his head. The film is beautifully spazzy and all over the place.

Let's talk the the actors, because they're wonderful here. Admittedly, I can't remember the last time I saw a movie with Keaton in it that blew me away, but he's certainly fantastic here. The supporting cast is equally strong with Norton, Watts, and Stone all possible Oscar contenders in my opinion.

I haven't seen a lot of director Alejandro González Iñárritu's films, but the ones I have felt a bit more bleak than this. This felt so different, and now I need to check out more of his filmography.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A+

Memorable Quote: "...play with my balls." - Mike (Edward Norton)

Rambling TV: Thoughts on The Walking Dead, The Newsroom, and Agents of SHIELD

The Walking Dead

The search for Beth felt like an afterthought. This episode's main focus was thankfully on Carol and Daryl's feelings. We saw what Carol did for the short amount of time after Rick banished her. We learned that she once took Sophia to an abused women's shelter, but only stayed for a day before heading back to her abusive husband. She talked about not being sure if they get to save people anymore, but she's trying.

Of course Daryl really gets Carol. He didn't push her into talking about what happened with Mika and Lizzie. When he saw she was bothered by a child walker in the shelter, he took it upon himself to burn the body for him. I love the relationship between these two. They work really well as a unit, and even though the plot called for them to make so many stupid mistakes during this episode, I can almost forgive it.

Carol gets taken by the hospital people, and Noah held Daryl back from attacking them. So there you have it, Noah WAS the one in the bushes with Daryl.

The Newsroom

As much as I like Kat Dennings, I wasn't too crazy about the whole "twins trying to sell the company" subplot. Even if it meant seeing Jane Fonda again. There's only 4 more episodes this season, do we really need to fuck around with this? I'm trying to hold off judgment for awhile, but it's hard.

Neal really wants to run the story about the stolen documents he has, but now he's the one on the run. I really hope that's not the last time we see Neal this season.

Sloan and Don are still adorable.

Hallie got fired from ACN. I was hoping that would lead to Jim finally getting with Maggie, but of course Maggie met a guy on the bus that looks like her future love interest. Oi.

Agents of SHIELD 

This week started off like an episode of Law and Order, but definitely got better as we went on. It was actually kind of disturbing, ABC level disturbing that is.

We figured out why Coulson was carving in true AoS fashion where everything is tied up with a neat little bow. Yet they still left us plenty of questions to keep moving.

Ward shaved his beard, the only thing that was making him somewhat tolerable at this point. That's a shame.


Is it just me, or is Jemma not liking Mac? She and Fitz didn't even interact this episode, but Fitz had a moment with Mac how he said the Brain's memory is never completely wiped, things just get disconnected. There's hope for him to get better, though I think he's going to have to go into that memory machine to achieve that.

*Click those gifs to be directed to their makers.*


Indie Gems: Life After Beth

You will never look at hiking and smooth jazz music the same after this.

Zach's (Dane DeHaan) dealing with the aftermath of his girlfriend, Beth's (Aubrey Plaza) death. When her parents (John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon) start inexplicably ignoring him, he comes to find out Beth has come back from the dead and they are trying to hide her. She doesn't remember anything from her death, and she's starting to show strange symptoms that are parents are in denial over.

I love watching Dane DeHaan. He's got so much charisma and he provides a good balance of showing Zach's heartache, and still being hilarious at the same time. Aubrey Plaza is known for playing the same characters over and over (but she's good at her schtick) Beth is a little different, so it's a breath of fresh air for her.  Matthew Gray Gubler who plays Zach's older brother, Kyle is also hilarious in his small part. Anna Kendrick even shows up for a bit.

This was an interesting take on the zombie genre, and it feels very new when we've been so accustomed to seeing films like this. The acting was great, and there was plenty of funny moments. 

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "...really? It's smooth jazz.." - Zach (Dane DeHaan)

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies About Making Movies


This Thursday's picks are movies about making movies. Check out Wander's site for future Thursday Movie Picks

Boogie Nights - Gotta love this look into the porn industry. This film has brilliant performances all around.


Bowfinger - Do NOT laugh at me! I actually think this movie is pretty funny. Come on, the premise alone is giggle worthy. 


Tropic Thunder - Bowfinger is funny, but this movie is hilarious and goes down as one of my all time favorite comedies. There's just so many memorable quotes. 


Review: Interstellar

We were meant to leave this Earth.

Sometime in the future, the Earth is dying. Dust storms are the norm and some crops are no longer going. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) was once a brilliant pilot and now stuck being a farmer. One day, he cracks a code with his daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy, then played by Jessica Chastain as an adult) that leads to him what's left of NASA. Headed by professor Brand (Michael Caine) and his daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway) they tell Cooper that they need him to pilot a mission through a wormhole to find another planet to live on. That's the dumbed down version, there's way more too it, but it's probably better if you just see the film yourself. 

If Interstellar is anything, it's ambitious. It spans nearly three hours intertwining with what's happening in space, and what's happening on Earth. The story is very interesting, and there's even a few tear jerker moments thrown in there. It's a very good sci fi film, but that run time is going to put some people off.

I wanted this film to be perfect, but it just isn't. The score, while great is so booming at times that it drowns out the characters' voices. After seeing the film, I get why most of the advertising was solely focused on McConaughey and Hathaway, not just because they're the stars, but in doing so, when you see them start their mission with more people, you kind of already know what's going to happen to them.

I imagine this film is going to be a big hit in the technical categories at the Oscars, and it certainly deserves that. Maybe it will snag a Best Picture nomination too. It's a good film, but part of me still wishes it was just better.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+ 

Memorable Quote: "Did you know?" - Murph (Jessica Chastain)

Rambling TV: Thoughts on The Walking Dead, The Newsroom + more

The Walking Dead

After last week's disaster of an episode, TWD pulled its head out of its ass and provided us with a good hour of TV. Sure, it was another bottle episode, but this one was needed.

The big reveal was that Eugene came out and said he wasn't a scientist. He lied because he wanted to live, he thought D.C would actually have the answers and he knew no one would travel with him if they knew the truth. Abe beats the shit out of him before Glenn pulls him off.

I think Tara was a big reason Eugene confessed as well. She was being very sweet to him and gave him a few good talks during this episode about friendship. I guess he felt comfortable enough to say it.

Glenn continues to be leadership material/mediator.  Every time Abe's dumbass wanted to do something, Glenn would try to reason with him and give him actual advise. This is why I love Glenn. Why don't more people listen to this guy?

AND we got a sex scene between Abe and Rosita! WITH THRUSTING! AMC actually allowed thrusting. Eugene did his best Jim Bob Duggar impression and perved from the Self Help section. 

The Newsroom

This season premiere (In it's final shortened 6 episode season because Aaron Sorkin wants you to go fuck yourself) wasn't kidding around with the pacing. We blew through 5 days worth of story within that hour.

Maggie is no longer the spaz she was in previous seasons, she's taking charge and people are noticing. Particularly Jim whose girlfriend from last season Hallie is working at ACN now. She can leave.

Sloan and Don are still going strong. Neal is in deep shit. Mac and Will haven't married yet, and I could still care less about their wedding/relationship.

The Genoa trial hasn't seemingly completed yet, so hopefully we'll see more of that. I thought this episode was fantastic.


19 Kids and Counting


Being the "hot" Duggar ain't easy

So I hate myself even more for watching 19 Kids this week. Why do you ask? Because I actually liked it. 

This episode centered around Ben and Jessa getting engaged. (They actually got married this past weekend) and even though it was all obviously staged by TLC, it ended up being pretty sweet. Normally, I think Ben is a moron, but it's pretty obvious how smitten he is with Jessa. And Jessa is usually a huge bitch, but she front hugged Ben when he popped the question, and damn it, I liked that about her! Fuck you and your courtship rules, Boob and Mullet!



Ben Seewald after his first kiss, probably.

Next week's episode is apparently all about Josh and Anna and their cabbage patch children, so I'm skipping that. But I have to talk about this: After Jessa and Ben married, she posted an intimate picture of them kissing on Instragram. Okay, that's normal. They're a teenager and a girl in her early 20's. Then Jim Boob and Mullet recreated their kissing picture and apparently texted it to Jessa, who in turn posted that on her IG again and talked about how great it was that her parents are still in love..

Excuse me? Her attention whore parents, who now even more so prove they have no boundaries whatsoever with their children texted them a make out picture? I'd be fucking mortified if my parents did that to me. The Duggars are so in your face about sex it's disturbing. Kissing isn't as big of the deal as they make it. They sexualize it to the point of rubbing it into their children's faces. The same children that they have trained (can't say "taught" Duggars train their kids) to repress any sexual desires until they're married. 

*Click those gifs to be redirected to their makers*

DVD Review: Rob the Mob

Rob, make out, rinse, repeat.

Admittedly, this is not my kind of movie. My husband threw this in our Netflix queue because we're both big Michael Pitt fans. 

Based on a true story, Tommy and Rosie (Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda) are two small time criminals that start robbing Mob social clubs. They end up getting ahold of an important list, and suddenly the mob AND the feds are after them.

Pitt and Adrianda were pretty damn amusing, but the the movie itself was very uninspired. I think it will ultimately end up very forgettable. Ray Romano, Samira Wiley, and Andy Garcia show up in bit parts, but nothing in this film dares to be different. We've seen this 100 times.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "You aren't going to do anything for these kids?" - Jerry (Ray Romano) 

Indie Gems: Caché

You are being watched.

A local TV host Georges, (Daniel Auteuil) gets video tapes left at his doorstep wrapped in bizarre children's drawings. The tapes are merely surveillance of his house. His family, wife Anne (Juliette Binoche) and young son Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky) going about their daily business. At first, Georges is open with Anne regarding this, but when he starts to have a hunch on who's sending them, he starts keeping secrets.

When Josh over at The Cinematic Spectacle named this his Best Picture winner in his CinSpec awards, I knew I had to see this. We'll ignore the fact that he made that post in January..my Netflix queue is full, okay?! Needless to say, it lived up to his praise. 

Michael Haneke is a director that practically forces you to watch his films. Not a bad force, but he needs your full attention because you're going to have to look for small details that are not as insignificant as they first seem. I loved the mystery here. Caché is expertly shot and the two leads give great performances. It rarely has a dull moment.

Grade: A

Memorable Quote. "...you want a transcription of the conversation?" - Anne (Juliette Binoche)

DVD Review: A Case of You

It's not creepy..

Sam (Justin Long) is a writer who has a crush on a Barista he just met named Birdie. (Evan Rachel Wood) He decides he's going to stalk her on facebook to find out what she likes, so he can get into all of these things first before he approaches her again. Because charades like this last forever and no one ever figures them out.

On paper, this looks promising. Wood is one of my favorite actresses, Sam Rockwell, Sienna Miller, Vince Vaughn, Keir O'Donnell and Peter Dinklage are all in it. Well turns out those people I just listed get to show up for five minutes at a time and leave while we're still stuck watching the entire film. 

Evan Rachel Wood is too talented for this, and nearly everything about this script lets her down. Birdie borderlines on being a Manic Pixie Dream Girl and it takes Sam a beat too long to realize that he's the problem. 5 minutes of Dinklage being hilarious and Wood singing can't save this.

Recommended: No

Grade: D

Memorable Quote: "Can you just show me where the G is?" - Sam (Justin Long)

Review: Nightcrawler

If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy a ticket.

Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a thief that's focused on finding himself work that will earn him a decent amount of money. One day he comes across a crash on the highway and notices the freelance cameramen that film the event and sell them off to news stations. He decides this is for him, and delves into this world headfirst. He starts selling his footage to to a specific news director, Nina. (Rene Russo) But he's never satisfied, and continues to make more questionable decisions when it comes to the crime scenes he's filming. 

There's no other way to put it. Lou Bloom is a slimy bastard. Literally everything he does is morally wrong and he's a total dick on top of it. His ego is out of control, but that in itself is so fascinating. Gyllenhaal is fantastic here. Lou is a very forceful person, and you're almost afraid to see how far he will go to get what he wants. Lou is kind of the moon of this movie, he's the center of attention, and everyone else is just there. While the supporting cast does give convincing performances, nothing really matches Gyllenhaal.

I liked the overall tone, the shots of LA at night, and the way the film ended was my favorite part, but it's hard to explain without spoiling it. Maybe at a later time, I'm sure we'll be seeing this film again during Oscar season.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "I don't have what you'd call a formal education, but I believe you can learn anything if you look hard enough." - Lou (Jake Gyllenhaal)


Rambling TV: Thoughts on The Walking Dead, Agents of SHIELD and more.

*click those gifs to be redirected to their makers.*

Brace yourselves, bitching is coming.

The Walking Dead

This week's episode was all about the show's least compelling character, Beth. Where has she been? At a hospital, run by a cop named Dawn. What are these people doing? Looking for a cure? Nope. Just surviving. These idiots, two years into the apocalypse still think someone is coming to save them. Beth befriends a boy named Noah, who mentions he's from Richmond where they "had walls." (Remember that) and they attempt to escape, but only Noah gets away. Beth gets caught after she shots several walkers in the head, in the dark...because apparently being knocked out in a hospital has turned her into an expert marksman. The episode closes with Beth probably about to kill the doctor, when Carol gets rolled in on a stretcher. Because how else are they going to make this story interesting? They have to add a character like Carol.

This episode killed season five's momentum in a big way. Emily Kinney, the actress that plays Beth is truly awful, and watching her try to carry this episode was even more painful then the dull story. Oscar nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes had a cameo. An OSCAR NOMINEE had a cameo while a girl who has done nothing to improve her acting in the 3 seasons she's been on this show carried it. How insulting. Beth was always a background character, whom I never minded, but as soon as they give her something to do, Kinney proves she can't handle it. She alone is the reason no one cares about Beth. She can't sell her to the audience. When you listen to her in interviews, she gives no insight to Beth and can only talk about Beth with Daryl because Daryl's name alone always draws interest. 

Thank God next week's episode has Glenn in it. (and probably Abe's back story)


Agents of SHIELD

Guys, I'm now afraid of AoS getting cancelled. I know, I made so much fun of this show last year, but season 2 has been SO on point that I'm going to be devastated if it gets the boot.

I say that even though the show twat blocked me with FitzSimmons this week. Those two really need to talk about their issues. then make out. I really hope Fitz gets better though, I think this schtick could wear thin. Thankfully Iain De Caestecker is the best actor on this show, so he can pull it off.

Can we talk about how hot the guy that plays Mac is?

Ward is so much more tolerable as a bad guy too. I actually really enjoyed his scenes.

Then there was that Age of Ultron clip!

19 Kids and Counting

Jill's wedding got dragged out into a two hour long special. Jim Bob continues to give off perv vibes. Seriously, the way this guy talks about sex around his kids is disturbing. I think HE was more excited for Jill and Derick's first kiss than they were. He was even the one to say "you may now kiss the bride." (And during the rehearsal he got to be extra creepy and taunt "I can kiss her now, but you can't?) He is two steps away from becoming part of a pedobear meme.

Erin Paine is banging the shit out of that piano, Jesus Christ. 

After they said their heavily edited by TLC vows, they took off running down the aisle to God knows where. Probably a utility closet to bang.

The funny part is Josh and Ben couldn't possibly let their wife/future wife walk back down the aisle with ANOTHER man. They had to insert themselves and walk them out of the church. Way to make your significant others seem like property, douche nozzles. 

And of course, Michelle tried to make this all about her. "Oh, they said OUR wedding vows. REMEMBER THAT TIME WE GOT MARRIED?!?!?!" 

Then came the baby jokes, 30 seconds after they said "I do."


Josiah is 1000% done with this shit.